How To Shrink an Oversized Shirt

We all have that one beloved t-shirt that we're not ready to part with. Maybe it belongs to an ex and it's just SO cozy. Maybe it's from a fun event like a concert or summer camp, and the nostalgia from wearing it gives you all the warm fuzzies. Maybe you just love the image on the front, but the only size available was XXL when you bought it...

Whatever your reason, you want to hang on to this shirt as long as possible. There's just one problem: It is WAY too big for you!

Don't worry — Swank is here to help. Believe it or not, it is possible to shrink some shirts down from their original size. Here's what you need to do to learn how to shrink an oversized shirt:

Step One: Make Sure It's Shrinkable

While shrinking an oversized shirt is totally doable, it is only possible if your shirt is made from the right material. Therefore, the first step in this project is checking your label to make sure you're good to go. You want your shirt to be made of a natural fabric like wool, silk, linen, or cotton.

Cotton shirts — particularly those with a high percentage of cotton — will shrink quite a bit using this method. In fact, you can expect a 100% cotton shirt to shrink up to 20% of its size! But if your shirt lifts the synthetic fabric like nylon, polyester, or spandex, we're afraid to say you won't be seeing much shrinkage.

Step Two: Boil and Dunk

You might be wondering how we're actually going to shrink an oversized shirt. Two words: hot water. See, most clothing is made by stretching out fibers in order to create the size and shape necessary. Hot water releases the tension in those fibers, causing them to return to their smaller, pre-stretch state.

So, if you want to shrink your oversized shirt simply boil some water and (safely) dunk the shirt right in! Use a wooden spoon or another heat-safe tool to make sure the shirt is entirely submerged, then take it off the heat and let it sit in the water until the water cools completely (around 5 minutes). Remove the shirt from the water, ring it out, and take a look — you should have a slightly smaller tee!

Step Three: Repeat

Depending on the type of fabric you have, your shirt may not be perfectly shrunk after the first try. Luckily, the process of shrinking an oversized shirt is a simple one. You can repeat it over and over until you get the size you want! Just don't expect an XXL to become an XXS right away (or at all, in some cases); remember that some fabrics naturally shrink less than others and that synthetic fabrics don't shrink at all.

woman with brown hair in a bun pointing to her white t-shirt and smiling

With this DIY method, you should be able to shrink an oversized shirt and make it feel a little more comfortable for everyday wear. But of course, you could always check out the selection of cute and casual tees at Swank!

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