How to Shrink Fabric

It is a common fear that one day you might open up your dryer to pull out your most cherished sweater, only to reveal a frock 4 sizes too small. Shrinking your best clothes is not something you ever set out to do, but sometimes, there is a need to shrink fabric. Perhaps you have lost weight and your favorite pair of jeans are not as fitted as they used to be; or maybe your old t-shirt was stretched out too much over the years, and needs to be taken back. Most often, clothing makers and knitters shrink their fabrics first, in order to test their laundering capacity and prevent garment shrinking later.

Regardless of your need to shrink fabric, there are some easy methods to do so effectively. Continue reading for a quick guide on how to shrink fabric without causing damage or discoloration.

Indianapolis Clothing Alterations 317-845-9077
Indianapolis Clothing Alterations 317-845-9077

Shrinking Cotton, Denim, or Polyester

If you have cotton, denim, or polyester clothing that you wish to shrink down a size or two, all you need is your washing machine and dryer. Start by washing your garment on the hottest cycle. Then place it in the dryer on high heat. As it dries, periodically check on the size to ensure it is reaching the desired proportions. These period checks are particularly important if the garment was just bought brand new and has never been pre-shrunk before.Why does this work? High heat relaxes the stress of the fibers in fabric, causing the threads to shorten.

Consolidation Shrinkage

The consolidation shrinkage approach works the same way as the first approach mentioned, using hot water and high heat. But for this approach, add in a longer washing cycle. The combination of heat, moisture, and movement over a long period of time releases the tension in clothing, allowing it to be better shrunk and reshaped in the high heat of the dryer.

Shrinking Wool

As animal hair goes, wool is very delicate, so the approach to shrink it needs to be gentler as well. The process of shrinking wool is called felting, and involves exposing the wool fabric to heat, water, or distress. Do produce these conditions for shrinking wool, it doesn’t take much. Simply wash the garment on a short, delicate cycle, and then dry on low heat. Like cotton, denim, and polyester, be sure to periodically check on the size to ensure it is reaching the desired proportions.

Opt for Professional Clothing Alterations

Yong's Alterations 317-845-9077

When you have highly valuable or delicate clothing or costumes that just don’t fit like they need to, bring them into our Indianapolis alternations shop for professional tailoring services you can trust. Here at Yong’s Alterations, we provide same-day alterations, rush alteration services, express tailoring, while-you-wait tailoring services, and so much more. Call 317-845-9077 to request a free estimate, anytime.

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