How to Make a Leather Jacket Smaller

Whether it's a motorcycle jacket, a bomber jacket or a blazer, leather jackets are the epitome of cool and are always in style. If your leather jacket is too big or stretched out, you can make it smaller. Leather that gets wet tends to stretch out a little; let it air dry and it will return to its original size. If you apply heat, however, either with hot water or by drying it with hot air, your leather jacket will shrink.

You can shrink your leather jacket if it seems loose or stretched out.

Things You'll Need

  • Large tub

  • Washing machine

  • Clothes dryer

  • Hair dryer

  • Leather conditioner

  • Soft cloths

Step 1

Empty the pockets of your leather jacket and secure any buttons and zippers to avoid leather or fabric damage.

Step 2

Soak your leather jacket in a tub of hot water until it is waterlogged. Alternatively, put it in a mesh laundry bag and place it in the washing machine on the gentle cycle. Just remember that the jacket may incur more wear and tear in the washing machine. Hot water may cause dye to leach out and get on your tub or washing machine. If this is a problem, soak the jacket in cold water.

Step 3

Let the jacket air-dry on a padded hanger if you soaked it in hot water and do not desire much shrinkage.

Step 4

Place the jacket in your clothes dryer on low heat if you used cold water to soak it or want the maximum shrinkage. Take the jacket out of the dryer every 10 minutes to ensure it doesn't shrink too much. Once it reaches the desired size, place it on a padded hanger and let it continue to dry in the air.

Step 5

Use your hair dryer on low heat to dry the jacket if you don't have access to a clothes dryer. Using this method may take longer.

Step 6

Apply a leather conditioner to your jacket once it is completely dry. This will restore its luster and flexibility while giving it a protective barrier. Apply the conditioner to the jacket in circular strokes until it is distributed evenly. Buff it with a clean, soft cloth.


Leather will shrink slightly on its own over the years.


Exposing leather to heat will cause it to have a worn appearance. Take your leather jacket to a tailor for alterations if you don’t want to risk any wear or damage.

Do not put any other articles of clothing in the washing machine with your leather jacket.

Do not place a jacket with fur lining or fur trim in the washing machine -- fur cannot be washed in water.