How To Stretch Out A Sweatshirt And Make It Bigger – DIY Guide

how to stretch out a sweatshirt

Are you tired of having a perfectly good sweatshirt that’s just a tad too small? Maybe you ordered the wrong size, or it shrunk in the wash, and now it’s sitting in your closet, unused and unloved. Well, we’ve got a life hack on how to stretch out a sweatshirt for you! 

In this tutorial, we will show you how to make your sweatshirt bigger, using just a few simple steps. No need to return it or let it go to waste – let’s get started!

How to Stretch Out a Sweatshirt – Step-by-Step Guide

Before we dive into the stretching process, let’s gather the materials you’ll need for this transformation:

  • A bucket
  • Conditioner
  • Your sweatshirt

Step 1: Prepare the Hot Water

To begin, you’ll need a bucket filled with hot water. The key here is to make sure the water is as hot as you can tolerate. It’s essential to have hot water for this method to be effective. Fill the bucket with hot water, making sure it’s at the highest temperature you can handle comfortably.

Step 2: Add Conditioner

Next, you’ll want to add a few drops of conditioner to the hot water. Be cautious not to overdo it; just three drops should suffice. Mix the conditioner into the water thoroughly, ensuring that it dissolves completely.

Step 3: Soak Your Sweatshirt

Place your sweatshirt into the hot water and conditioner mixture. Gently push it down, allowing it to absorb the water. If needed, add a bit more conditioner to make sure all parts of the sweatshirt are covered.

how to stretch out a sweatshirt

Step 4: Mix and Wait

Now, it’s time to mix your sweatshirt in the water. Gently agitate it for about 30 seconds, making sure the conditioner spreads evenly. You can also add more water if you find it necessary.

Step 5: Soak and Stretch

After mixing, leave the sweatshirt in the bucket for about 15-20 minutes. During this time, the hot water and conditioner will work their magic, making the fabric more pliable.

Step 6: Rinse and Squeeze

Once the soaking time is up, carefully remove the sweatshirt from the bucket. Be mindful not to spill any water, especially if you’re indoors. Squeeze out the excess water, preparing it for the next step.

Step 7: Rinse Out the Conditioner

Take your sweatshirt to the sink and rinse it thoroughly to remove the conditioner. This step ensures that your sweatshirt is clean and free from any residue. Rinse for about 45 seconds, making sure all the conditioner is washed out.

Step 8: Stretch It Out

Now comes the fun part – stretching your sweatshirt to your desired size. Gently pull and stretch it in various directions to achieve the fit you desire. You can focus on the arms, body, or any specific areas where you want more room.

how to stretch out a sweatshirt

Step 9: Air Dry

After stretching, let your sweatshirt air dry. If possible, do this outside, as the wind can help speed up the drying process. Check on it periodically until it’s completely dry.

Additional Tips

  • This method is not damaging to your sweatshirt; it merely increases its size.
  • You can also try this technique with shirts if they are too tight.
  • However, this method is not suitable for jeans, so be cautious with sizing when buying them.

Things to Know Before Stretching a Sweatshirt

Before you embark on the journey to stretch your sweatshirt and make it bigger, there are some essential things you should keep in mind. These considerations will help ensure that the process goes smoothly and you achieve the desired results.

Fabric Type Matters

Not all fabrics are created equal when it comes to stretching. While this method works well for most cotton-based sweatshirts, it may not be as effective for sweatshirts made from materials like wool or synthetic blends.

 It’s crucial to understand the fabric composition of your sweatshirt before attempting to stretch it, as some materials may not respond well to this method and could be damaged.

Conditioner Choice

The type of conditioner you use can impact the outcome. Opt for a mild, unscented conditioner without any harsh chemicals or additives. A basic conditioner will work best, as it softens the fabric without leaving any residue or overpowering fragrance.

Be Patient

Patience is key in this process. Allow the sweatshirt to soak in the hot water and conditioner mixture for at least 15-20 minutes. Rushing this step may result in incomplete stretching, so give it the time it needs to become more pliable.

how to stretch out a sweatshirt

Stretch Gradually

When stretching your sweatshirt, do so gradually and evenly. Start by stretching the areas where you need more room, such as the sleeves or the torso. Avoid excessive force, as this could lead to fabric damage. Instead, gently pull and adjust until you achieve your desired fit.

Monitor Drying

Keep a close eye on the drying process. Ensure that your sweatshirt is completely dry before wearing it again. Hanging it outside in the wind can expedite drying, but if that’s not possible, indoor drying is fine as long as you have good ventilation.

Not for All Garments

Remember that this stretching method is best suited for sweatshirts and shirts. Avoid attempting it on jeans or other bottoms, as the fabric and construction are different, and this technique may not yield the desired results.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can approach the process of stretching your sweatshirt with confidence, knowing that you’re taking the necessary precautions for a successful outcome.

How to Fix a Sweatshirt That Is Too Big

While the previous section focused on making a small sweatshirt larger, there may come a time when you need to address the opposite problem – a sweatshirt that is too big. 

Whether it’s a hand-me-down, a thrift store find, or a sweatshirt you’ve lost weight wearing, there are ways to tailor it to your size without compromising style and comfort. Here’s how to fix a sweatshirt that is too big:

Gather Your Supplies

To resize your oversized sweatshirt, you’ll need some essential supplies. These include a sewing machine or a needle and thread, pins, fabric scissors, and, of course, the sweatshirt itself. Make sure to choose a thread color that matches your sweatshirt for a seamless finish.

how to stretch out a sweatshirt

Pin and Measure

Begin by putting on the oversized sweatshirt and determining which areas need adjustment. Common areas to focus on are the sleeves, sides, and the length. Use pins to mark where you want to make alterations and ensure that the adjustments are symmetrical.

Remove Excess Fabric

After marking the areas for alteration, carefully remove the excess fabric. If you’re using a sewing machine, make sure to use a straight stitch for a clean and secure finish. If you’re hand-sewing, use a running stitch or a backstitch for added durability.

Adjust the Sleeves

To resize the sleeves, turn the sweatshirt inside out and fold the sleeves inwards along the pinned lines. Secure the folds with pins and sew along the fold lines. This will create a new seam that shortens the sleeves to your desired length.

Take in the Sides

For a more tailored fit around the body, turn your sweatshirt inside out and pin along the sides where you marked for adjustments. Sew along these pinned lines to take in the excess fabric. Be sure to try on the sweatshirt periodically as you make adjustments to ensure it fits comfortably.

Shorten the Length

If the sweatshirt is too long, you can also shorten it by folding it up and securing the desired length with pins. Then, stitch along the fold line to create a new hem. This alteration can give your sweatshirt a more balanced and proportionate look.

how to stretch out a sweatshirt

Finishing Touches

Once you’ve made the necessary alterations, trim any excess thread, and remove the pins. Turn the sweatshirt right-side out and try it on to ensure that it now fits comfortably and looks just the way you want it to.

Resizing an oversized sweatshirt may take some time and effort, but with a little patience and the right tools, you can transform it into a well-fitting and stylish garment that you’ll be excited to wear. Don’t let an oversized sweatshirt languish in your closet – take matters into your own hands and tailor it to perfection!


How Do You Loosen A Tight Hoodie?

To loosen a tight hoodie, you can follow these steps:

  • Soak it: Fill a bucket with lukewarm water and add a small amount of hair conditioner. Submerge the hoodie in the mixture for 15-20 minutes.
  • Stretch it gently: After soaking, carefully stretch the hoodie in the areas where it feels tight. Be gentle to avoid damaging the fabric.
  • Rinse and reshape: Rinse the hoodie thoroughly to remove the conditioner. Squeeze out excess water and reshape it to your desired fit.
  • Air dry: Hang the hoodie to air dry, allowing it to regain its original shape. Avoid using heat as it may cause further shrinking.

Can I Unshrink A Sweatshirt?

Unfortunately, it’s challenging to completely unshrink a sweatshirt once it has shrunk. However, you can attempt the stretching method mentioned above to regain some of the lost size. Prevention is key, so always follow proper washing and drying instructions for your sweatshirt to avoid shrinking in the first place.

how to stretch out a sweatshirt

Does Hot Water Stretch Clothes?

Hot water can be used to help stretch certain types of fabrics, primarily natural fibers like cotton. When combined with other methods such as conditioner or fabric softener, hot water can make the fabric more pliable and easier to stretch. 

However, it’s important to note that excessive heat can also damage fabrics and cause them to lose their shape, so it’s crucial to use hot water within a safe and moderate temperature range when attempting to stretch clothes.

How Do You Loosen Tight Clothes?

Loosening tight clothes can be done through several methods:

  • Stretching: Gently stretch the fabric where it feels tight. You can use your hands or try wearing the garment for a while to allow it to naturally adjust to your body.
  • Soaking in warm water: Submerge the tight clothes in warm (not hot) water for about 30 minutes, then gently stretch the fabric while it’s damp. Repeat if necessary.
  • Using a fabric relaxer: Some commercial products are designed to relax and loosen tight fabrics. Follow the product instructions carefully.
how to stretch out a sweatshirt

Does Putting Clothes In The Dryer Stretch Them?

No, putting clothes in the dryer typically does not stretch them. The dryer can have the opposite effect on clothes, especially if they are exposed to high heat. 

High heat can cause fabrics to shrink or lose their original shape. To stretch clothes, consider methods like the ones mentioned earlier, involving gentle stretching and water treatments.

Does Heat Permanently Shrink Clothes?

Heat can indeed permanently shrink clothes, especially if they are made of natural fibers like cotton, wool, or linen. Exposing clothes to high temperatures, whether through hot water washing or high-heat drying, can cause the fibers to contract and lead to shrinkage. 

It’s essential to follow the care instructions on your clothing labels to avoid unintentional shrinking. For clothes that have already shrunk, it’s challenging to reverse the process.

Can Cold Water Stretch Clothes?

Cold water alone is not typically effective at stretching clothes. Cold water doesn’t have the same fabric-softening and relaxation properties as warm water. 

To stretch clothes, it’s generally more effective to use warm water combined with techniques like gentle stretching or soaking to achieve the desired fit. Cold water is primarily used for preserving the color and preventing shrinkage during washing.


Now you know how to stretch out a sweatshirt and make it bigger! With just a few simple steps, some hot water, and conditioner, you can enjoy a more comfortable and better-fitting hoodie. 

So, no more need to return your favorite sweatshirts; instead, give them a second chance with this easy life hack. Happy stretching!

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