It is easy to assume that you can stretch clothes by pulling them and tugging them over chairs when they are wet. This method may stretch clothes some, but it can damage the cloth fibers and cause your clothes to lose their shape, function and style. In addition, you may tear or rip the seams, accessories and other materials. The mystery of how to make your clothes stretch without ruining them lies in the space between the fabric fibers.
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Put the article (or articles) of clothing you would like to stretch into a washing machine. Fill the washing machine up with cold water. Do not use detergent or other additives. When the washer fills up and begins to wash, turn the washer off.
Leave your clothes to soak for a minimum of 24 hours. Then retrieve one of your articles of clothing without wringing it out, and hold over the washer to catch the drips. See if your clothing has increased in size. If not, put it back in the washer and let it sit for another 24 hours. Do not wring your clothes out, and do not let them go through the spin cycle of the washer. (You may use the spin cycle for your next regular washing.)
Let your clothes sit in the water until they have stretched enough (for a maximum of one week). After a week, your clothes will have maximized the stretching capabilities of the water. Remove your clothes from the washer.
Take each article of clothing, one at a time, and put it in a bucket or clothesbasket. Take each article of clothing to a tub, outside clothesline or other area that will catch the drips. Hang your clothes. The heavy weight of the water in your clothes will stretch them even further. This is why you need to have the clothes dripping wet when you take them from the washer.
Let your clothes dry naturally. It may take several days. Once they are dry, try them on. Most fabrics will have stretched a size up. Enjoy your new clothes size!
Be sure to check your clothes every 24 hours to ensure that your clothes are not over-stretching. Some fabrics will not stretch much if at all, such as tightly woven linen. Most cotton fabrics will stretch. Try this method on an old piece of clothing before using this stretch method on your favorite or best clothes.
Don't forget the clothes are in the washer, or they may overstretch. Use an alarm or sticky note to remind you about your clothes. If you find your clothes have stretched too much, let your clothes spin in the washer instead of hanging them to dry, and follow the drying instructions on your clothes label.