How To Stretch Jeans


How To Stretch Your Jeans!

Stretching jeans is something that we all may have to do at some point in our denim lives. I myself have stretched out a lot of my jeans over the years and it’s definitely something that can be done quite easily. There are a few ways to do it, which I have listed below, but the best way (in my opinion) is by making the jeans wet.


Wet Stretching Jeans:

Whether your jeans are too small all over, or just too small in certain areas (the thighs, waist, butt etc), wet stretching will work. It’s very simple and very easy to do, it just requires patience and tolerance. There have been times where I have bought a pair of jeans and they have been too small and a bigger size was not available, so the only answer was stretching them out. It’s a simple 3 step process of water, wearing and stretching.

What you need to do is make the jeans damp, either all over, or very damp in the areas you need stretched. This is easy to do, just put water on them from the tap or you can give them a good soak with water in a spray bottle. I find warm water is better because it’s not such a shock to your skin. I don’t think anyone would really like walking/sitting around in cold and wet jeans.

After you have made your jeans wet, put them on. You will need to wear them around a lot, do lunges and squats, anything you can do to make the denim stretch. I must admit, to an outsider, the poses and techniques would look very weird! But it works. Obviously, if you have a delicate denim which is quite thin, be very careful when doing the lunges and squats, you don’t want to rip the fabric. If you want the waist stretched out, you can pull at it and tug it a lot when it’s wet, also, I used to put other items like small bottles or anything I could fit in between the waist of my jeans and my hips, this would help it stretch out more.

This method works the best when you have 100% cotton jeans or a mix of cotton/elastane jeans. It can be quite tricky to do this with poly blends and other different materials. You should leave your jeans on you, after all the stretching, until they dry. This will ensure that the denim will dry around your body instead of shrinking and drying when it’s off your body. Once you take them off you should have some luck with them being bigger than they were before you started.

Stretching Jeans With A Waistband Extender:

This is another, non wearing, way of stretching the waist of your jeans. You can buy something called a waistband stretcher and position it in the waistband of your jeans and leave it for a good while. It should stretch it out quite a bit. I haven’t personally tried this method, but I have used my own invention. I used a trouser hanger for a waistband stretcher. I slid the clips to each end, positioned it inside the waist of the jeans and then buttoned them up around it. You could see a lot of pulling, meaning it was stretched around it quite tight. I found that wetting the waistband helped even more though, wet denim just stretches so well.

Images courtesy of DenimBlog & Google Images.


  1. Thank you for this really informative post Lorna!!! I would love to see a “how to shrink jeans” posting too.. as I sometimes end up with jeans that are too big for me and smaller size is not available!

  2. It’s not the most comfortable and pleasant thing to do. Sometimes it just has to be done though lol. If you want them to stretch out, you have to put up with the weird feeling of them being wet on your skin.

  3. hi Lorna,

    hope u fine ,,,, nice post i like it very much,its really interesting & informative as well,
    thaks to share this precious information with us.

  4. You are welcome safdar! And yeah, you can buy a size up Kate, but this is mainly for if you love the jeans and a size up is not available 🙂 Usually though when you buy a size up, they stretch out and end up being too big anyway, so it’s always best to buy them really tight first.

  5. I am pretty sure I once saw a documentary on the history and culture of jeans where people also went in bathtubs with their jeans on in order to shrink them and fit them exactly to their bodies.

  6. That’s true Liz, but that’s for raw denim, jeans that are just denim untreated, completely in their raw form and unwashed, so that is the reason they need to do that. People still do that now, shrink to fit raw jeans, it’s quite a popular thing among the denim fanatics.

  7. That depends on how you wash them, if you wash them on a higher temperature then they will shrink a bit. Definitely don’t tumble dry them though, if you do that, they will shrink more, possibly smaller than before as well.

  8. hi Lorna,

    Thanks for your reply,
    YES,, you are absolutely right,,,you have quite enough knowledge about JEANS,,,
    NICE to talk to you,,,

  9. You mean make the actual leg opening wider? You could try wetting it and stretching it out with your hands, or if you wanted to make it really bigger, you can add some panels at the inseam, but you should probably ask a tailor to do that so they can match the denim and make it not very visible.

  10. In the 70’s we bought shrink to fit Levi’ s which we put on then sat in a hot bath to get a perfect fit! You also ended up with blue pants and legs

  11. Will this work for corduroy as well? I am 73 years old and doubt if I will be doing very many lunges or squats.

  12. I’ve not tried it with corduroy, but I have had cords that stretched out when wearing them, so it might work. Perhaps just wear them damp instead of doing the lunges or squats? It might help!

  13. Thank you. I will try it. There’s nothing to lose. They are brand new. I always wash all new clothes wearing them. This is one time I wish I hadn’t.

  14. Hi Lorna, and thank you both for your post and for all your replies to people’s comments.
    I don’t understand it: you can get your jeans wet both for shrinking them and for stretching them? then, what does the final result depend on? the water’s temperature? the way you dry the jeans? In my case, I have some clothes (jeans, t-shirts) that I want to shrink because I like them tight, but I have a pair of skinny jeans that are really skinny and look a bit ridiculous on me (I’m a guy, not a girl), so I want to stretch the lower part of the legs while keeping them tight on my thighs.

    Ohh and by the way, I like the feeling of wearing wet clothes as long as they aren’t cold 🙂

  15. Hi, it generally works for both due to temperature. Hot water will shrink the clothing, as well as drying them on a hot temperature. If you want to stretch, you need to dampen with cool or warm ish water and wear them. Wearing them while wet makes the fabric stretch more. If you don’t wear them after you wet them, nothing will happen. So when wet, it’s dependent on if you wear them to stretch them or if you dry them on hot without being worn. Hope that helps 🙂

  16. Hi guys. I have put a pair of Levi’s online. They got however they sit way to low on me. Is there a way to stretch the height between the crotch and waist? I’m not keen to have everything all hanging out!! Lol. Thank you.

  17. Hi Melissa,
    Unfortunately not really. Denim really only stretches outwards so trying to increase a rise isn’t really possible. I’ve never had any success with it or heard of it. The thing with low rise jeans I do is just wear a really long top, or buy a higher one. I don’t think there’s any way around it which is a shame isn’t it?

  18. Thanks so much idc how stupid I look this morning or how much my kids tease me today I will fit back into my favorite miss mes. God bless you

  19. Any ideas for stretching a jean jacket. Bought one online and the sleeves are really tight around my arms to wear I can’t move my arms :/ please help

  20. I would maybe say try the same thing as jeans, wet the arms quite a bit and wear the jacket, moving your arms around a lot to try and make the denim stretch out. It might work! I’ve not tried it on a denim jacket before, but the concept should be exactly the same since it’s the same fabric. Good luck with it and do let me know how it goes!

  21. I bought some highwaisted shorts and the crotch part is giving myemajor Camel tomy easy suggestions on positions I should use to stretch that part without making them look weird?

  22. Are they 100% cotton or vintage? That definitely can happen on the higher waisted, the only thing to truly do is pull them down a bit and wear them lower or size up. That part unfortunately isn’t stretchable.

  23. Awesome concept my machine jeans are made of cotton and spandex and elastine. I bought my right size but very skinny legs. I luv them but there tight in my waist and thighs and calves. Do I have to do lunges and squats and do I have to wet them completely.

  24. Hi, you will need to wet them everywhere you want to stretch them and do the stretches that will work most for those areas. I don’t have much experience with Machine Jeans, but I would wear them around without wetting them first to see if they give. Some jeans will stretch on their own while others need help. The last thing you want is to spend ages stretching them out to find out they will stretch on their own and then they are too baggy on you. Good luck!

  25. Hi, this depends entirely on the jeans and the fabric content. Some can stretch up to an inch, some less, some more. It varies on the construction of the jean and the fabric blend. Good luck!

  26. Hello!
    I bought this gorgeous pair of corduroys at a Land’s end outlet, and they fit everywhere except for the waist. I applied the water as you said, and they stretched out beautifully! So they do work with corduroys, although given that I’ll be using a regular dryer, I’ll probably have to do this regularly. Thanks!