Few things can be as annoying as not fitting into a perfectly cute shirt, and looking for a size smaller only to find they have been all taken already. What do you do on such occasions?

Most people will just walk away and try to forget how cute they would have looked in it, had it been a size or two smaller. Few people to none will think to take the matter into their own hands.

How to shrink a shirt

The good news? You can buy that shirt and shrink it at home!

No matter if it’s one or two or three sizes too big, you can still make it work with easy DIYs at the comfort of your home. So forget about giving up on that cute shirt.

But, how do you actually shrink a shirt? Is it easy? Do you need to buy something else? How long does it take?

These are some of the questions I’ll address as I guide you step by step through the easy process of shrinking a shirt.

Why do clothes shrink?

First of all, let’s talk about why do clothes shrink.

If they’re made in certain sizes, why then some fabrics can they be shrunk so easily?

There are a couple of reasons behind this question. The way that the garments were manufactured and the fabrics used are factors that influence heavily.

Natural fabrics such as linen, cotton, silk, and linen are most likely to shrink if exposed or washed in the wrong conditions. Here are some points to take into consideration:

1. Excessive heat may cause some animal fibers to shrink, compressing and meshing together their scales.

2. Other fabrics may experience a subtle shrinkage when they have been exposed to a lot of moisture. For example, absorbent fabrics such as linen or cotton that has been hand washed and then left flat to dry away from the sun will surely experience a small shrinkage due to the swelling of the fibers.

3. If the washing and drying process combines a mix of the following: strong detergent, really hot water, heavy-duty cycle and using the dryer with maximum heat. These will cause the fabric to shrink due to the “stress” that its fibers have been put through.

These are some of the reasons why clothes shrink. Almost everyone will experience at least once in their lifetime the surprise of getting clothes out of the dryer and see them completely shrunk.

But you can also use this in your favor!

How to shrink a Shirt step by step

Does cotton shrink? As mentioned, natural fabrics such as cotton may experience shrinkage in a more dramatic way than synthetic fabrics such as polyester or nylon.

So if you want your cotton shirt (or any other natural fabric) to fit perfectly, here are the steps you need to follow in order to shrink its size:

1. Use hot water

Grab your overly big shirt and a pot big enough to add water AND your shirt.
1. Pour water into the pot
2. Turn on the stove
3. Put your shirt inside the bowl
4. Turn off the heat as soon as you see the water starting to boil
5. Leave your shirt inside the bowl for at least five minutes
6. Remove your shirt carefully; remember that the water may still be hot!
7. Wring and dry it naturally under the sun
8. Repeat this process as many times as it takes to shrink your shirt into the perfect size

A piece of cake! It may require a bit of patience if your shirt needs this process to be repeated multiple times, but it doesn’t require any effort or buying extra stuff.

This is also one of the most popular DIYs shrinking methods used, and will surely guarantee a perfect fitting shirt. Just remember that this method may not be as efficient for synthetic fabrics, as they are not easily shrunken.

2. Using the washing machine

This is the method known by almost everyone but mostly when it comes to shrinking clothes ACCIDENTALLY.

So, how to shrink clothes in the washing machine ON PURPOSE?

These are the steps you need to follow whenever you need to shrink any shirt:
1. Set the washing machine to the highest temperature
2. Place inside the shirt you wish to shrink
3. Wait until it finished and dry it naturally away from the sun
4. Repeat this process as many times as needed

Two things to take into consideration when performing this method: you don’t need to add detergent, and you can also add other shirts (not only one) but they need to be in the same color.

This is the same method as using a pot with boiling water, except more comfortable for anyone who has a busy day and can’t be overseeing the water reach to boiling point.

Again, you may need to repeat this process a couple of times, especially if you want to shrink your shirt more than one size.

3. Using the dryer

As you may have noticed, one common factor that the previous two shrinking methods share is high-temperature exposure.

The same happens when using the dryer. All you need to do is:
1. Wash the shirt you wish to shrink, preferably with hot water in the washing machine
2. Once it finishes washing, place it inside the tumble dryer
3. Put the high heat setting
4. Voilà!

If your shirt is delicate, you can also put the gentle dry settings to make sure it will not get damaged.

Check the video to shrink a shirt

Shrink your clothes for a fashionable fit

Oversize garments have become a trendy thing in the last couple of years. But even though it’s a cool trend to follow, there are times when the perfect fit screams louder than a hip oversized top.

Whenever you can’t find your size in a cute shirt you wish to buy, don’t settle! Remember that shrinking it is easy and way more effective than wearing a garment that wasn’t made to be worn oversized.

Should you shrink it or not?

When do you need to shrink your shirt? It will all depend on the look you want to achieve, but here are some points you may want to consider whenever you find yourself buying the wrong size.

1. Think about the type of outfits you may want to create with this specific top. If you’re more into the cool and hip look, then wearing it oversized is a great idea

2. Think about the bottoms you may want to wear it with. If you’re thinking about a wide leg or loose-fitting pants, then it’s probably better to wear a perfectly fitting top. In this type of cases is when you should consider shrinking your shirt.

3. Is the shirt delicate? Even if you have utmost care during the shrinking methods mentioned above (you can also use the gentle dry or gentle wash settings), there are some shirts that simply won’t do. If it’s an expensive garment AND delicate, then wearing it oversized may be the best choice.

These are some of the things you need to think about before deciding whether to shrink a shirt or not and might also help you decide whether buying it in the wrong size will be a great idea or not.

Wrap up

It’s a bummer to spot a cute shirt only to find that the store does not have it in your size, but only one or two sizes bigger. Most of the times we either think: “I will not buy it” or “I will wear it oversized”, but ignore the fact that many shirts can be shrunken to fit us perfectly.

I hope this article on how to shrink a shirt helps to remind you that, whenever you find yourself in this situation, there are three shrinking methods popularly used that you can try as well.

And, again, just remember the following points:

1. Natural fabrics shrink easier and faster than synthetic. Some synthetic garments may not even shrink a bit

2. You can repeat each method as many times as you need, just make sure to double-check that your shirt hasn’t shrunk to your size. Once it gets shrunken it can hardly get “unshrunken”.