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What You Need to Know About Selvage Denim

This blog was originally posted January 28,2013 and has since been edited and updated.

An important term to be acquainted with when shopping for high-quality denim is “selvage.”

Selvage refers to the finished edge of the denim that is woven on a shuttle loom, most commonly in white yarn. While weaving, a shuttle carries what is referred to as the “weft” or white yarn through the “warp” or indigo yarn and across the loom. This process results in a tight, finished edge.

Shuttle looms were very important in the beginning stages of denim production. In comparison to the wide fabric width of 60 inches from modern looms, shuttle looms result in a narrower fabric width of roughly half of the modern looms, anywhere between 28 to 31 inches. Since jet looms took their place in the 1980s, shuttle loom weaving has become rare. As a result, selvage denim has become a specialty and is more expensive to produce.

Why is selvage an important feature to look for when purchasing high quality denim? By using the shuttle loom, the cross thread goes back over itself when weaving. The purpose of this edge is so the denim does not unravel once it is taken off of the loom. In contrast, non-selvage denim can fray, leading to lower quality denim.

When shopping for your next pair of high-quality, selvage denim, look no further than Marc Nelson Denim. Then, show your selvage denim off with pride by cuffing the hem of your jeans.


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