It’s very disappointing when your favorite jacket or pair of jeans don’t fit you in all the right places anymore. The good news is that denim is made from cotton and is one of the easiest fabrics to stretch. We’ll show you how to shrink denim, whether the whole piece needs shrinking or just a few target areas.
Denim is a sturdy cotton textile that is a popular material for making everything from jeans, jackets, and skirts to shoes, purses, and caps. When this material fits appropriately, it is comfortable and fashionable. Unfortunately, it stretches over time, especially in specific areas.
Fortunately, this material is easy to shrink by using a few simple applications. The most common way to shrink items made of denim is with high heat. High temperatures, whether they are in the form of water or a drying process, cause the material to constrict and shrink.
- Shrinking Jeans and Denim for a Perfect Fit
- Ways to Shrink Denim Minimally
- Moderate Shrinking of Denim
- How to Shrink Denim with Maximum Results
- Shrinking an Entire Piece of Denim
- Shrink Denim in Specific Areas
- Shrink Jeans to Fit Your Shape
- Shrinking Raw Denim
- How to Shrink a Denim Jacket
- Shrinking Denim with Fabric Softener
- How to Shrink Denim by Sewing
- How to Care for and Clean Raw Denim
Shrinking Jeans and Denim for a Perfect Fit
There are several techniques for shrinking denim, whether it is old jeans or a new pair of jeans, leggings, or a raw denim skirt. Shrink mildly loose fabrics using low heat or shrink baggy fabrics with high heat. Shrink the entire item for a snug fit or shrink small sections for a custom fit.
Ways to Shrink Denim Minimally
There are many ways to shrink denim, and it all comes down to how much shrinking your clothing requires for the best fit. It’s easy to use the washing machine if you have a skirt or pair of jeans that needs a small amount of shrinking.
Put your clothing in the washing machine and set the water temperature to warm. Wash the clothes as you would regularly and then remove them from the washer. The agitation and warm temperature help shrink the fabric minimally. Clip the clothes to a hanger to air dry.
Moderate Shrinking of Denim
Washing your clothing in warm water and drying with high heat is the best way for shrinking raw denim. The combination of warm and hot temperatures and agitation causes the material to shrink moderately.
Set your washing machine to the warm wash temperature setting and wash your item as you usually do. It is not necessary to add laundry detergent unless the clothing is dirty. Put the clothes in the dryer on high heat. The combination of a warm wash and a hot dryer shrinks the fabric for a better fit.
How to Shrink Denim with Maximum Results
The easiest way to get your outfit down a full size is to use the power of your washer and dryer. Use high heat heat settings in both machines to shrink a jacket or pair of jeans with maximum results.
Hot temperatures are required to get the most shrinkage out of your clothing. Place your clothing into the washing machine and use the hottest water temperature for both the wash and rinse cycle. Once the washing completes, place it into the dryer and set it to the highest heat setting.
Shrinking an Entire Piece of Denim
Do you wash jeans in the washer and dryer, yet they still do not shrink? The water temperature of your washing machine may not be hot enough to get the job done. This is easy to remedy using your stovetop.
Fill a stockpot with enough water to cover your clothing item. Bring the water to a rolling boil and then add the clothing carefully. Boil the item for about 15 minutes before straining the water into a colander. Dry the material in the dryer using the hottest dry cycle.
Shrink Denim in Specific Areas
Sometimes, material gets stretched out and baggy in specific areas, such as the thigh and rear region. It’s easy to shrink target areas of the material using some fabric softener and a spray bottle.
Lay the clothing material out on an ironing board. Fill a bottle sprayer with hot water and spray the areas that require shrinkage. Hang the clothing on a clothesline or hanger by securing it with clothespins.
Remove the item from the clothesline before it is completely dry and lay it out on the ironing board. Iron the damp areas with an iron set to high heat. Continue ironing from top to bottom until the material is dry.
Shrink Jeans to Fit Your Shape
Jeans shrink when subjected to warm temperatures and water. While it isn’t the most comfortable feeling in the world, wearing your clothing during the process helps the material shrink to the shape of your body.
Fill the bathtub with water that is hot enough to shrink the material yet not so hot that it damages your skin. Do not add any soap to the water and climb into the hot bath while wearing your jeans.
Soak in the hot water for about half an hour while placing your body in a comfortable position. Stand up in the tub for a few minutes to allow the water to drip out of the material. Remove the jeans and lay them out on a flat surface to air dry.
Do not wring the cloth or place it in the dryer. If you need to speed up the drying process, consider laying them in the sun to dry.
Shrinking Raw Denim
Raw denim is left untouched after the dyeing process at the manufacturer and is an ultra-pure fabric. It is a rigid and durable material that is not preshrunk before distribution. Therefore, the entire shrinking process is up to you.
There are many ways to shrink raw fabric after purchasing it, and it comes down to how much shrinkage it requires. For moderate shrinkage, machine-wash and dry the material with high heat. The heat of the machines shrinks the waist up to one inch and the inseam up to three inches.
How to Shrink a Denim Jacket
Denim jackets are a timeless go-to piece of clothing when it comes to fashion, but what if your jean jacket is a little bit too large? This cotton-based textile is easy to shrink using hot water and heat.
To shrink the entire jacket, turn it inside-out to prevent fading and place it by itself in the washing machine. Wash the item with the hottest wash and rinse cycle. It’s not necessary to add laundry detergent unless the jacket is dirty.
After the cycle completes, place it into the dryer and dry the material with a high heat setting. If the sleeves of your jacket are too long, then the boiling water method is the way to go to shrink them without shrinking the entire jacket.
Fill a large pot with enough water to cover your coat and bring it to a rolling boil. Place the sleeves of the jacket, inside-out, into the water, simmer for ten minutes, and then remove from the heat. After the water cools, remove the coat from the water and dry it in the clothes dryer on high heat.
Shrinking Denim with Fabric Softener
The combination of fabric softener and hot water loosens the fibers of the cotton jeans, helping the material to stretch easier. This technique is ideal for shrinking target areas or the entire piece of clothing.
Combine the water and softener in a bottle sprayer and shake well to mix. Lay the material on a flat surface and spray the solution on the areas that need shrinking.
Place the clothing in the dryer on high heat. If you’re trying to shrink a pair of Levi jeans, consider slipping on the dampened denim over a pair of spandex leggings to stretch them to the shape of your body while they shrink.
How to Shrink Denim by Sewing
If your waistband is not shrinking to the size you require, and you are handy with a needle and some thread, it’s easy to shrink an extra size around the waist or the inseam with a few simple stitches.
DIY Denim Shrinkage
To shrink the inseam, turn the jeans inside-out and remove the stitching of the old seam. Stitch a new seem that is tighter to fit your body type.
The easiest way to shrink the waist section is by sewing elastic into the rear of the waistband. For a more permanent result, use a sewing machine to create new seams in the waistband by removing excess material and stitching a new seam.
How to Care for and Clean Raw Denim
It’s disappointing when deciding what to wear only to discover that your favorite piece of denim is too baggy. Stretched denim is easy to remedy with proper care and cleaning.
While washing your clothing item in hot water is the best way to shrink the material back to its original shape, this causes the fabric to fade over time. To prevent fading, always turn the clothing inside-out while washing and drying.
To ensure that your skinny jeans do not stretch out and get baggy in undesirable places, consider purchasing jeans with spandex woven into the material. Jeans that contain spandex with denim bend with the body, which causes less stretching.
If your clothing gets stretched out in between washing, toss the unwashed clothing into the dryer on the highest setting for several minutes. The heat causes the fibers to constrict for a tighter fit.
Wearing jeans or other clothing that doesn’t fit right is uncomfortable and unfashionable. Luckily, it’s just as easy to shrink jeans as it is to stretch jeans, whether it’s the entire piece or a target area such as the waistband or inseam. All that is needed is some water and heat to get your clothing to fit you just right.
Now that you know how to shrink denim fabrics so that your favorite pair of jeans fits you, why not share our denim shrinking tips with your family and friends on Pinterest and Facebook?