Does Velvet Shrink? (How to Shrink Velvet Dress or Shoes)

Tight, short clothing isn't all that they are cracked up to be. When clothing shrinks, you could be in a pickle as your clothing budget won’t allow you to replace those ruined items. You have to be careful as all fabrics do not shrink in the same manner.

Does velvet shrink? Velvet can shrink. Not all velvet types will shrink, but some do and if you buy the wrong item without looking at the cleaning label, your clothing can shrink on you. Before you buy, make sure to read the cleaning instructions as some velvet types are not machine washable. Some will have to be dry cleaned.

To learn more about caring for your velvet clothing and other items, just continue to read our article. it will give you the details on this topic. Those details help guide your clothes shopping and lets you find the perfect clothing items for your cleaning methods and budget.

Does Velvet Shrink?


It can if you wash and dry the material incorrectly. Hot water and dryer heat are not good for the velvet material and you need to be careful when setting the temperatures for those two cleaning details.

Then you have to be careful not to wash any velvet item that is labeled dry clean only. Some people say you can ignore that instruction, but they are not paying your clothing budget and not spending the time searching for velvet clothing replacements.

You wash dry clean only items at your own risk and while there can be some success, failure is more likely to happen. Most laundry tags are very straight forward and have easy to understand symbols on them.

When you see a red line through any symbol, it always means ‘do not do it.’ Even when driving you will see the same thing when the city doesn’t want you to drive down a particular street or park in a neighborhood that is full of cars.

Obeying those little red lines saves you from paying a penalty and in fashion, it simply protects you from ruining your clothing.

Can You Shrink Velvet?

If you are not careful, yes you can shrink velvet. Laundry time is not for the weak or those who are lazy. There is no one size fits all when it comes to cleaning fabrics. Each one and their many variations all have their little nuances that make laundry time a difficult time when you do not know what you are doing or do not know the fabric.

Velvet will shrink on you if you wash it in very hot water. It will also shrink on you when you use the dryer and put the temperature up high. Plus, the high dryer heat may ruin the texture of the velvet.

Fortunately, there are exceptions to this rule. Polyester and crushed velvet fabrics should be able to be washed without fear. Pure velvet should be able to withstand hand washing or the gentle cycle on your washer.

Generally, though, you should dry clean your velvet items to make sure they do not shrink on you. Dry cleaning is not a miracle cure for shrinkage but it certainly cuts that behavior down to a rare event. Wash velvet carefully as you will have no guarantees it won’t shrink on you.

Does Velvet Shrink in the Dryer?


The only time you should put any velvet item in your dryer is if you are purposefully trying to make the item smaller. Dryers and dryer heat not only help the material lose its size, but they can also ruin the nice texture velvet comes with.

If you can afford to wear velvet, then you should be able to afford the dry cleaning bill that comes with wearing this material. That is the best way to protect your expensive velvet items. Because velvet is made from different fibers, you should earn what fibers were used to make your velvet clothing, etc., and wash accordingly just to be on the safe side.

When the velvet material can be washed, you should hang dry the clean clothes only. Let them air dry at their own pace. This fabric is very difficult to clean and can be tricky. Each type of velvet has its own nuances in cleaning and getting dry.

Velvet is made from silk, cotton, polyester, microfiber, rayon, nylon, and many other fibers so you have to be very careful and not assume what works for one velvet type will work for them all.

Does Velvet Shrink in the Wash?

That is the case for most velvet types. The majority of velvet fabric options are said to be dry clean only and you should listen to that instruction. Very few velvet fabrics can be washed in your washing machine and even fewer can handle hand washing.

Velvet is said to be a tricky and difficult material to get clean. that is because the properties of each velvet style are different. Even though cotton velvet is rare these days, it is not cleaned in the same manner as silk velvet, and on it goes.

Stretch velvet may be able to be washed as it is made from spandex and polyester fibers. But you would have to use cold to lukewarm water to do that chore. Hot water should ruin the material and make it unusable.

The care label, and we cannot stress this enough, will guide you in how to launder your velvet items. If you have money to burn, go ahead and wash dry clean only velvet and see what happens. If nothing happens then good for you. You missed the bullet. It is not recommended that you wash dry clean only clothing.

Does Stretch Velvet Shrink?


Stretch velvet is made from a blend of polyester and spandex. Both materials were created to resist shrinking. Also, if your velvet is made from nylon, it should not shrink either. Stretch velvet is designed to stretch when you stretch and you can get up to 50% more reach wearing that type of velvet clothing.

That is why this material is usually reserved for body-hugging clothing. When you move, it moves and that is the way stretchy velvet should work. When you are working out and you want something soft and comfortable next to your skin, as well as being able to stretch, go with stretch velvet.

It is soft, comfortable, and makes sure you can do those yoga poses or Pilates with ease. But many people stay away from stretch velvet or other velvet materials when they are making their own clothes. That is because velvet is like a temperamental actress-- moody and very hard to work with.

Special care needs to be taken when sewing with stretch velvet and it is better if you just buy it off the rack and follow the cleaning instructions to avoid problems.

Does Crushed Velvet Shrink?

Anything is possible and if you use hot water there may be some shrinkage seen in crushed velvet. When going to clean crushed velvet, you can hand or machine wash the fabric. Just keep the machine on a gentle cycle and keep the water temperature to a very low level.

You may find that the water temperature is a bit of a trial and error process but cold is usually a guarantee that clothing will not shrink when washed in it. Hang dry the crushed velvet. Avoid the dryer at all costs and make sure you are not in a rush to wear the item as it may take a while for it to become dry.

In cleaning any velvet material there are things you should not do:

  • Apply pressure when wet
  • Hang in a low ventilated area when not wearing it
  • Blot spills- instead shake the moisture out and then air dry iron
  • Use the dryer to get wrinkles out- use steam instead
  • Let the velvet remain dirty after wearing- clean it asap

Velvet’s reputation is not a nice one and you will have difficulty keeping the material in shape and looking like it should. With patience and a little caution, you should do okay and preserve the original size of your velvet clothing.

Velvet Fabric Shrinkage


This is not easy to say as each velvet fabric has its own properties and its own shrink rate. You should find that silk. cotton and other natural fibers used in making cotton will shrink more if washed wrong.

The synthetic fibers used in making their version of velvet usually resist shrinking so you should see less shrinkage in those versions of this fabric. But like other materials in the fashion world, there is always someone who will say the opposite of what is the norm.

Velvet’s difficult reputation is well earned yet there are still those who claim otherwise. The different velvet fabrics all have their own difficulties and the one used for upholstery may be easier to work with and clean than the material used for clothing.

Some upholstery material may be stain resistant coated to make sure you can easily wipe up the mess and continue to use the chair without doing a lot of cleaning or worrying about the material shrinking.

The amount velvet will shrink on you will depend on how it is made, the fibers used to create the fabric, and the purpose of the material. Don’t expect hot water and hot dryer temperatures to be gentle on your velvet items.

How to Shrink Velvet Dress or Shirt

This is not something that is highly recommended you do. There are too many risks involved and if you need to make velvet clothing smaller, the best option is to go out and buy the same item in a smaller size.

Then velvet may not shrink if it is made from synthetic fibers. Some shirts will shrink up to 20% if ft soaking in hot water for a long time but those shirts were not made from velvet. You could ruin the texture of the material by using heat to shrink velvet. If that happens, then you are going to go out and buy a replacement shirt or dress.

With all of that said, using hot water or a high dryer heat should ensure that your velvet material shrinks. Just keep in mind there is no control knob on any fabric when trying to shrink it. You can try to control the shrinkage better by using your iron but you run the risk of ruining the pile or the nap of the fabric. Velvet is tricky to shrink despite what some people say.

How to Shrink Velvet Shoes


Because velvet can be tricky there are non-risky ways to shrink your velvet shoes and not ruin them. They are more practical ways that do not take up a lot of time or spend a lot of energy doing. We are not being snippy here when we make these suggestions. They are just the best way to shrink shoes and maintain their integrity & look.

First, just put on a thick pair of socks. Heavier and thicker socks should provide you with the extra volume you need to get a better fit. Second, put a little cushion at the heel if your shoes are a little too long.

Third, place a cushion on the ball of the foot area of the front of the shoe. Your toes should thank you for the stability and nice fit. Fourth, add an extra insole to boost your foot up if the height of the shoe is too large to tighten down with laces or buckles.

Some Final Words

Velvet is unique as it is made from a variety of fibers all with their own personality and characteristics. Protecting that material from shrinkage is vital if you want the velvet clothing or shoes to last you. Make sure to follow the cleaning label to ensure you do not make a mistake and shrink your clothing.

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