What does Roping mean?
“Roping” commonly refers to the fade pattern found along the leg opening hem that closely resembles a rope.
Heddels explains Roping
As the leg opening on a pair of raw denim jeans is being fed through the sewing machine during hemming, an uneven amount of tension is placed on the fabric. It’s this tiny amount of tension that pulls the hem ever so slightly and creates a bumpy rope-like shape along the edge.
Roping can be found in along any fabric edge that’s finished with an uneven amount of tension, regardless of the stitch type and machine used. Thus, contrary to popular belief amongst denim heads, a hem does not need special treatment in order to achieve Roping, such as being chain stitched with a Union Special 43200G machine (although one could argue this machine produces an especially high amount of tension so the Roping effect will be more prominent).
Roping fades can vary in shape, tightness, and subtlety, but are almost always celebrated widely amongst enthusiasts.
See below for a few examples of Roping: