What are shuttle looms?
Shuttle looms are vintage weaving machines that were widely used prior to the 1960s before modern projectile looms were invented. Weaving on shuttle looms occur as the shuttle device carries the weft (horizontal) yarn across the loom while interlacing with the warp (vertical) yarn. As the shuttle continuously brings the weft yarn across the loom, the fabric is slowly created while forming finished edges. These finished edges give origin to the term “selvage” or “self-edge” denim.
Shuttle looms vs. modern looms
On shuttle looms, the selvage is tightly bound forming a clean edge as the fabric is woven. With this technique, the finished product is much less prone to unraveling and is usually higher in quality.
Modern projectile looms, which are more common for commodity denim production today due to their faster production time, use a different technique when weaving fabric. As the weft (horizontal) yarn makes it way across the loom and reaches the other end, the yarn is cut, rather than looping around the warp yarn the way it does on shuttle looms.