How to Use a Floating Selvedge

How to Use a Floating Selvedge

Dear Tabby,

I’ve heard of a floating selvedge but I don’t know when and how to use it. Your help is appreciated.


June in Jefferson City


Dear June,

A floating selvedge is an extra warp thread on either side of the weaving. It is wound on just like a regular warp thread, but is not threaded through a heddle. Therefore, it floats at the edge of the weaving. To weave, you place the shuttle over the floating selvedge when you enter the shed and under it when you exit. This will feel awkward at first but after a few inches, it will feel automatic. I like to add extra weight to my floating selvedges, which keeps them taut and floating.

floating selvedge with weights

A floating selvedge is handy when you are weaving a twill or other patterned weave where the selvedge thread is not caught every time. A floating selvedge is much more efficient than manipulating the shuttle around the edge thread to capture it. If you are planning a twill weave, then you should also plan to add floating selvedges at the edges. (By the way, because you don’t have a neutral—the threads are either raised or lowered—on a rigid heddle loom, you can’t have floating selvedges.)


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