How to Make a Big Sweater Smaller

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Safety pins can temporarily change the width and length of any sweater.
Safety pins can temporarily change the width and length of any sweater.

Whether you purchased your sweater or inherited it, a larger sweater can cause you occasional discomfort. Thus, instead of keeping the sweater hidden in the closet until you can give it away, you can easily alter its size. To shrink your large sweater, you can choose a permanent or temporary solution, depending on your needs.

Things You'll Need

  • Safety pins
  • Washer/dryer
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Ruler
  • Scissors

Step 1

Pin the safety pins around the hem. Good places to do this are on the sides and underneath the arm, where the pins will be barely visible. Although this is a temporary solution, it works perfectly when you need to give the sweater back to someone else.

Step 2

Shrink the sweater in the dryer. To do this, you need to disregard the care instructions on the tag. Wash the sweater under high heat and then dry it under high heat. If the sweater is made of cotton or wool, it is guaranteed to shrink.

Step 3

Sew it smaller. Measure how many inches you want to shrink the sweater. If you find that you need to decrease the sweater's width by two inches, then mark one inch on each side of the sweater. Turn the sweater inside out, and start sewing vertically along the one-inch mark. Once you finish that, cut out the extra material on the inside. If you find that the sleeves are too wide, do the same as you did for the overall width of the sweater.

Tip

  • Do not use all three methods at once. Choose one and follow through completely. If you find that one method is not working, move on to the next one.

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