You slip your legs into your favorite jeans or pair of pants, only to discover that you cannot get them up above your hips. Sometimes you can shrink pants after washing them improperly, sometimes because your body changes. We’ll show you how to stretch pants, whether in the waistband or the entire pant area, using a few simple remedies.
Everyone has that favorite pair of jeans that we rely on, like a best friend. These pants are comfy and stylish and always seem to fit in all the right places until they don’t. Sometimes eating a couple of extra doughnuts causes pants to shrink, but improper washing and drying are often the culprits.
While it gives you a bit of exercise, jumping up and down while pulling on your pants isn’t always the best way to get a proper fit. Sometimes a few extra steps are necessary to help you fit comfortably into your favorite pants.
Stretching Pants for the Perfect Fit
The easiest way to stretch pants is with water, whether skinny jeans, straight-leg, Levi denim, leggings, or spandex. Use water to loosen jeans waist, and apply one of our simple stretching techniques to pull the material back to a comfortable shape.
Simple Ways to Stretch Pants while Wearing Them
One of the easiest ways to stretch pants is to stretch the fabric while wearing them. Doing this enables you to extend the material to fit your body’s natural shape.
Basic Pant Stretching
To stretch cotton pants naturally, start by putting them on. If you have trouble slipping into your pants, try lying down. Don’t worry if you cannot zipper them up or button them. Do some squats to loosen up the backside of the pants.
Place two small objects in the waist area on opposite sides. Try using something small such as a perfume bottle or deodorant stick. Walk around the house and do some activity for 15 minutes to stretch out the waistband.
How to Unshrink Pants with Water
Water is an excellent tool for stretching out fabrics. The fibers of the material loosen and stretch easier than if they are dry. Here is how to unshrink pants and loosen canvas shoes if basic stretching doesn’t work.
Lay your pants on a flat surface. Pour warm water into a sprayer and spray the water lightly on both sides of your pants. Carefully stretch out the pants by hand, and then put them on.
Do some stretches while wearing the damp pants to stretch them out. Lunges give your pants a stretch that feels comfortable while walking, and squats stretch the material for comfortable sitting. Continue doing activities until the pants dry.
How to Stretch Pants with an Iron
If plain water doesn’t do the trick to loosen your pants, consider using water and heat to stretch polyester fibers even further. While the heat itself causes materials to shrink, pulling the material while applying heat causes the fabric to stretch.
To stretch rayon fabric or whatever material makes up your pants, zip, and button the pants and slip them over an ironing board until the waist stretches as far as possible. Use the steam setting on your clothing iron to steam the material until it is thoroughly damp.
If you do not have a steam setting, use a spray bottle filled with water to spritz the pants, especially if you are trying to stretch and iron denim materials. Use one hand to pull the side of the waistband while ironing the opposite side. Repeat the process on the other side of the waist.
If the leg sections of the pants require stretching, slide the leg area over the ironing board as far as possible and perform the steaming, stretching, and ironing process on each leg.
Stretching the Waistline of Pants
A washing machine is the best way to wash jeans, but not if you use hot temperatures. If your jeans no longer fit you properly around the middle, try using a little warm water to make pants bigger around the waist.
To loosen jeans, place your pants on a flat surface. Pour warm water into a spray bottle, add the liquid fabric softener, and shake the bottle gently to mix.
Spray the entire surface of the waistband from front to back, and use your hands to pull and stretch the material. Hold each side of the waist at the side seams and pull outward.
Move your hand a couple of inches to the side and repeat. Continue stretching until you make your way around the entire waistband. If water doesn’t work, try increasing the inseam with extenders. Once you make polyester shrink you will need to stretch the material out by hand to get back to the original shape.
Stretching Pants in the Bathtub
During the stretching process, pants tend to stretch in the wrong places and still do not fit you perfectly. As strange as it seems, the bathtub is a great way to stretch your favorite pair of pants back to fit your body shape.
Fill the bathtub with enough warm water to cover your hips. Slip-on your pants, climb into the tub, and get into a comfortable position with your legs slightly bent at the knee. Relax in the warm water for a few minutes and then get out of the tub.
Use a towel to dry off extra water and continue wearing your pants while walking around for about half an hour. If they require extra stretching, consider doing lunges and squats while you wait.
Stretch out Pants with Clothespins
If you do not have time to stretch your pants uniformly to your body by wearing them during the process, try using clothespins to pull the material as it dries to get all the places to stretch out.
Wash your pants in the washing machine on a warm wash setting. Once the cycle completes, remove your pants and lay them out on an ironing board. Pull the material outward to the edges of the board and use clothespins to secure them into place.
Pay attention to the areas that require the most stretching such as the crotch, pant leg, or waist. Leave the pants in this manner until they dry.
Proper Care to Prevent Pants from Shrinking
It’s easy to toss a laundry load into the washer, turn on the dials, and walk away. But, using improper settings on the washer and dryer damages clothing and causes shrinkage.
The best way to keep clothes from shrinking is to use the right techniques while washing and drying them.
Some fabrics shrink easier than others, so make sure to read the care tag for your pants before washing and drying them. Always use cold water while washing your pants during the wash cycle.
Hot water causes the fibers in the material to shrink and is also true for the dryer. Dry your pants on a low heat setting or hang them on a hanger to air dry.
Nothing beats slipping on a favorite pair of pants and going through your day in comfort and style.
Knowing how to stretch jeans after accidentally washing or drying them with high heat goes a long way to keeping those pants your favorite. All it takes is a little bit of warm water, the right technique, and some patience.
We hope that showing how to stretch pants gets your favorite pair of jeans to fit you just right, and we’d love it if you’d share our pant stretching tips with your family and friends on Facebook and Pinterest.