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Shrinking A T-Shirt To Fit Your Body Size

Have you ever chanced upon a top at your local thrift spot or department store that’s visibly more oversized than you can fit, yet too divine not to buy? Good news – you don’t have to pass these up anymore once you learn how to shrink t-shirts at home. All it costs to get the garment to look tailored to you is just a bit of extra laundry.

Before You Shrink a T-Shirt

The first step before preparing everything you need would be to check its tag to know what materials were used in creating the top.

Materials that shrink easier than others include natural fibers like satin, linen, and cotton, whereas synthetics like polyester and nylon are so tightly woven, meaning they constrict less. Thus, if you’re considering shrinking a shirt yourself, note that not all fabrics will yield the same results.

For vintage, printed, or delicate fabrics, do turn them inside out to minimize any damage done.

3 Methods to Shrink T-Shirts

Shrinkage occurs when a combination of heat and moisture activates the cotton fibers in the fabric and makes them susceptible to changes in shape as the garment is agitated in the washer or dryer.

There are a couple of effective methods for shrinking a t-shirt, and the first is by heating a pot of water to a boil, then shutting off the stove and immediately dropping your t-shirt into it. Five minutes would do the job, but for a more serious degree of shrinkage, leave it in for up to 20 minutes, wring it, then let it dry.

Similar to the first method, you could also choose to use a washing machine, but set it to the hottest setting temperature and place the t-shirt inside. This gives the same effect as dropping it in boiling water but is achievable while you’re taking a nap.

The third method can be done alone if you’re pressed for time, or as a follow-up to either of the aforementioned methods. Note that this alone may not be as effective as using hot water first. Place your t-shirt in your tumble dryer and ensure its setting is switched to high heat, or it will not yield the expected results.

Additional Tips for Shrinking T-Shirts

If the results require a little more shrinkage, ironing the t-shirt with a steam iron will contribute to the shrinking process. Alternatively, repeat your preferred method as many times as you need to achieve the desired results.

The longer the shirt is left in the water, the further it will shrink, but obviously, there's a limit to this magic. Most shirts will only shrink up to a maximum of 20% in size. So shrink with caution, and try on your top between rounds to ensure it’s not shrinking too much.

Why Choose You Apparel?

It is important to note that these mentioned processes of shrinking cannot convert an extra-large shirt to a medium or small. If the garment you’re looking to shrink is significantly larger than desired, your best bet might be to get it professionally altered or simply get a new expressive t-shirt.

At You Apparel, we create shirts with you in mind, allowing for everyone to feel comfortable as themselves. If you have any inquiries about our products, don’t hesitate to contact us today.

October 22, 2021 — Alex Melen