The world of ready-to-wear apparel can be difficult for me to find clothes that fit my body type without requiring pricey tailoring. Fortunately, I’ve learned how to stretch my clothing so that it fits me better! A cherished shirt or sweater that has shrunk after being washed can be stretched back to its original size using these strategies.
Using a fabric softener or hair conditioner, moisten the clothing before stretching the loose fibers into form. Clothing can be stretched with the help of tools like waistband extenders. Steaming or the use of blocking or weights to stretch out important portions of a garment can also work effectively with certain types of material.
Stretching and resizing your clothing is easy when you follow the advice in this article. Stretching cotton and polyester, for example, will be covered as well. In the end, you’ll learn how to avoid shrinking your garments!
Can You Make Clothes Bigger?
Depending on the construction and material of the garment, you can usually expand it by one or two sizes.
But wouldn’t it be easier if you just bought a piece of clothing in the correct size?
The answer is no. In stores like T.J. Maxx and Target, where you can buy off-the-rack clothing, you’re frequently met with a “one size fits all” approach to sizing.
Despite the fact that you may consider yourself to be a size 12, if a row of size 12 persons were lined up, each one would have a different set of physical traits, and none of you would be able to wear an average size 12 garment perfectly!
This is why being able to stretch out your garments and resize them is a great way to obtain a more tailored appearance!
Of course, you may also need to master some of these laundry accident rescue skills. Most people have accidentally shrunk a sweater in the washing machine. If your sweater or t-shirt shrank a little in the wash, don’t worry; you can quickly undo the shrinkage.
Most fabrics shrink over time when exposed to heat. Hot water in the washing machine or an over-hot dryer can make your clothes shrink in the wash.
This occurs as a result of the strain the fibers undergo throughout the weaving process, which causes them to be stretched taut as they are twisted into yarns and then woven or knit into cloth. When the stressed fibers are heated, they relax and return to their shorter natural shape!
Always keep in mind that clothing might stretch with use. When you wear something a lot, like your beloved henley, you may notice that it gets a little baggy around the elbows. Sweaters other knit clothing can be stretched if they are hung up to dry with a lot of water on them.
How to Stretch Clothes: Seven Methods
Using a particular solution, like water and conditioner, is the quickest and most effective approach to stretch garments. This will loosen the fibers, allowing you to elongate the garment by a small amount. Most clothing will be stretched by at least a full size throughout this process.
However, even the most advanced stretching method has its limitations. A garment should never be expanded more than two sizes.
You can also acquire tailoring techniques to permanently alter garments if you have a sewing machine and are confident in your abilities. However, you may easily increase the size of your clothes without stitching by intentionally stretching them out. This method frequently requires less time and effort.
See which of these seven various methods of stretching works best for you, and then give it a try!
With a little preparation, you’ll find each of these approaches much easier to use.
The first step is to read the label on the inside of your shirt or other garment. What kind of fabric is your outfit made of, and how much wear and tear can it take, will be revealed here.
Certain fabrics, such as knits, are best suited to some of the procedures outlined here. What kind of fabric the garment is made of can assist you determine which way of stretching is best for you.
You’ll also want to know if washing your blouse, dress, or sweater in the washing machine is a good idea. Check the label to make sure “dry clean only” doesn’t appear.
Then, for the soaking procedures, make sure your bathtub or sink is spotless.
Also, go through each technique’s procedures to ensure you have all the necessary tools on hand before you start.
Finally, utilize this advice to assist you get your garment back to its original size and shape! Using parchment paper, roll out a wide piece and tape the corners to a table or the floor. The next step is to locate an item of clothing that is comparable to the too-small items, but is the proper size and shape.
Find a shirt of the same style that fits you well and use that as a guide to get your shirt back to normal size. Using a pencil, trace the outline of this blouse on the parchment paper. This way, you’ll be able to match the pencil outline with the shirt’s sizing!
Please be aware that when wet, wrapping paper, tracing paper, and regular printing paper will melt. To prevent stains on your clothes, avoid using any ink during this process.
Using this pattern, you’ll be able to stretch a garment back to its original size!
Hair Conditioner or Fabric Softener
This is a quick and simple repair that you may use every day because you probably already have a favorite hair conditioner or a fragrant fabric softener in your laundry room.
This method is excellent for working with knits. Cotton is also a good candidate for this treatment. With polyester, you’ll need to use warm water, and you may need to utilize muscle to stretch this type of fabric.
Dresses and other clothing can be resized.
- The size of your shirt dictates how much water you need fill a sink, tub, or bucket with.
- It’s best to mix a few tablespoons together with around a cup of conditioner or fabric softener.
- Submerge your garment gently in this solution.
- A shirt made of light cloth should be soaked for 10 minutes, while a heavier knit should be soaked for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove the tub plug or the sink plug to drain the water.
- After pressing some moisture out of the garment, roll it in a towel to remove even more water. You want the clothing to be damp, but not drenched!
- On top of the parchment-paper pattern, lay out your moist shirt flatly. Stretch the shirt till the edges fit the template shape with a gradual smoothing motion.
- Hold the shirt’s edges down with smooth, weighty items while you stretch it. Clean mugs, canned food, or the kind of candles that come in glass jars are all good options for this purpose.
- Finally, wait at least 24 hours before moving on to the next step. Fibers should dry in their natural state to ensure the stretch is permanent.
Because it is free of harsh chemicals, baby shampoo is an excellent option for a wide range of fabrics. In general, this procedure can be applied to knits, woven cottons, and cotton blends of all kinds. Wool and other animal fibers are good candidates for this treatment.
- Fill a sink, basin, or bathtub with warm water and let it run.
- Depending on the size of your clothing, you may need to add one or two capfuls of baby shampoo.
- For 10 minutes, immerse the shrunk garments in this solution.
- Gently massage the fabric when you’ve finished soaking it. Kneading heavy, wet bread dough is a good analogy. To relax the fibers, make sure the baby shampoo penetrates all the way into the hair.
- Remove the garment from the solution and squeeze out as much water as possible. The article of clothing should be placed on a level surface and rolled up to drain excess water.
- Finally, lay the shirt or dress flat on the parchment paper pattern and gently drag it back into form..
- To keep the edging in place, use weights.
- Allow the item to air dry completely to remove any remaining moisture.
Woolen garments may necessitate a longer soak and additional kneading if you use this method to clean them. It takes a lot longer for these fibers to loosen up and expand again.
Vinegar and Baking Soda
The fibers in your clothes can also be relaxed by soaking them in baking soda and then rinsing them with vinegar. There are more stages in this method, but you may most likely find the ingredients for it in your pantry.
The baking soda and vinegar method, on the other hand, works well on natural textiles, such as cotton. Synthetics such as polyester and rayon are incompatible.
- Eight cups of boiling water should be dissolved with two tablespoons of baking soda in each cup. This should be stirred for a few minutes until you can no longer see the baking soda.
- It’s important to knead your garment gently to ensure that the baking soda is evenly distributed throughout the fabric.
- Press the extra water out of the wet garment without wringing it out. It’s important not to waste any water; you’ll need it again in a moment.
- Tighten the clothing by pulling on both sides using your hands. As an example, grab the collar and hem of a shirt and gently tug.
- Let it soak for an hour before removing it from the baking soda mixture.
- Next, prepare a solution by mixing one cup of distilled white vinegar with four cups of hot water.
- Incorporate the vinegar mixture into the baking soda soak. If you look closely, you’ll see the baking soda and vinegar react and create bubbles.
- Afterwards, let the clothing out to dry naturally in the sun.
To get rid of the vinegar scent, wash your clothes as usual following this method.
Unshrink wool sweaters with a handheld steamer or use your iron’s steam setting to make minor alterations to cotton and knit textiles. As a back-up plan for when things go wrong while you’re away, this could come in handy!
The baby shampoo soak, on the other hand, is a more comprehensive method for reshaping most items, including shirts and dresses.
- To begin, hang your wool sweater on a shower curtain rod or similar place where you’ll have plenty of room to work.
- Once you’ve turned on your steamer, wait for it to heat up to the point where steam comes out of its nozzle (or set your iron to its steam setting).
- For best results, proceed carefully and with care over each and every square inch of the clothing, avoiding getting your nozzle too close.
- While the garment is still warm and somewhat damp from the steam, gently pull it in all directions.
- Your sweater should return to its normal shape as many times as necessary!
- Allow the sweater to air dry before storing it. Next, put it on and check if you’ve been able to restore its original form!
If you’ve noticed that all of your jeans are now too tiny, you might want to give this simple solution a try!
A waistline extender, a specialized gadget, is inexpensively available on Amazon. Although a ratcheting bar clamp can be used to create your own, the ones available for purchase online are inexpensive and might save you a lot of money in the long run!
- For starters, use a spray bottle to liberally coat the inside of your jeans’, dress trousers’, or skirt’s waistline. The waistband can also be soaked in a bowl of water for a few seconds. The most important thing is to fully wet the waistband, which may be accomplished with either warm or cold water.
- Afterwards, screw the extension piece of the waistband extender out to the appropriate length. As you progress, the waistband should become more and more elongated. You’ll need a lot of elbow grease for jeans!
- Last but not least, let your pants or skirt air dry for at least one night, if not longer.
- Check the waistband of your jeans by unscrewing the extender and putting them on!
Baby shampoo or baking soda and vinegar work well as an extension of any soaking process.
Simply follow the instructions in this article for the soak.
Afterwards, you can either lay out a bath towel and use small weights to hold down the borders of your shirt in the correct shape, or hang up the garment while wet so that it can be pulled longer by the weight of the water.
If you need to lengthen pants, a skirt, or a dress, this is a great option!
This approach can also be used on synthetics like polyester, which do not stretch easily.
Dry cleaners may employ a process known as blocking to get professional-looking results while altering a garment. If you’ve ever wondered how to finish a knitted object, you’re not alone!
Wool sweaters and knit shirts are ideal for this method. Special tools, such as a blocking mat that displays measurements, are required if you want to properly resize your sweaters and shirts.
- Allow 15 minutes of soaking time for the clothing.
- In order to avoid warping the fabric, you should not wring out wool or knit garments! Instead, rub the cloth between your hands to extract moisture. To eliminate any remaining moisture, wrap the object in a bath towel and squeeze out any air bubbles.
- Stabilize any sharp edges with blocking wires inserted along the seams.
- Your wool or knit item should be placed on a blocking mat and then laid out on the mat to be blocked.
- Push the pins carefully into the mat underneath the clothing, spacing them about an inch apart along the inside of the wire. When you’re done sewing, you should have all of the outside edges of the garment pinned down.
- Remove the wire and use pins to hold the cloth to the mat if the edge is less sharp or curved, such as a collar.
- Dry the knit garment entirely on the blocking mat.
Finally, instead of soaking the knit cloth, you can use a steamer to stretch it while you work.
How to Stretch Out a Hoodie
The conditioner soak mentioned in this article is the simplest method for stretching out a shrunken sweatshirt.
After the soak, squeeze the water out of the hoodie. To avoid twisting the hoodie into an unnatural form, don’t squeeze it!
Cotton is more susceptible to shrinkage in the washing machine and dryer than many other materials, which means that your cotton hoodies may shrink a few sizes.
The good news is that you can simply extend a hoodie by three inches by soaking fabric in conditioner first.
Once the hoodie has been soaked, simply place it on a bath towel on a flat surface.
Spread it out evenly on the towel.
In order to extend that region, grab both ends on either side of it. It’s possible to get a looser fit by firmly gripping the armpit area on both the left and right sides of the sweatshirt.
Use weights to keep the hoodie flat as it cures entirely for the best results.
How to Stretch a Dress to Make it Longer
Any of the seven ways outlined here can be used to make a dress longer. It is far easier to lengthen sleeves or the hem of a garment than it is to reshape fitted sections like the waist and bust.
Before you begin, make sure you measure everything so you’ll know exactly how much to stretch the dress’s skirt. You shouldn’t anticipate to add more than two inches to the length of a dress while altering it.
Keep a tape measure on available to measure the length of the sleeves as you work on them if you wish them longer. Do not overstretch the cloth and have the cuffs fall down on your hands!
How to Stretch a Jacket
A cold water soak followed by the weighted stretching method will often extend a jacket by a size or two, depending on the type of cloth it is made of.
Denim jackets are a good choice for this look. If the jacket is made of cotton, it should be able to stretch.
If your jacket is made of leather, velvet, or wool. You’ll have a harder time rearranging it this time.
Consider hiring a professional to take care of your coats and jackets. It takes a lot of time and effort to reconfigure these garments without accidently twisting or warping the fabric.
Professionals can precisely reconfigure these complicated components by using blocking mats and other instruments and measuring everything to the nearest tenth of an inch.
In addition, many coats and jackets today are made of a particular waterproof or synthetic material that does not stretch as much as the traditional materials used to do.
How to Stretch Fabric
Stretching fabric can be made easier if you are familiar with the properties of a few common types of textiles. Cotton, for example, is water-resistant and remarkably elastic. Stretching synthetics like polyester typically necessitates heat.
Despite the fact that polyester fibers don’t stretch, the architecture of most polyester material allows you to stretch garments. The stretchiness of polyester knits is particularly appealing.
Soaking a polyester blouse, dress, or sweater in hot water will easily reconfigure it. Before you put it on, try to wring out the majority of the water. To get a better fit, wear it for as long as you can before you wash it!
You can also make advantage of the blocking and weights techniques that were previously discussed. The polyester item should be soaked in warm or hot water first.
The super-absorbent fibers of Cotton, on the other hand, quickly shrink or expand in reaction to heat and moisture. Cotton is prone to shrinkage when washed, thus this is a drawback. The good news is that it’s easy to reshape!
Silk and wool, both of which are made from animal fibers, must be handled with care. Wool can be reshaped by blocking it. Silk is quite difficult to stretch.
Be sure to read the label on the inside of your garments to see what kind of fabric you’re working with before attempting any stretching techniques.
Tips to Avoid Shrinking Clothes
The greatest strategy to avoid shrinking your garments in the first place is, of course, to avoid shrinking them at all! Use these suggestions to take care of your clothes and save yourself a lot of time and trouble.
- When running your laundry through the machine, choose for cold water. You can also save money by using this tip!
- Delicate goods like a dress shirt or skirt can be hand washed if you have the time and patience.
- Handwash delicate things like a vintage t-shirt or underwear, if you can’t use the “delicates” preset on your washing machine.
- Use your washer and dryer’s permanent press setting for synthetics.
- Dry cotton things by hanging them up to air dry if at all possible.
- The dry cleaners are your best bet if it says “dry clean.” Special care is required for wool and cashmere.
The vast majority of the time, you can go up or down a size in your clothing. At-home methods like soaking in fabric softener or utilizing a blocking mat and measuring every centimeter of your shirt or dress precisely as you pin it in place are both viable options.
You can relax and form the threads inside the material by wetting your garments and then applying gentle pressure such as pulling in opposing directions or by using heavy objects. Before you begin, check to determine if your clothing is composed of a material that reacts differently to bleaching.
Have you ever shrunk a clothing in the washing machine by mistake? How did you manage to get it back? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!