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How to Shrink Jeans

Category Repairing
If your jeans are a bit too big you may be able to shrink them for a better fit. This is a guide about intentionally shrinking jeans.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
October 14, 2010

How do I shrink a few pair of really cute jeans following a 20lb weight lost?

By ryanrenee from Merced, CA


October 16, 20100 found this helpful

I think you should get them altered by a seamstress. That is a pretty large amount to shrink something. And shrinking is not a process you can control. They are more likely to shrink in length and not around the waist.

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October 16, 20100 found this helpful

Jeans usually shrink in length and very little in the waistband. The waist band has to be removed and cut down and so do the jeans. You would be cheaper off buying new cute jeans.

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October 16, 20100 found this helpful

The shrinkage usually is within the first couple wash and drys. Congrats on the weight loss. Don't know of anything professional outside out sewing them smaller. Which is a pain and could cost you as much as the average pair of pants.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 14, 20100 found this helpful

Hi everybody! I bought a pair of adorable dark denim capris on eBay and got and tried them on today. Only one problem. The tag says 3, but they are 3 inches too big around the waist for me. Is there any way I can shrink them? I do it unintentionally all the time, but hell if I know how when I want to. Thanks for you help. Love you all, no kidding.


Suzanne S.


Intentionally Shrinking Jeans

Three inches is a lot to shrink. First I'd try returning them. If you can't, use very hot water and add 1/2 C ammonia to keep the color from bleeding out. Then hot dryer and see how much it brings them down. You might get lucky. Good luck! (02/23/2005)

By klucretia

Intentionally Shrinking Jeans

When I was a kid, my sister liked her Levis form fitting. The first thing she did when she put a new pair on was go jump in the river. Then, she would wear them until they dried. Viola! She had a pair if perfect fitting jeans. No joke! A bathtub full of warm water would probably work just as well, if you don't have a river handy. Be more comfortable, too. (02/24/2005)

By Bert in OR

Intentionally Shrinking Jeans

Just wash them in hot water and put them in the dryer until they are completely dry. You may need to try it a second time, I have had them shrink a bit more on the


second pass. (05/16/2005)

By Zahn

Intentionally Shrinking Jeans

Denim is having max 3.5% residual shrinkage before wash. You have washed the garment, hence you cannot shrink it up to 3 inches, so your only option is to go to a tailor.

Don't wash and use any chemical, it will lose the shade and luster. (02/08/2007)

By sirajuddin

Intentionally Shrinking Jeans

Washing jeans in hot water doesn't shrink them, according to Wrangler, but drying them in a hot dryer does. The hotter it is and the longer you leave them in, the more they'll shrink. (07/14/2007)

By Rachel

Intentionally Shrinking Jeans

I work at the Levi's store and we actually tell people to sit in a bath of hot water (as hot as you can get it without burning you) for about a half hour, longer if you can handle it. Afterwards, lay them to dry, this is supposed to make your jeans custom fit to your body. The booklets that come along with our vintage jeans also describe this method as well. (04/15/2008)


By Anna

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