Without fail, flawed portions of fabric manage to end up front and center on finished garments, but are not so easy to find on yardage lengths. Why?!?
Over the years, I have found a way to avoid this issue . . . most of the time.
Before cutting, I always press my yardage which gives me the opportunity to look at the fibers up close and personal. Even minor snags or imperfections get "stitched" with a contrasting thread – if I can avoid those spots altogether, I will! At worst, they will work for a facing or the underside of a collar, etc. if there is a fabric shortage. This takes very little time (seconds, really) and makes the flaws easily visible from the right and wrong side of the fabric.
I am embarrassed to admit that when I started garment sewing, I used the selvedge as the center back zipper opening because I knew it would not fray. This would often come at a cost – most pieces are not cut with an edge exactly on grain. It seemed a piddling thing to worry about at the time . . . but I do not do that any more!
Tightly woven selvedge edges must be clipped so that the fabric will lay flat and on grain. Not all selvedges will create a huge amount of distortion (laundering will often exacerbate the problem), but it is good to get in the habit of clipping when the pattern layout gets close to a selvedge edge. Linear prints and designs make the issue quite obvious, but most woven fabrics will benefit by tending to the selvedge.
There is no earth shattering information here, but I thought someone might find it useful!
Happy sewing, everyone!