Petite & Minimal

How To Shrink Jeans

April 24th, 2016 | 2 minutes to read

For a long time, I have been trying to buy kids clothes, as they're almost the only things that fit me well, when it comes to length. Unfortunately as I got older those bright colors and cute designs don't suit me so well. In recent years, there are quite some brands having petite sizes available, however, they're mostly online. In real stores, XS, EU 32 and 34 with regular length are probably the smallest sizes I could find.

how to shrink jeans Photo by Ting on Unsplash

My recent adventure in jeans searching was at GAP store. I tried a pair of size 25 Always Skinny jeans, and it seemed to fit well (except too long) when I tried it at the store. I thought it would be even smaller after I wash it. However, the opposite thing happened, it actually became looser than I wanted it to be. When I emailed GAP customer service, they explained that the “stretch” type might end up being like that. They were kind enough to offer an exchange, even it's been washed, but the store never fulfilled the request by contacting me. I tried to wear it with a belt as the waist part was a bit too loose now, so overall it felt a bit baggy and I wondered if I could further shrink it to fit me better.

my GAP jeans doesn't fit me

Here was what I have been doing this weekend:

Washer and dryer on high method:

I tried washing the jeans at 95°C regularly then tumbler dried it on high for 45 minutes. Result: The inseam definitely shrunk more, the leg part and waist were all tighter now, but not to the idealist size that fit me well yet.

I read that washer dryer procedures need to be repeated several times for it to finally shrink more, so I decided to give the boiling dryer method a try.

Boiling your jeans

Boiling dryer method:

boil a pot of water, and immerse your jeans completely while keeping it boiling. Boil for 20 mins while using a spatula to keep your jeans under the water surface. After that, tumbler dry on high until it dries. Result: the waist was still slightly big, but tighter than first result. The butt and leg part fit more tightly and accurately now. Although the calf part of the jeans ended at wider part on me so it's not skinny pants, and I still need to have it cuffed or hemmed, it's overall much better than its baggy condition.

After the above two methods (done continuously) the jeans' measurements are compared as below:

Material: 98% cotton 2% elastane

  • Waist 72 cm ---> 72 cm
  • butt 83 cm ---> 79 cm
  • front rise 20 cm ---> 19.5 cm
  • back rise 32.5 cm ---> 30 cm
  • inseam 76.5 cm ---> 74 cm
  • outside leg 97 cm ---> 94 cm
  • leg opening 52 cm ---> 45 cm

The before and after of shrinking jeans

So if you want to try shrinking your jeans which is slight bigger or stretched than you desired, I recommend trying the first method first, and proceed further if not satisfied yet, otherwise you might end up with jeans being too small to fit you. But do remember that after shrinking the material will no longer feel like before, some design or details might be missing or even go awry during the process, after all, it's not made to be tortured like this, lol.