How to stretch jeans

Written by fiona galloway
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How to stretch jeans
Stretching jeans which are too tight will make them comfortable to wear. (jeans image by Tijara Images from

Jeans are made from different blends of material dependent upon the style or designer label. Jeans made entirely from cotton are more prone to stretching than others. Most jeans will stretch a little whilst worn but will usually shrink again when washed. The best way to stretch jeans is by using water as this allows the material to become malleable.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Tablespoon of baby shampoo or hair conditioner
  • Jeans in the next size up
  • Large piece of paper or several smaller pieces
  • Sellotape
  • Pen
  • Steam iron
  • Selection of mugs
  • Bath sheet or large towel
  • Bath tub or sink

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  1. 1

    Pour one tablespoon of baby shampoo or hair conditioner into 1 litre of warm water in the bath tub or sink, and mix it in thoroughly. Place the jeans into the water and push down to ensure the material becomes completely saturated. Leave to soak until the material is heavy and completely wet, and most of the solution has been absorbed. Squeeze the excess water out of the jeans carefully.

  2. 2

    Place a bath towel or large bath sheet on the floor and lay a large piece of paper on top. The paper should be big enough to draw the outline of the jeans, but several smaller pieces sellotaped together securely would also work. Place the pair of jeans which are a size larger onto the paper and smooth flat. Using the pen, carefully trace the shape of the jeans onto the paper.

  3. 3

    Place the wet jeans onto the paper, keeping them in the centre of the outline drawn in pen. Stretch the fabric evenly so that it fits the size of the outline. If the material does not stretch in some places, soak the area in more water or use the steam from an iron to make the fabric more malleable. Place mugs, or similar objects, around the edge of the fabric to hold it in place as it dries out.

Tips and warnings

  • Try wetting your jeans and wearing them as they dry. This will help them stretch to fit your body shape perfectly. Cotton fabric which is blended with polyester or elastane is less likely to stretch on a permanent basis but will mold better to your figure that cotton only jeans. Using baby shampoo or hair conditioner in the soaking solution allows the fibres to relax more and stretch easier, whilst providing care for the material.
  • Care should be taken to stretch fabric evenly to ensure a consistent outline. Fabric which is stretched may shrink again when washed.

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