As people age and waistlines start to expand, it may be necessary to focus on how to prevent jeans from shrinking. Upon occasion, however, you may want to shrink your Levi's. Perhaps you like your jeans a little tighter or you've received a pair as a gift, but they're just a smidge too loose. Whatever the reason, there are several different ways to shrink your jeans.
Regular and Shrink-to-Fit
Any pair of jeans can shrink, but how much they shrink depends on the jeans themselves. Because shrinking jeans are sometimes undesirable, Levi's and other manufacturers often sell prewashed jeans. These will shrink a bit, but they've already done most of their shrinking before they leave the factory. Depending on the treatment, these jeans shrink as little as 1 percent.
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Those who are diehard about form-fitting denim, however, can purchase Levi's 501 jeans with the shrink-to-fit designation. Levi's shrink-to-fit jeans are about an inch bigger around the waist and 3 inches longer than they need to be. This gives you lots of wiggle room so you can shrink your jeans to the perfect fit.
Toss Them in the Washing Machine
At some point in time, you've no doubt noticed a certain pair of jeans fitting a bit more snugly after you wash them. In this case, the shrinking may have been accidental, but you can use what you've learned from the experience to easily shrink your jeans on purpose. Just toss them in the washing machine and wash them in hot water. You can then dry them at a high heat setting to further shrink them.
Get in the Tub
It's not just a silly urban myth; denim enthusiasts really do shrink their jeans in the bathtub. This method takes some time, but it's easy. Just put on your jeans, fill the bathtub with warm water, and hop in, jeans and all. Sit in the tub for about 30 minutes to shrink the denim in a way that perfectly conforms to your body.
Next is the interesting part. You want your jeans to keep the shape they're in now, so you need to keep them on while they dry. It's best to do this on a warm day and make sure you have a place where you can sit without soaking the furniture while you're wet.
Boil Your Jeans
If you thought wearing your jeans in the bathtub was weird, you're going to love this. Another good way to shrink your jeans is to boil them. Simply boil water in a pot large enough to accommodate your jeans. When the water starts boiling, drop your jeans into the pot. Keep them boiling for about 30 minutes and then toss them in the dryer or hang them on the clothesline.
Iron Your Jeans
Sometimes, your jeans may need to be a little tighter in one area but not in another. In that case, you can use an iron to custom shrink just certain areas. If so, dampen the part of the jeans you wish to shrink and then rub a clothes iron over them. Keep ironing the area until the jeans are dry again. This can help you customize your fit rather than just haphazardly shrinking the entire pair of jeans.
See the Tailor
Although not universally available, many Levi's stores have a tailor shop on-site. Here you can customize both the look and the fit of your jeans. A tailor can help you take an off-the-rack pair of jeans and turn them into your new favorites. Working with a tailor may cost a bit more, but it will get you a more precise fit than boiling your jeans or tossing them in the washing machine.