How do You Stretch Clothes That Are Too Small? (8 Easy Tips)

It's a common problem, we have all been there. A shirt, dress, or other clothing item gets accidentally shrunk and does not fit anymore. And as luck will have it, it's your favorite one. It's a good thing that fabrics can be stretched from time to time.

How do you stretch clothes that are too small? One way to do this is to soak a dress, etc., in 4 cups of water mixed with unscented, dye-free baby shampoo. Let it soak for an hour then remove it from your tub or bucket and wring out the excess. After that, gently stretch the sleeves, waist and so on till you have the length you want.

To learn more about stretching too small clothes just continue to read our article. It is filled with the information and tips you want to know about. These tips can save you money over the long run.

Tip 1: The simplest and fastest way to stretch clothes that are too small is to dampen them and pull them over a chair a few times.

Tip 2: Weigh down the dress, shirt or blouse, etc., with heavyweights that way the clothes won’t move when you gently stretch them.

How to Stretch Small Clothes


The act of stretching your clothes is not really an act of stretching but returning your clothes to the size they were when you bought them. For example, if your favorite pair of jeans got shrunk accidentally, you are simply getting them back to their normal size through stretching the fabric.

The way to do that is to put the jeans on as best as you can. Then fill a tub full of water and sit in the tub for about 15 minutes. After that, get out and remove any excess water.

Wear the jeans for an hour doing your normal daily routine, making sure to bend crouch and so on. This should stretch the denim back to where they will fit you comfortably. Hang dry once you are finished doing all of that.

Tip 3: Soak wool and cashmere in warm water and put in about 2 tablespoons of vinegar per quart of water used. Work the mixture into your clothes, then wring out the excess. Place towels inside to bring the garments to normal size and shake and stretch. Hang to dry when done.

How to Stretch a Dress to Make it Wider


One trick is to fill your washing machine with cold water but don't let it start the wash cycle. Place your dress inside and let it soak for 24 hours. If the dress has not stretched far enough, repeat the process.

Avoid using the spin cycle. You can do this for up to about a week. Once the week is up your clothes will not stretch any further. While still soaking wet, hang them outside and let the weight of the water stretch the dress further.

Let them dry for a few days and when they are, you should have expanded them another size up. This is the natural way of stretching your clothes. It preserves the integrity of the fibers and the fabric letting them be worn for a long time afterward. (Related: how to fix a dress that is too small in the bust)

Tip 4: Tightly woven linen will not stretch much at all and you should check your clothes every 24 hours so that they do not overstretch.

How to Stretch Out a Wedding Dress


Before going into the process of how to stretch a wedding dress, there is something important you should know about if you haven’t learned it already. Not all wedding dress materials will stretch.

Here is a list of fabrics used in making a wedding dress that will not stretch- Silk, Charmeuse, Netting, English netting, Silk Taffeta, Organza, Georgette, Rayon, Organdy, 100% cotton, and Satin silk.

The wedding dress fabrics that will stretch are Satin polyester, Faille, Cotton polyester blend, Chiffon, Stretch lace, Gabardine, Stretch duchess satin, Tulle, Stretch Taffeta, Velvet, Shear sucker fabric, Polyester, and Jersey.

The best advice that can be given is if your wedding dress is made from stretchable material is to follow the instructions for the fabric it is made from. Just do not use a chair as that may ruin the overall look of the dress as well as the fabric.

Tip 5: If you are using the washer method to stretch your clothes, use an alarm or some sort of note or another reminder. If you forget about the dress, etc., it may overstretch on you and be ruined. Don’t forget what you are doing.

Stretch Small Shirt to Medium


This task will take a few extra moments of your time as it all has to be done by hand and one section at a time. The first step is to wash the shirt but don't dry it. While it is still wet, hang it on a sturdy hanger and get ready to pull.

The second step is to start with the bottom of the shirt and choose one of the 3 sides to begin with. Pull that side down gently, then pull on the next side and finally pull on the last side. You can go front side back or back side front. It doesn’t matter. Just make sure to pull gently each time.

To stretch the width, pull on both sides at the same time. Start at the top and work your way down till you reach the bottom. You may have to repeat both processes several times to get the shirt where you want it.

For the sleeves, you want to use a chair. Stretch each sleeve, in the same manner, pulling gently and repeating if necessary. You can do all of these processes several times till you get the shirt where you want it to be.

After all of that, let the shirt dry. When it is dry, it should be one size larger.

Tip 6: You can stretch out rayon and other synthetic-fiber shirts and dresses etc. One method is to use steam and let the hot steam weaken the fibers so that they can be pulled back to their original size. The key is after wetting the rayon do not wring it out. Let the moisture remain.

How to Stretch Small Hoodies


All the different clothing items have a similar process to stretch them out. Fabric is fabric and there are only so many ways you can get them back to normal size.

In this case, you want to fill your sink up about half full and add a quarter of a cup of conditioner. Knead the hoodie in the water till it is soaked and the hair conditioner is in the fabric. Then let it sit soaking for about 20 minutes.

Drain the water mixture and rinse the hoodie till the conditioner is out. Let the hoodie sit in clean water for about 5 more minutes. Lay the hoodie on some towels, then grab the fabric near the neck and start going down one seam.

Once one side is done, do the other side. Making sure to stretch the fabric as you go. You can repeat this process if you want to. Then when you are finished, let the hoodie air dry.

A second method would be to wash the hoodie as described above. Wring out the excess water and then take your iron and put it on the cotton setting. Start at the top and stretch as you iron.

The only thing you really have to watch out for is that you do not stretch your armholes. After you get to the bottom, you can stretch all you want.

Tip 7: If you have access to a mannequin you can follow the soaking procedures listed above and instead of you stretching it, place the hoodie over the mannequin. Let the hoodie air dry and if not fully stretched simply repeat the process.

Stretch Small Jeans


One of the first processes we wrote about here dealt with making your jeans bigger. But that process did not address lengthening the legs. It is a bit different process and it is as follows:

Start with a spot that is located below or at the knees. This is the easiest place to stretch the length. Spray the part you want to be stretched and get them fairly wet. You do not want drips so do not over soak that spot.

Stand on the dry part of your jeans and pull the wet part away from the floor. Use both hands and you will be pulling straight up basically. Do this roughly 10 times then measure the length.

If you have the length you want, then you are good to go. If not, do the process all over again until you are satisfied. After measuring don’t forget to try the jeans on to make sure they are at the right length.

Tip 8: Baby shampoo and hair conditioner are great lotions to use to unshrink your clothes but if those are too expensive you can try white vinegar and hair creme mixed; baking soda and vinegar mixture; or fabric softener.

Stretch Small Socks


Socks can be difficult to stretch as certain areas of your socks are not designed to stretch very far. If you go too far you can ruin your socks. These areas are at your heel and toes as well as the ankle portion of the sock.

The best way to stretch socks is to take an object about the size of your foot and ankle and place your socks over it. Leave them on the object overnight and check in the morning to see if they stretched at all.

Or you can leave it for several days checking each day to see if they will fit again. The one thing you have to watch out for is that you do not break the elastic in the ankle top.

Once you do that, your socks won't stay up any longer and you will be annoyed at how many times they will fall on you.

Stretch Too Small Shoes

New shoes and old ones that have shrunk tend to hurt your feet. There are several ways to stretch them so your feet do not hurt and you can wear those shoes comfortably.

  • 1. Blow dryer & socks

Put on a couple of pairs of thick socks and turn on your blow dryer. Use high heat and move the blow dryer around so you do not harm your shoes by overheating them. Start with 30 seconds and repeat until your feet feel comfortable.

  • 2. Freezer & water

Fill a Ziploc bag about 1/3 full of water. Seal it up making sure there are no holes and then put the bag of water in your shoes. Next. Manipulate the bag till it conforms to the shape in and around your toe area.

Place in the freezer and let the water turn to ice. When that happens remove your shoes for about 20 minutes. Repeat till they fit comfortably.

  • 3. A shoe stretcher

When all else fails, a good shoe stretcher will handle the problem in no time at all. A good shoe stretcher will stretch the length and the width of your shoe. Once you take it out of the box, follow the instructions to make sure the procedure goes off correctly.

  • 4. Stop buying shoes that are too small. Get the right comfortable fit the first time and save yourself the hassle of stretching them.

Some Final Words

Stretching clothes is not a difficult nor complicated task. It can be a bit time consuming as you have to manually alter those clothing items that have shrunk in size.

The one thing about using a chair is that it is possible to damage the fabric fibers and ruining your shirt or dress, etc. Use that option carefully. Also, when it comes to wedding dresses make sure you know if the fabric you got it made in will stretch or not. If it doesn’t then you may need to add panels.

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