We bet some of you have been struggling to find the jeans that perfectly fit you. After countless hours of research, you’ll find a few cuts and fabrics that you love. Then, you’ll try them on until you finally find the jeans that fit you the best. However, despite of your efforts, it is quite a hassle to sustain the fit that was initially perfect.
“Many factors affect the shape of your jeans: How and how often do you wash them, how do you care for them..”
Yes, jeans are very fickle creatures. Even if you buy them from the same brand, they are all cut differently. Many factors affect the shape of your jeans: How and how often do you wash them, how do you care for them and what happens if you start hitting the gym five times a week? A lot of us practically ended up in tears when our favorite pair just didn’t fit right anymore.
Don’t worry, we’ve got your back. Regardless of whether your jeans are a little too loose or tight, these tips will help you gain your fit back by shrinking or stretching them. So please, bear with us. Here’s your ultimate guide on how to stretch and shrink your denim. There are no more excuses for looking like you’ve borrowed your dad’s pants or stolen your mom’s skinny jeans.
WHEN THE JEANS ARE TOO BIG
1. WASH THEM IN HOT WATER
OK, we might be stressing the obvious here, but we can’t ignore this point. If your jeans are made of denim that’s as close to 100 percent cotton, this method will work best for shrinkage. When your jeans have gotten a little stretched out, you can throw them in a standard wash cycle at approximately 60 degrees. We advise not to use any fabric softener to avoid any unnecessary impact. You can try it on afterwards and if necessary, repeat the process until your jeans reach your desired fit. You should be able to shrink the jeans by 1-2 sizes with this method.
2. TAKE YOUR JEANS TO A HOT BATH
A slight modified hot wash and a favorite of fans of the “shrink to fit” school of thought. We know that it sounds unusual but it works. Fill your bathtub with the hottest water you can tolerate sitting in. Put your jeans on, button them up, jump in the tub, and stay in until the water cools. The next step it to stand up and let yourself drip-dry. Get out the tub and dry off. Keep your jeans on until they dry and you will notice the size difference.
3. WEAR YOUR FAVORITE BELT
No, we’re not cheating. We’re not referring to this as a tactic to “shrink” the jeans. It is really a way to obviate the need to shrink them after wear: just wear your favorite belt! Aside from the fact that it enhances your fashion and style, belts help maintain the integrity of the waist in denim and prevent too much stretch with wear. Simply top up your jeans with a leather belt or any other type of belt and you are ready to go! In case you don’t have an amazing belt yet, head over to denimio.com and you’ll find a neat selection of made in Japan belts that match the quality of your raw denim!
“If treated well, a good pair of jeans can ‘last a lifetime’, or at least, a few years. If your jeans become slightly big or small, there is always the option of stretching or shrinking.”
A Note on Using Your Dryer:
We don’t recommend it but there are instances when a pair of jeans has totally stretched out of proportion or you’ve lost a significant amount of weight. In these cases, if you can’t sell them and you wanna give it a last shot put them in your dryer in low temperature and delicate cycles to try to shrink. There are horror stories of raw denim being ruined by dryers though, so proceed at your own risk and only as a last resort! (we’ve heard of some costumers who did it and succeeded).
It’s definitely the last resort, though!
WHEN THE JEANS ARE TOO TIGHT
1. SPRAY THEM WITH LUKEWARM WATER, THEN PULL TO STRETCH
If your jeans have shrunk down to a microscopic version of its former self and you can barely squeeze into them, you should try this method. Beforehand, you will need to carefully pinpoint the area of your jeans which needs to be stretched. This idea is to avoid any possibility of ripping your jeans, thus, you need to plan stretching in an area which isn’t damaged or worn.
You can start to spray warm water on the area of your jeans which you want to stretch until it’s thoroughly wet. The next step is to lie them flat out on the floor and stand on a dry area of your jeans to get yourself some leverage while you stretch the wet part. Pull the fabric five to ten times to stretch out. Ultimately, air dry the wet jeans and try them on. You can repeat the process if you think it hasn’t stretched enough.
2. SIT IN A WARM BATH WHILE WEARING THE JEANS
Not for the faint of heart and similar to the method of how you shrink your jeans we already covered, you will need to sit in your bathtub with your jeans on. The key (and rather challenging) difference here is to fill your bathtub up with cool or room temperature water (not hot water!). You will need to sit in it until your jeans are soaked (approximately 15 minutes). It will help loosen and stretch the threading a bit. Needless to say, we don’t recommend doing this in cold weather unless you want a serious pneumonia. More on this below…
Additional steps: Pull at areas which you want to loosen while in the tub (for approximately 10 minutes). Stand up and let yourself drip-dry, then get out the tub and dry off. You will need to continue wearing the jeans for around an hour, and then try lunges, squats or sit-ups to stretch out the denim. Take off your jeans and hang them out to dry. Once dry, repeat exercises (for approximately 10 minutes) to ensure the fibers don’t contract. We know that it sounds unpromising but trust us, it works – and it’s a neat workout that saves you a trip to the gym!
3. SPEND MORE TIME WITH YOUR JEANS
The best way to make the jeans unique to you and your life is to wear them daily and incorporate them into your daily routines. To speed up the breaking-in process and stretching out your jeans a little, you may consider biking, hiking, lunges, etc. or simply, consistent daily wear.
The constant cycling motion will loosen up the stiff legs and the sitting position will open up the seat of the denim. The process of soaking raw denim breaks down the starch/wax in the fabric. Doing 3-5 deep lunges may stretch and gently open up the seat and legs of the denim.
If treated well, a good pair of jeans can ‘last a lifetime’, or at least, a few years. If your jeans become slightly big or small, there is always the option of stretching or shrinking. Take great care when applying force or tumble drying, particularly if you’re dealing with a well-loved pair of jeans. While we all want to hold onto our favorite jeans forever, sometimes they’re past the point of redemption. If you’ve tried all the solutions, think about buying a new pair – we happen to carry a great selection of those 😉