How To Make A Sweatshirt Smaller Without Sewing

Last Updated on 1 year by Susan Mayrich

When you buy a new piece of clothing that doesn’t fit quite right, it can be frustrating. If you’ve ever bought a sweater that was too big or an item of clothing that was too long, then you know how hard it is to find someone who can alter it for you. 

How To Make A Sweatshirt Smaller Without Sewing

Luckily, there are some easy ways to make your clothes smaller without sewing.

How To Make A Sweatshirt Smaller Without Sewing

One way to make a sweatshirt fit better is by taking it in at the sides, underarms, and bust. However, if you don’t have sewing skills or don’t want to ruin your favorite sweatshirt, there are other ways to make it fit better without sewing.

Use a fabric shaver

A fabric shaver is a tool that looks like a razor blade and will remove material from the surface of your garment without damaging it. It’s perfect for small areas like sleeves or collars. The best fabric shavers have adjustable blades so that they can work on any thickness of the material.

Use an iron with steam

The steam from the iron will help relax the fibers in your garment so that they become more flexible and easier to stretch out into place. You’ll notice this especially when trying to get rid of wrinkles from your shirt or pants after washing them. 

  1. This is one of the easiest ways to alter your clothing. Turn on your iron and set it on high heat with steam. 
  2. Once the steam starts flowing, place the garment inside the ironing board cover and gently press down over all areas that need to be adjusted.
  3. Place the tip of your iron at an angle on one corner of your sweatshirt and gently move it back and forth across the fabric until you’ve covered as much area as possible with steam. 
  4. With the iron still on high heat, turn off the steam setting for about three minutes so that you don’t melt any part of the fabric. 
  5. Reactivate the steam setting again as you continue pressing down on your garment until all parts have been heated sufficiently. 
  6. When finished, remove from heat and allow the garment to cool before handling again.

Make A Sweatshirt Smaller With Hot Water

You can shrink a shirt without sewing by washing it in hot water and drying it on high heat. This is a great way to make a sweatshirt smaller for a child who has outgrown it.

Soak the shirt in hot water

Soak the sweatshirt in hot water. Soaking the shirt allows it to shrink and take on a smaller size. Allow the shirt to soak for 10 minutes or longer if needed. The longer you soak the shirt, the more it will shrink.

Wash the shirt in hot water

Wash the sweatshirt on a hot cycle in your washing machine with a good quality detergent. The hotter your wash cycle and temperature, the more likely it is that your sweatshirt will shrink. Do not use bleach as it tends to make clothes lose their color over time, which is not what you want when trying to make an item smaller. 

Dry the shirt on high heat

Once washed, dry your sweatshirt on high heat for at least 20 minutes to further shrink down its size and make sure it doesn’t come out of the dryer too damp (which could lead to mildew). If possible.

Use Hem Tape

Hem tape is a double-sided adhesive that’s great for hemming items that need to be shrunk or fixed in place permanently. Hem tape works best on lightweight fabrics like cotton or polyester, but it can also be used on heavier fabrics such as denim and wool. It’s available at most craft stores and online. This method also works great if you want to fix a shirt that is too big without using sewing.

  1. To use hem tape, first, wash and dry your sweatshirt. 
  2. Then cut off the excess fabric from each side of the hemline. You should now have two pieces of fabric that look like rectangles with rounded corners.
  3. Next, place one piece of hem tape along each side of your shirt where the original hem was located before you cut it off. 
  4. Press down firmly on each piece of tape so that it sticks firmly to your shirt. 
  5. Let dry completely before wearing again so that the glue has time to set properly.

Use a hair dryer

One of the easiest ways to shrink a sweatshirt is by using a hair dryer in a low heat setting. 

  1. Stand out of the way of any loose threads and start at the bottom.
  2. Hold the bottom of the shirt with one hand while holding the hot air against it with another hand. 
  3. Let the fabric cool under pressure before moving onto another section.
  4. Repeat this process until you’ve gotten rid of as much extra material as possible without damaging the garment itself.

Sewing Machine Method

1. Turn the garment inside out and lay it flat on your work surface.

2. Pin the sides of the waist together so that they overlap by about 2 inches (5 cm).

3. Use a straight stitch to sew along where you pinned. Do not sew all the way around; leave an opening of about 4 inches (10 cm) across one side of the waistband at each end so you can turn it right side out when finished.

4. Use scissors to cut off excess fabric through these openings and then turn the right side out through them. Be sure not to cut yourself on any loose threads when doing so.

Final Words

Hopefully, you’ve found these tips for making a sweatshirt smaller helpful. If you’re struggling to find a comfy fit, you can take comfort in the fact that there are ways to adjust it without breaking out your sewing kit.

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