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How To Shrink Denim Jacket

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Denim Jackets have long been a timeless go-to piece when individuals want to look good and stay warm.

Offering us a chic look in a comfortable, fashionable style, denim jackets first rose in popularity with defiant teens in the 60s who wanted a new look.

Ever since that moment, the jacket also known as the jean jacket has been a staple in most closets. 

However, it isn’t uncommon for the denim jacket to be too big, spoiling our look and not keeping us as warm.

This leaves many of us trying to safely shrink our jackets without damaging the fabric. The fact you’re reading this post would suggest you want to shrink your jacket too.

If that’s the case, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, we will show you the different ways in which you can shrink a denim jacket without hurting yourself or destroying the fabric. 

If this sounds like something you need to know, make sure you keep reading!

woman wearing an oversized denim jacket on gray background

What Is Denim?

Before we dive into the different methods used to shrink denim jackets, it’s a good idea to understand what denim is. By better understanding what denim is, we can start to learn how the fabric shrinks. 

For those that don’t know, denim is a cotton-based fabric typically blended with spandex or polyester. As the fabric is made from a type of cotton there are a number of different ways that it can be shrunk.

These methods can be used to shrink 100% cotton at home in little time and at very low costs. 

Denim is made using a twill weave. This creates a diagonal ribbing pattern that forms a durable and sturdy warp-faced textile.

Aside from denim jackets, skirts, shirts, vests, blouses, and jeans are also commonly made out of denim. 

The main reason denim clothing is still so popular today is because of its appealing look, solid durability, great comfort, and ability to keep us warmer on colder days.

Good quality denim fabrics can last anything from 5 years to decades depending on how well they have been looked after. In fact, most denim pieces of clothing look better with age, adding to their popularity and appeal.

Can Denim Jackets Be Shrunk?

We mentioned above that denim is made from cotton and cotton is shrinkable. Therefore, denim jackets are definitely shrinkable.

However, how much a denim jacket can shrink is dependent on how the fabric has been made and whether or not it has been blended. 

100% cotton fabrics can be shrunk easily. If your denim jacket is 100% cotton, this means you can easily shrink it.

If your jacket is made from a blended fabric, for example, polyester and denim, it might not shrink as much. While the jacket should still shrink, any fabric blend will most likely reduce how much shrinking is possible. 

On the other hand, some denim fabrics are pre-shrunk or Sanforized during manufacturing. These denim jackets are designed not to shrink as much, so it can be hard to shrink them even a little.

Having said that, generally speaking, after repeated washes we should be able to get your jacket to fit nicely.

woman in blue jeans and denim jacket walking on street

How To Shrink A Denim Jacket – The Washing Machine Method

Probably the easiest, most hassle-free, and importantly, the cheapest way, to shrink your denim jacket is by using your washing machine.

Considered the fastest way to shrink denim jackets, high temperatures, and hot water are known to shrink most materials. Denim is no different. 

Follow the following steps to ensure you safely shrink your denim jacket in the washing machine without damaging the fabric.

  1. Prepare: Turn your denim jacket inside out. 
  2. Wash: Place the denim jacket in the washing machine on its own before setting the washer to its highest temperature. The hot water will help contract the denim fibers, making the fabric shrink.
  3. Dry: Afterwards, you should place your denim jacket in your clothes dryer with the settings set to the highest temperature. Run the dryer for approximately 1 hour. When removing the jacket from the dryer be careful of any metal trims as they will be very hot. 
  4. Try It On: Once the jacket has dried and cooled down, try it on. If the jacket is a much better fit than great.
  5. Repeat: If your jacket is still too big, don’t be afraid to repeat this process to see if you can shrink the jacket a little more. 

After two or three attempts, if the jacket still hasn’t shrunk very much, it could be time to try another method. 

clothes in washing machine drum

Shrinking a Jean Jacket by Boiling It

If you had little success when it came to shrinking your denim jacket in the washing machine or simply don’t have access to one, you could try shrinking your denim jacket by boiling it. 

The boiling method is a great way to shrink your denim because it is the best way to ensure the water is as hot as it should be. Boiling the denim before drying it on a hot drying cycle is an effective method. Here’s how you can do it.

  1. Turn your jacket inside out.
  2. Boil a large enough pot of water and place your denim jacket in.
  3. Bring the temperature down, so the water is simmering. You can then leave the jacket for roughly 30 minutes.
  4. Drain the pot and remove your jacket. You should use caution here as the pot and the jacket will be extremely hot.
  5. Place your denim jacket in a clothes dryer with the heat settings as high as they will go. Run the dryer for 1 hour. Again, be careful with the metal trims on the jacket as they will be hot.

Once you have followed these steps and the jacket is cool and dry, try on your jacket to see how it fits. If it is still not a perfect fit try this method two or three more times until you get it right.

boiling water on electric induction hob

How To Shrink Your Denim Jacket Without A Dryer

We don’t all have access to a clothes dryer but don’t worry, it is possible to shrink your denim jacket without one.

For this method, you need to first soak the jacket in hot water. To do this, you can follow the boiling, or washing machine method, or simply spray the jacket with hot water. 

To then apply the heat the dryer would normally offer, instead use an iron. Aside from providing lots of heat to the jacket, this is also a great way to shrink specific parts of the jacket, for example, the sleeves. 

Set your iron to the highest heat setting and continuously move it, so you don’t accidentally burn the fabric. You should iron the wet parts of the jacket until they are completely dry.

If you then need to shrink the jacket more, simply add more hot water and iron the jacket again. 

In Summary

There you have it, we have provided you with the best ways to shrink your denim jacket without damaging the fabric or causing yourself any harm.

The best thing about shrinking denim is that you can try time and time again until you get it right without ruining your jacket.

We have shown you what denim is, how it can be shrunk, and how to do so effectively. 

Now you have this guide at your disposal, pick the method that suits you best and start shrinking your denim jacket until you have a better fit.

If you can’t get the fit you seek, it could be time to purchase a more tailored jacket.