How to Shrink a Sweater
Posted: Dec 29 2016
So you got a new sweater for Christmas but unfortunately, it doesn't fit. The person who gifted it to you did not include a gift receipt and you don't want to go through the hassle of taking it to the store and asking for a size change. Not to worry! You'll be happy to hear that it is possible to manually shrink it down in size.
The whole concept of shrinking a sweater is to shorten the fabric to either make it smaller than its original size, or to restore it to its original shape. If your sweater is made from wool, rest assured that it will never truly hold its original shape, no matter the quality of the garment. The first thing you'll always want to do is to read the washing instructions when it comes to wool garments. Throwing your sweater into the wash with heat will change its shape. Always read the instructions carefully.
How to Shrink a Wool Sweater
The best way to shrink your wool sweater is by washing them with hot water. Hot temperatures have a shrinking effect on materials such as wool so it will be very effective. This is due to the fact that heat adds pressure to your garments which make the fibres tighten up. Make sure that you only run it on a short cycle to avoid over shrinking it. Although with most garments you'll always want to air dry, skip this step and throw it into the dryer on low heat to induce more shrinking. Make sure to frequently check on the garment during the drying process to avoid shrinking it excessively.
How to Shrink Cotton & Other Types of Fabric
Just like shrinking wool, the best way to shrink fabrics such as cotton or polyester is by washing them with hot temperatures. For these types of fabrics, turn up the heat all the way because it may require extra heat to change the structure of these fabrics. Cotton and polyester shrink best when heat, water, and movement are combined, so in order to reshape it correctly, focus on the washing cycle. Again, air drying is not recommended as it will not help shrink the garment.
Polyester is slightly more stubborn than wool and cotton when it comes to shrinking, so you may need to repeat the steps until satisfied. Don't be worried about damaging a polyester sweater by washing it too much, since the synthetic and can withstand multiple washes.
Image via Pinterest
Shrinking by Hand
If you don't want to risk ruining your brand new sweater by throwing it into the wash right away, consider giving it a shot by hand. Place your sweater into hot water and remove when it's completely wet. Squeeze the sweater until all of the excess water is gone. Once it is a little bit more dry. start re-shaping parts that are too loose. After you've reshaped it with your hands, leave it to dry on its own. Do not hang dry as this will result in the sweater to stretch and become bumpy. Put it down on a dry towel and let it sit untouched. You may need to repeat this process multiple times until satisfied.
This strategy is also great if you only need to shrink certain areas of your garment. Are the sleeves perfect but the body runs too long? Not to worry. Use the above method to only focus on that area of the sweater.
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