You just bought a new sweater and it’s too big. You want to shrink it, but you don’t want to ruin the sweater. Here’s how to shrink a knit sweater the right way.
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Choose the right sweater
Not all sweaters are created equal. You’ll have the best luck shrinking a sweater made from natural fibers like wool, cotton, or cashmere. Artificial fibers like acrylic or polyester are less likely to shrink—and if they do, they may not hold their shape as well as a natural fiber sweater would.
Shrink the sweater in the washing machine
One of the most common ways to shrink a knit sweater is to simply throw it in the washing machine on hot and then put it in the dryer on high. However, this method is not always effective, and it can damage your sweater if you’re not careful. To shrink a sweater in the washing machine, start by reading the care label. If it says “dry clean only,” don’t attempt to shrink it at home. Otherwise, check for any specific instructions for washing and drying.
If there are no specific instructions, start by wetting your sweater and running it through a regular cycle on hot. Once the cycle is finished, put the sweater in the dryer on high heat. Keep an eye on the sweater as it dries, and take it out when it reaches the desired size. Be careful not to over-dry your sweater, as this can cause shrinkage as well.
Shrink the sweater in the dryer
The best way to shrink a knit sweater is in the dryer. Put the knit sweater in the dryer on a low or medium heat setting, and check it frequently to make sure it doesn’t over-shrink. Once the sweater has reached the desired size, take it out of the dryer and lay it flat to cool.
Hand wash the sweater
shrink a knit sweater, the best way is to hand wash it. Fill a sink or basin with lukewarm water and a small amount of wool-safe detergent or shampoo. Submerge the sweater and gently swish it around, taking care not to agitate or wring it. Let the garment soak for up to five minutes, then rinse it in cool water until the water runs clear.
Block the sweater
If your knit sweater has become too large, you can shrink it back down to size using a process called “blocking.” Blocking involves wetting the garment and then shaping it to dry, which will cause the fibers to contract and the garment to shrink.
To block a sweater, first wet the entire garment in cool water. Squeeze out any excess water, then lay the sweater flat on a towel. Use your hands to gently stretch and shape the sweater into its desired size and shape. Allow the sweater to air dry completely before wearing or storing.
Stretch the sweater
One of the best ways to shrink a knit sweater is to stretch it. This will help the fibers of the sweater to shrink and tighten, resulting in a smaller overall size. To do this, you’ll need to wet the sweater and then stretch it out gently. You can do this by hand or by hanging the sweater on a clothesline and pulling it down gently. Once you’ve stretched the sweater out to your desired size, allow it to air dry.
Store the sweater
If you’ve accidentally shrunk a knit sweater, don’t despair — there are ways to fix it. First, you need to assess the damage. If the sweater is only slightly shrunken, you may be able to stretch it back into shape. But if it’s significantly shrunken, you’ll need to take more drastic measures.
To shrink a knit sweater back to its original size, you’ll need to soak it in warm water and then carefully stretch it out. This process will work best if the sweater is made of wool or another natural fiber. Start by filling a sink or basin with warm water — not hot, as this could damage the fibers. Add a mild detergent and gently agitate the water to create suds. Submerge the sweater in the water and let it soak for 10-15 minutes.
After the soaking time is up, drain the sink and gently squeeze the excess water from the sweater. Do not wring it out, as this could damage the fibers. Lay the damp sweater flat on a towel and smooth it into shape. Use your hands to stretching it back into its original size. Once you’ve achieved the desired shape, allow the sweater to air dry completely before storing it away.
Prevent the sweater from shrinking
As much as we love the softness and warmth of a knit sweater, we dread what happens when it accidentally goes through the wash and comes out several sizes smaller. But don’t despair! There are a few things you can do to prevent your sweater from shrinking, or at least minimize the amount of shrinkage.
Here are a few tips:
-Wash your sweater by hand, using cold water and a mild detergent designed for delicate garments.
-Lay your wet sweater flat on a towel and gently shape it back into its original size.
-Do not wring or twist the sweater; this will damage the fibers.
-Allow the sweater to air dry completely before wearing or storing.
If you do end up with a shrunken sweater, all is not lost! You may be able to stretch it back to its original size using the following method:
-Wet the sweater again (by hand, using cold water) and gently stretch it back into shape.
-Lay the sweater flat on a towel and allow it to air dry completely.