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still don't understand selvedge

ken

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How can both sides of the whole seam have the selvedge edge? Doesn't that mean the manufacturer has to use the ends of the weave on all their jeans? It seems like this would waste a lot of denim, especially considering that different waist sizes need different widths of denim at the legs.
 

j

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I don't have much experience with selvedge but isn't it only on the outseam? I don't see how it could be on both the outseam and the inseam.
 

ken

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I don't have much experience with selvedge but isn't it only on the outseam? I don't see how it could be on both the outseam and the inseam.
Yeah, but where the outseam seam comes together, both sides are selvedge.
 

j

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Right, they cut all the outseams against the selvedge. It takes four main pieces of similar shape to make a pair of jeans. The denim is like 34" wide. Each piece is let's say 14" wide on average at the widest point (just guessing here, remember seam allowances). The pattern can overlap at the legs. If you draw it out on a piece of paper you will see what I mean. Any extra can be used for pockets front and rear and fly insert pieces. It's actually not that wasteful.
 

retronotmetro

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I thought the reason selvage has been largely abandoned by the mass producers is the fact that by using wider cloth, and not being restricted to cutting with selvage on the outseams, you have much less waste than with even careful cutting of the selvage denim. But I'm no denim expert.
 

j

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I thought the reason selvage has been largely abandoned by the mass producers is the fact that by using wider cloth, and not being restricted to cutting with selvage on the outseams, you have much less waste than with even careful cutting of the selvage denim. But I'm no denim expert.
You're right, wider cloth is more efficient, but more importantly it's cheaper to produce - the amount of work that goes into a 54" wide bolt of fabric is not much more than a 34" bolt, and even less if you consider that the newer machines are faster and they aren't making the narrow looms anymore.
 

Brian SD

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Are you talking about "double selvage" as seen in Uniqlo, where the inner and outer seams both have selvage edges, or are you talking about in the traditional sense, i.e. Levis redline, where the outer seem has selvage?

If the former, I'm not sure myself. The inside selvage may be faked. The latter, j got it right on. On a 29" loom, you can logically cut the sheet in half and you have two pieces with selvage edges that you sew together in the outside leg. It would take a total of four pieces (two full lengths of denim from the loom) to make a pair of jeans. On the 54" loom, it takes one full length of denim.

It is more wasteful in the sense that 1) takes much longer to produce the same amount of denim (and moreso because the older looms weave slower), 2) more denim is discarded, so more cotton is consumed.
 

ken

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No I was just talking about the traditional selvedge. I get it now. Originally I was picturing a much larger sheet of denim, for some reason.
 

a tailor

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the old selvage looms make 30 to 31 inch wide cloth, and weave x amount of cloth per hour.
the modern high speed looms make 58 to 61 inchwide cloth, and weave 4x amount of cloth per hour.
the operators wages are the same in each case. the overhead costs are the same.
thats why selvage denim is more expensive.
on a 60 inch wide denim i can get a 32x30 jean for myself out of 1 and 1/2 yards. but on a 30 inch width i will need 3 and 1/2 yards.
 

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