In case you have even a passing desire for raw denim, you’ve probably heard the phrase Selvedge more than a few times. No, it doesn’t refer to someone who vends lettuce, selvedge means the way a textile has been woven. You can spot selvedge denim by the tell-tale colored lines that often run along the outseam of a pair of jeans, but what exactly does that mean?
Selvedge goes by a lot of spellings (selvage, self-edge, salvage) however it all equates to exactly the same thing-the self-binding edge of a fabric woven over a shuttle loom. That definition may sound a little jargony, but trust me, all will quickly sound right. It’s also important to note that selvedge denim is not really exactly like raw denim. Selvedge refers to how the fabric has become woven, whereas raw means the wash (or lack thereof) on the fabric itself.
How is Selvedge Denim Made? To be able to understand how manufacturers make Wingfly Textile, we first have to understand a bit about textile manufacturing generally speaking. Almost all woven fabrics are composed of two parts with two parts: warp yarns (those which run all around) and weft yarns (those that run side to side).
To weave a fabric, the loom supports the warp yarns set up as the weft yarn passes between the two. The main difference between selvedge and non-selvedge fabrics is all a point of how the weft yarn is placed into the fabric. Up to the 1950s, just about all denim was produced on Shuttle Looms. A shuttle loom is actually a weaving textile loom which utilizes a little device called a shuttle to fill out the weft yarns by passing backwards and forwards between both sides of the loom. This leaves one continuous yarn at all the edges therefore the fabric self seals with no stray yarns.
Most shuttle looms create a textile that is certainly about 36 inches across. This dimension is just about ideal for placing those selvedge denim jeans seams at the outside edges of the pattern for a pair of jeans. This placement isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, but practical along with it saves whoever’s sewing the jeans a couple of extra passes on the overlock machine and ensures the jeans is not going to fray on the outseam.
The demand for more denim after WWII, however, soon forced mills to adopt mass-production technology. A shuttle loom can place about 150 weft yarns a minute on a 36 inch wide textile. A Projectile Loom, however, can place over 1000 weft yarns per minute on a textile that’s doubly wide, thus producing nearly 15 times more fabric in the same time span.
The projectile loom achieves its speed by firing individual (and unconnected) weft yarns over the warp. This is a a lot more efficient approach to weave fabric, what’s lost though is the fact cleanly sealed edge. Non-selvedge denim created by projectile looms has an open and frayed edge denim, because each of the individual weft yarns are disconnected on sides. To make jeans from this kind of denim, each of the edges have to be Overlock Stitched to keep the fabric from coming unraveled.
Exactly why is it Popular Today?
Selvedge denim has seen a recently available resurgence alongside vintage workwear styles from your 40s and 50s. Japanese brands obsessive about recreating the ideal jeans from that era went up to now concerning reweave selvedge denim in new and interesting ways. Since selvedge denim is back on the market, the small detail on the upturned cuff quickly became among the “things to have”.
The selvedge craze has become very popular that some manufacturers have even resorted to knocking off of the selvedge look and producing fake selvedge appliques to mimic the colored lines on the outseam.
The overwhelming most of denim made today is open end and non-selvedge. You will find only xgfjbh handful of mills left in the world that still take the time and energy to create selvedge denim.
The most well known is Cone Mills that has produced denim from their White Oak Plant in Greensboro, North Carolina, because the early 1900s. They’re also the last selvedge denim wholesale manufacturer left in the usa. Other noteworthy mills include Kuroki, Nihon Menpu, Collect, Kaihara, Kurabo, Nisshinbo, and Toyoshima, which have been in Japan, Candiani and Blue Selvedge in Italy. Many of the artisanal denim brands will specify which mill their denim is coming from, so try to find the names listed above. The increased need for selvedge, however, has prompted many mills in China, India, Turkey, and elsewhere to create it too. So it might be difficult to discover the way to obtain your fabric from lots of the larger brands and retailers.