How To Shrink Your Jeans To Fit Your Unique Shape & Size
You’ve probably seen those ads, the ones for jeans that claim that one brand or another has “a perfect fit” … or “fits you in all the right places” … or “hugs your curves”. Have you ever stopped and scratched your head, wondering, “Gee, how could any brand actually achieve this so-called perfect fit when each person’s body is unique?”
Well, that’s the problem – all jeans do fit perfectly … on somebody, but not on every body. For this reason many people decide they will take matters into their own hands by purchasing a pair of jeans, and then intentionally shrinking them until they achieve the desired custom fit.
With a bit of practice this is not hard to do. First, however, you must choose among several traditional methods. The techniques described below are the most popular. Before I give you step-by-step instructions, here are a few thinks to consider before beginning:
- All traditional methods of shrinking jeans involve immersing them in hot water. If your jeans are new and have not been previously washed you may want to wash them in cold water first, alone or with like colors, to help set the dye and reduce fading. See my detailed description at the right of the best washing methods.
- Remember that hot water will cause some fading in many dyed fabrics, including denim, especially if the fabric has not been pre-washed or pre-faded, so you may want to consider this before using any shrinkage method.
- No detergent is necessary in any of these methods (though if your jeans could use a cleaning it won’t hurt the process so that decision is up to you).
- There is a limit to how much any fabric will shrink, regardless of the method you use. At a certain point your jeans will not get any smaller no matter how many times you wash them. This depends on their fabric content (cotton vs. synthetics), the tightness of the weave, whether they were made to “shrink to fit” or were pre-shrunk, etc.
- After repeated wearing, tightly fitting jeans will begin to stretch (in width, not length). If your jeans stretch you can repeat the original method and restore much of the original shrinkage, but some stretching may remain.
Method 2: Hot Water Soaking Fill your bathtub (or kitchen sink, or a large bucket) with very hot water. Immerse the jeans in the water, covering them completely, and let them soak for about 20 minutes. Remove from the water, wring out the excess water (or put them in the washer on the ‘spin” cycle for a few minutes), then try them on. If you want additional shrinking you can repeat this step, but also note that if you follow this up with a hot dryer the jeans may continue to shrink in the dryer as well.
Method 3: Boiling For the most shrinkage in the least time, take a large pot – one you would use for spaghetti -- and fill it with water, leaving enough room to add the jeans. Bring the water to a rolling boil, then add the jeans. You can leave them in the boiling water for 20-30 minutes, or you can take them out periodically to check the amount of shrinkage (see above). When you are done with that step dry the jeans on the hottest dryer setting. This method should shrink the jeans quickly and significantly.
Once your jeans are the size you want them to be you can maintain their size by washing them in cold water and hanging them to dry, or drying them in your dryer on the no heat setting.