How to Make Clothes Shrink
How to Shrink a Sweatshirt
If you bought a sweatshirt and later realized it’s too big, don’t worry! You can easily shrink your fabric so your sweatshirt fits better. Try submerging your sweatshirt in hot and/or boiling water, and use a hot heat setting to launder your garment. If your shirt is not shrunk enough after using the washer and dryer, run an iron over top of a wet sweatshirt. With either method, you may be able to shrink your sweatshirt to your liking!
Using the Washer and Dryer
Check the tag to review washing instructions and material type.Review the tag on your shirt to see if the garment has any specific washing instructions. Some fabrics easily shrink with heat, while some fabric will not shrink at all. If the tag tells you to wash your garment in cool water, you can wash it in warm water to shrink it.
- For example, cotton easily shrinks, as does cotton and polyester blends.
- Synthetic fabric like rayon and nylon do not shrink.
Wash your sweatshirt in hot water as a first attempt to shrink it.To do this, put your sweatshirt in a clean sink, and run hot water over the garment for 5-10 minutes. Let the sweatshirt cool down to room temperature, and then check the sizing.
- If you are satisfied with the amount your sweatshirt shrinks, you can launder it as normal.
- If you want to shrink your sweatshirt even more, use boiling water, your washing machine, and/or your dryer.
- To check the size, hold the shirt up to your torso and examine it in the mirror.
Submerge your cotton sweatshirt in boiling water to shrink the fabric.If your sweatshirt did not shrink enough after using hot water, boil a large pot of water on high heat. When your water comes to a boil, submerge your garments, put a lid on the pot, and turn off the heat. The boiling water helps shrink your shirt even more.
- If you want to shrink your shirt 1 size, leave it in the water for 10-15 minutes.
- If you hope to shrink your shirt 2 sizes, let it cool to room temperature.
- Do not do this if washing a polyester sweatshirt. The high temperatures can make the fabric rough or stiff. Polyester should not be heated above 178 °F (81 °C).
- Alternatively, put your sweatshirt in your sink and pour boiling water over top the garment. Then, let it cool to room temperature.
Select the hot water setting on your machine after applying hot water.After you’ve soaked your sweatshirt in hot and/or boiling water, put it in your washing machine. You can wash your sweatshirt with other garments you want to shrink, such as T-shirts. Select the appropriate load size, and pour in 1 cap full of laundry detergent. After you wash your sweatshirt, check the sizing before you put it in the dryer.
- To maximize your shrinkage, use the longest washing size. If you just want to shrink it 1 size, you can use a normal wash cycle.
- If you are washing a small load of laundry, you only need one half of a cap of detergent.
- When checking the size, hold the wet sweatshirt in front of your torso and eyeball the size in the mirror. Once the sweatshirt is dry, you can try it on to check the fit.
Put your sweatshirt in the dryer on the hottest heat setting.If your sweatshirt is still not your desired size, use a very warm heat setting on the longest drying time. This can shrink your sweatshirt an additional size.
- If your sweatshirt is shrunk to your liking, follow the drying directions on your garment tag. Most list a medium heat setting and normal drying time.
Check the fit of your sweatshirt after it cools to room temperature.After the dryer cycle is complete, take out your sweatshirt and lay it on a flat surface. Once your sweatshirt is at room temperature, put it on to check your overall fit.
- If your sweatshirt did not shrink adequately, try using an iron to shrink it another size.
Using an Iron
Wet your sweatshirt if it's not small enough.If you aren’t satisfied with the fit of your sweatshirt, simply wet the garment with warm water from your sink. Wring out excess moisture, and lay the sweatshirt on your ironing board.
- Using an iron can shrink your clothes up to 1 additional size.
Lay a cotton cloth on top of your sweatshirt if it is polyester.Polyester can easily get damaged or harden up if exposed to direct high temperatures. To avoid this, place a cotton garment on top of the polyester sweatshirt. You can use a large T-shirt or towel, for instance. Do this if your garment is a blend of fabric with 50% or more of polyester.
- If you are ironing a cotton sweatshirt, you do not need a layer of protection.
Use medium heat to avoid burning your sweatshirt.Turn on your iron and let it warm up. If you use a high heat setting, it can burn your sweatshirt rather than shrinking it. If you use a low heat setting, it may not shrink your garment.
Apply moderate pressure to the iron to shrink your sweatshirt.Place your iron on your garment with moderate pressure. Run your iron across the garment slowly, leaving the iron in 1 spot for no more than 10 seconds.
- If the iron stays in 1 place for too long, it can burn your sweatshirt.
Iron the sweatshirt until most of the water evaporates away.Since your sweatshirt is wet, there will be steam released when the iron contacts the moisture. This reaction is essentially what shrinks your fabric. Once the majority of the water is gone, your sweatshirt should be thoroughly shrunk.
- If your sweatshirt is still damp, you can hang it to dry or put it in your dryer for 10-20 minutes.
Things You’ll Need
Using the Washer and Dryer
Using an Iron
Cotton shirt (optional)
- Before you start, consider how much smaller you want your sweatshirt to be. That way, you do not overly shrink your sweatshirt.
Video: BAGGY THRIFTED SWEATER TO FITTED VINTAGE SWEATER | KAD transformation #19
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