selvedge jeans

Photo shows a roll of selvedge raw denim on the left, while a roll of standard raw denim sits to the right in the foreground. The clean edge of selvedge fabric is usually part of a denim garment, while the unfinished edge is treated as waste

Maurice Malone, who’s the founder, creator, and designer of Williamsburg Garment Factory Co. denim, is answering some very interesting questions about denim. One of the biggest denim-questions we have been asked over the years, were about the difference between selvedge denim and raw denim.

SELVEDGE DENIM

Selvedge, which is derived from self-edge, refers to the way the edge is finished on a roll of fabric. The denim is woven back at the end of each row creating the self-edge. Traditionally woven on shuttle looms, the result is a clean, finished edge. Selvedge can come in a variety of different color combinations, but commonly has a white edge with a red line down the center. In the 1950s, there was a switch to more modern techniques which weave larger swathes of fabric and don’t use a selvedge edge. This was done to make the process faster and cheaper.

Why is selvedge denim more expensive?

Selvedge denim jeans are likely to be more expensive than non-selvedge styles in a brands collection for two reasons. First, selvedge denim is narrower; ranging roughly between 28” to 34,”as compared to non-selvedge which can be around 57” to 64” wide. This means a pair of selvedge jeans could use about twice as many yards of fabric as compared to non-selvedge jeans cut from wider fabric. The second factor is the price of the fabric. Selvedge, which is usually made on vintage looms, usually cost a few dollars more per yard (depending on the supplier), than modern, wider non-selvedge denim.

What is RAW DENIM?

Raw denim, also referred to as dry denim, is denim fabric that has not been washed after the dying process. This process leaves the denim in its natural or raw state. Denim is made from white cotton yarn that is then dyed to the desired color, and woven to produce a sheet of fabric. All denim jeans come off the manufacturing line as raw denim, which is the traditional way in which jeans are produced.

Williamsburg Garment Factory jeans for both, men and women, are available here.

You can also shop for men’s selvedge jeans at Mr. Porter, Naked & Famous does super cool selvedge for very reasonable prices, and also check out some raw jeans here and here.

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