How to Shrink Jeans without Washing (5 Expert Tips)

It doesn’t come as a surprise that the jeans in your closet do not all fit you the same way. Some may be form-fitting in the lower legs but the waist and thigh area has an allowance larger than you would fancy. Others might be the other way round: the waist may fit your belly perfectly but the lower legs are flared in a way that you don’t like.

Why do jeans become loose?

You may have lost a couple of pounds in recent weeks, making some of your clothes become a bit oversize on your belly, hips, thighs, or anywhere else. The denim fabric structure also loses its tightness the longer it is worn and washed.

These are some of the reasons why your pair of jean pants may need shrinking, but don’t give it away yet.

There are different ways on how to shrink jeans without washing and we’re going to look at these tips.

How to Make Jeans Waist Smaller Without Sewing

1. How to shrink jeans without fading– boil the jeans in a pot of water

Your jean pants, shorts, skirts, and jackets, are typically woven from yarns of 100% cotton. But modern manufacturers do blend a little polyester or spandex into the fabric to make it stretchable and comfortable. When the polyester or spandex fabric is subjected to boiling water for at least half an hour, it can shrink slightly but firmly, letting your garment become tighter.

However, note that both Polyester and Spandex have a temperature limit beyond which they would melt or permanently lose their elasticity. Spandex will melt at 240˚C (464˚F), although it will still get damaged when exposed for 30 minutes to a temperature as low as 180˚C (356˚F). Polyesters have a melting temperature of between 250˚C(482˚F) and 265˚C(509˚F), although the fabric will be destroyed at heat temperature much lower than 482˚F.

The point is that you should only boil your denim in a typical cooking pot where the temperature of the boiling water cannot exceed 212˚F, and not in high-temperature water heaters where the temperature can reach 600˚F.

How to shrink jeans without washing them

Bring three-quarter full water to boil in a large stainless steel cooking pot in which your jean garment can fit.

Immerse the jeans into the pot depending on which part you want to shrink. If you want to shrink the whole pants, then immerse it all and if you want to shrink just one part such as the waist, then immerse that part only and find a way to support the rest of the garment outside the pot. Cover the pot and let the denim simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the jeans from the pot, drain the pot, and tumble dry the jeans with the clothes dryer set to high heat. You can also iron the garment for faster drying, or else dry it out in the sun.

Try putting on the jeans and you’ll feel them fitting you better than they were previously.

And by the way, the absence of detergents in the boiling water ensures that the denim pants don’t bleed.

2. Bathing in your jeans

This method requires you to take a hot bath while wearing your jeans so that it molds itself to your body shape.

Sounds weird but it works awesomely.

But take it easy.

You don’t need to burn yourself in boiling water. Simply fill your bathtub with the warmest water you can handle, put on your jeans and sit submerged in the tub until the water cools down. Once the bathwater is cool, get out of it and step on a mat until your pants have stopped dripping.

If the weather is warm, walk around or get active until your wet pair of jeans dry up. This should not take more than 30 minutes because your body heat can dry a garment faster than hang drying it. However, you shouldn’t do this in cold weather. Instead, you should gently take off your pants and place them in the dryer set to high heat.

The previously loose areas of your denim pants will now become closer fitting so that the whole outfit fits you like a hand in a glove.

3. How to shrink jeans without a dryer– Ironing your jeans

You can use a hot iron to shrink the whole pants or to target specific areas that need to contract.

Boil your jeans in a pot of water for 30 minutes. Use a potholder, oven glove, or kitchen tongs to remove the garment from the pot and hold it for a few minutes until it stops dripping.

Use an iron or heat press set to the highest heat to press the whole garment or your target areas and it will shrink into size.

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4. Layering underneath your jeans

In the cold months of November through February, you can make your jeans snugger by wearing leggings under them. The thicker fabric of leggings as compared to tights will make your jeans fit you and most people won’t even notice that you appear fuller because you might still have to wear long cardigans to keep warm.

But you shouldn’t try layering during summer, as the heat will simply be torturous.

No Nonsense Women's Seamless Legging. One of the best leggings to wear under jeans

How to Make Your Jeans Tighter by Sewing

5. Sewing your jeans

If you know how to sew and you can access a sewing machine, then you can make a figure-fitting garment out of your loose jeans in a trice.

If the legs are loose or flared, I find it smart to first take the leg measurements of another pant that fits me awesomely. Then I use these measurements to measure what I’ll need to deduct along the inseam of the baggy or loose pair of jeans.

From here you just need to turn your loose pants inside out, tear the old inseam, and sew a new form-fitting seam.

If your problem area is the waist only, you’ll need to sew a piece of elastic band into the inside back of the waistband and you’re good to go.

If you don’t how to sew, you can have your pants adjusted perfectly by a tailor in your neighborhood.

Wrapping Up

If you bought a nice pair of jeans but it doesn’t fit you well in one area, such as the waist or hips, you don’t need to give it away yet. And if your denim pants have become looser after wearing them a couple of years, you don’t have to throw them away yet.

You can make your jeans tighter at home without fading them, and the methods include boiling them, machine drying them, bathing in them, ironing, or even sewing them if at all you’ve a bit of tailoring. You’re now not short of options on how to shrink jeans without washing them.

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