Enlarging a cotton sweatshirt or hoodie typically requires a combination of moisture, heat and stretching. If a hot dryer has shrunk your hoodie down a size or two, the process can help return it to its original shape. It also works well if you're outgrowing the garment, or if you just want a baggier fit. The process can also extend the length or width of a cotton sweatshirt.
Things You'll Need
- Hair conditioner
- Clean bath towels
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Method One: Water, Conditioner and Bath Towels
Fill your sink about two-thirds full with lukewarm water and add 1/4 cup of hair conditioner. Submerge the hoodie into the water, making sure the garment is completely soaked. Knead the material to ensure the conditioner soaks into the fibers. Let it sit in the water for about 20 minutes.
Drain the water from the sink, and then fill it with cool water to rinse out the conditioner. Push the water through the material and let soak for another five minutes. Drain the water and and wring out as much liquid as possible from the fabric.
Lay the hoodie on one or more bath towels, depending on the size. Hold the hoodie close to the neck and work your hands down one side seam, stretching as you go. Repeat this process on the other side. If necessary, stretch it again to achieve the desired length. When done, lay out the garment to air dry.
Method Two: Washer, Dryer, Iron and Ironing Board
Most hoodies will stretch about 3 inches with this method.
Wash the hoodie in the washer and then place it in the dryer on medium heat for about 20 minutes. The fabric should still be damp when you remove it.
Heat your iron to the "cotton" setting. Place the hoodie on the ironing board and iron it, starting at the top and stretching as you go. Be mindful not to stretch the armholes of the hoodie or the resulting fit will be awkward. When you're near the bottom of the garment, stretch as much as you want or as far as the material will allow, and then iron it.
Before letting it air dry, put a weight such as dumbbell underneath each of the arm holes. Stretch out the sweatshirt, and put another couple of weights at the bottom of the garment. When dry, the material should have stretched.
Method Three: Hand Wash and Iron
This version of the process combines elements of the first two.
Soak the hoodie in water and conditioner as explained in Method One.
After the hoodie is wrung out, iron and stretch the material as explained in Method Two. Allow it to air dry with weights applied.
Method Four: Mannequin and Water
Find a mannequin with a head (to fit the hood) and size it to the desired width of the hoodie.
Soak the hoodie in warm water and wring dry, leaving the material a little damp.
Slide the hoodie over the mannequin, making sure the hood is fitted to the form's "head."
Allow the hoodie to air dry. Check the garment after 24 hours or so. If necessary, stretch it again.