Selvedge /Selvage Jeans – What Makes Them So Special?

If you are an unwavering denimhead and wouldn’t even consider any other denim than selvedge the “real” thing, then you will probably already know what’s coming up here!

But for all of you “newbies”, you have very likely been wondering lately what all this talk about dark wash and selvedge denim is about. Well, we have already explained about raw denim in our previous feature. You can read it all here. Now, let’s talk about what most of denim lovers refer to as the noblest of all denims, the selvedge or selvage denim fabric.

And as mentioned in our previous post, raw denim doesn’t necessarily mean selvedge denim. What makes an association like this very common is the fact that selvedge denim is generally associated with dark indigo denim, unwashed and untreated. But nowadays this is only partly true. Today, there are also lighter wash, fashionably ripped and distressed selvedge denim jeans available out there.

Raw Indigo Selvedge Jeans

Distressed Selvedge Jeans

Another myth is that selvedge denim has to be made of 100% cotton. In the past few decades, stretch has been very successfully added to a lot of selvedge denim fabrics. A factor that incentivizes many denim lovers to go for selvedge which they previously had considered too uncomfortable, too stiff, to wear for a longer period of time.

Stretch Denim Selvedge Jeans

Denim addicts, or denimheads – as we love to call them – usually prefer to buy their jeans in the darkest indigo. The reason why is so that you, yourself, can “make them your own”. Wear them in, wear them as often as you can without washing them so the jeans can adjust to the shape of your body. An endeavor that may take years to achieve the wished-for wash.

About selvedge denim according to Todd Shelton:

“The words selvedge denim relate to self-edge or self-finished fabric edges. Selvedge denim jeans use the actual self-edge in the jean construction – specifically along the outer seam.”

“Selvedge denim is an old-fashioned way of weaving denim, generally on older machines. People who care about selvedge denim appreciate its historical authenticity.”

And last, but not least, the question that most people always ask:

Why is selvedge denim more expensive?

“Selvedge denim uses smaller and, in many cases, old looms that run slow. Non-selvedge denim uses bigger and modern looms, that run fast. It takes much longer to weave self-edge denim, making it more expensive.”

Todd Shelton has an amazing denim collection, and all of the brand’s clothing is manufactured in the USA.

And how can you identify selvedge jeans?

Turn up the cuff to look at the seams on the inside of the jean. Look at the seam that runs up the outside of the leg. If the edges look finished (the yarns of the self-edge are a different color than the fabric), it’s selvedge.

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