How to Shrink Jeans So They Fit Like a Glove…

The best thing about denim with spandex or elastic built in is all that stretch. The worst thing is the tendency it has to stay stretched, which results in baggy knees, saggy bums and ill-fitting waistlines. All denim is subject to wear and tear over time, which explains why your skinny jeans and boyfriend jeans tend to fit and feel different a few years after you bought them.

But there’s still hope for them.

We’ve had great success in bringing back life to denim that’s stretched out with regular wear and tear–and today we’re sharing our top 3 tricks for how to shrink jeans so they fit like a glove. Here are 6 ways to do it, depending on the type of jeans you have:

Stretch-denim jeans.
If your jeans are made from stretchy material, then you’ll need to avoid the dryer altogether. Stylist Mary Piering explains, “Anything with spandex in it is going to shrink in way that 90 percent of women wouldn’t want. The waistband will suck in and the pants will become too short.” While this is not an ideal solution for everyone, it’s still a good place to start. (Also, no detergent. You will still need to use a very small amount of muscle stick or glue to hold it together, but you can skip the dryer.

You can also simply take the jeans off the dryer while they’re still warm and let them sit for about 15 minutes. That should help get them back into their normal shape. Try on the jeans with clean socks–their weight will help keep them from stretching out too much if they’re too tight.

Jeans with metal rings.
If you’re trying to shrink skinny jeans with metal rings in the belt loops, you’ll need to stretch the fabric while it’s still warm and use a bit of muscle stick or glue to hold it together. This will give you a little more control than throwing them in the dryer alone.

Jeans without metal rings.
If your jeans don’t have metal rings, you can still use a combination of warm water and a tiny bit of detergent to get them shrunk. The key here is to not put them in the dryer, which will over-stretch the fabric and cause it to wear out that much quicker.

Flare jeans and bootcut jeans.
Denim with more give is easier to shrink than stiffer denim, but even some stretch denim can be too delicate for the dryer. If you’re worried that your jeans will get too stretched out, try out this trick. Get a measuring tape and take measurements while wearing the jeans. You can either use a loose belt or place rubber bands around your waist to hold them in place.

Then put the jeans in the water with detergent for about 20 minutes, without any agitation. Then gently take them out of the water, hang them up and let them dry at room temperature. This time you can put them in the dryer for 10 minutes, which will not only shorten their life, but also do more damage to your jeans.

Jeans with elastic in the waistband.
As with the other types of jeans, keeping them at room temperature instead of in the dryer can help avoid stretching out too much. But if you really want to shrink them back down, you can try on the jeans with a belt and add rubber bands or small weights (like socks) to keep them on.

Jeans with a hem that can’t be removed.
Every once in a while we run into the ultimate frustration: the pants we love that just don’t fit anymore! If your jeans have torn hems and can’t be removed, it’s time for extreme measures: cut off the bottom of your jeans. It’s a pretty ugly look, but that’s the price you pay to get your jeans to fit again.

No-sew Option

Of course, if you’re not ready to make yourself the Worst Dressed Woman of All Time by cutting up your favorite jeans, there are other options for getting jeans back into shape. The most obvious one is to use an edging technique. Here are 6 techniques for doing it right:

Rolled Hem Edging Technique.
For a rolled hem, you’re basically creating a fabric tube around your jeans. This will shrink the fabric more than if you simply let it dry out naturally. You can do this with or without glue or tape, depending on how much time and effort you want to put into it. With glue (or more technically, with an iron on hemming adhesive), the jeans will hold their shape better and longer, but if you don’t have access to those materials, tape works just as well.

Folding Edging Technique.
This is another edge that you’re basically creating a tube around your pants, but it’s even easier than the rolled hem. You just fold both sides of the bottom seam over on itself and fold the top down so there’s no raw edge showing. Center your folded edge right on top of the raw edge, and press it in place with an iron.

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