Knowledge is power. Let's talk about shrink-to-fit, how to get the right size, and the soak.

Ah, shrink-to-fit. That age old term of denim lore. Might seem a bit of an uncertainty in an already uncertain arena of jeans fitting. But not to worry. We have knowledge. We can help you understand everything you need to know to experience the wonder of old school denimry (this is a word, we made it so). So why don't we start with the basics; what exactly is shrink-to-fit? 

Shrink to fit: this is a type of denim that will shrink more that standard contemporary denim that has been treated (pre-shrunk). Most shrink to fit denims will shrink about 5-7%, but some can actually shrink up to 10%. Here is a simple chart to show the amounts of shrink you could experience with a shrink to fit jean. 

Amount of Shrinkage (ala Constanza)
Original Length5%6%7%10%

How to make sure you order the right size for shrink to fit

This is not our first shrink to fit rodeo. We want to make this as simple of a process as possible. You just have to order your normal size, shape, and inseam and we'll take care patterning for the shrinkage percent. 

(Not even sure what your normal size is or feeling nervous about the idea of your jeans shrinking? We can help you get the perfect fit and answer any questions with a quick virtual fitting or phone call. We can guide you to what's best. Guaranteed. )

In case you don't have the best pattern makers who have your back, you can using the sample chart above, you can reference the amount of shrink. For example if you typically wear a 34x32 jean and the jeans had 6% shrinkage, you would want to size up to: 36x34.


What makes the denim shrink?

Water causes cotton (and other plant fibers) to shrink. Hot water causes denim to shrink more than cold water. It causes the fibers to constrict. Heat is also a primary cause of shrinking. Hot air drying of wet denim will cause the most shrinkage.

For the most shrink = Hot water wash. Hot air dryer 

For the least shrink = Cold water wash.  Hang to dry

Will the jeans stretch back?

Not really.  The jeans can stretch back to a small degree, but it will take some stress (wearing) to make this happen. This is both from the fibers stretching and from the weave of denim. If you had a canvas pair of jeans, they would not stretch or give nearly as muchStory: I once made a pair of denim jeans and added an orange canvas waistband, because why not, and they were miserable. No give in the waist. Lesson: stick to denim.  

Here are some of the other names to indicate a shrink-to-fit denim. They pretty much mean the same thing. 




*Most contemporary denim is sanforized. It's a mechanical process of steaming (heat and water) denim and drying it to help preshrink it. Sanforized Denim

The bottom line: 

With a little know how, you can have a great experience with shrink to fit. The general rule when ordering with Detroit Denim is to order your normal size and we'll take care of the rest. All you have to do is soak them in cool water and let them air dry then get to wearing them. You will love the eventual results. It's worth it.