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From time to time denim brands such as J Brand, Paige and Citizens of Humanity give me jeans to wear as a uniform when I’m working on the shop floor at Liberty. I most always have a sizing dilemma due to being an apple body shape, my legs and derriere are half a size smaller than my waist. So the smaller size looks great but I feel uncomfortable around the waist. I would love to be able to stretch the waistband to feel half an inch more comfortable.
I’m sure whatever your body shape is, you too have a pair of jeans that sit in your closet not worn due to the waist or hips being too tight!
So I checked out if it was possible to really stretch jeans!
My findings were that Downy Wrinkle Releaser is just the ticket for stretching jeans a half a size, as it loosens the fibres. Normally used as a travel accessory, if you don’t have an iron handy.
So it could be possible that it could stretch out a waistband, right? I tried to hunt down this miracle worker but sadly it’s not sold in the UK and double the price to get it shipped over from the US. If you’re a US reader please try it for me and give me some feedback on how it worked for you!
On further investigation, I found that you can make your own wrinkle releaser by using fabric softener, warm water and a spray. So I’m putting it to the test on my latest pair of J Brand Houlihans that are an inch too tight on the waist.
Before starting this experiment the waist measured a 13.5 inch across.
So the jeans are now dry and they now measure 14.5 inches so an extra inch added to the waist was exactly what I needed! Perfect!
Wow Gaia, thank you for the denim love. You ask a lot of questions here which I will be happy to reply to you in coming blog posts, so keep reading.
If you’re able to get Downy wrinkle Releaser let me know how that works for you. With washing you sound like your doing the right thing, keep it a cold wash and hang it out to dry away from heat, especially jeans with stretch as the heat snaps the elastic fibres and will pukka the jeans .
Jeans really shouldn’t be washed that much so try to resist the urge to keep them looking worn. Maybe rotate them with another pair. The Hi-Def J Brand will snap back to the original size when you wash them if they stretch slightly, you will always get some stretch that’s the beauty of denim!
With regards to stretching I’m still experimenting on different fabric content, going to do my Levis 505c next as they pinch in the waist, I’ll let you know how it goes. Thank you Gaia for all your questions . Sam x
Thanks for the reality check. I’m going to stop buying stretch jeans.
For 100% cotton, no stretch jeans, is it best to buy them in the size that looks best new or a size smaller if the smaller size is comfortable? This question is specifically for the JBrand Ivy jean, which does not hug the body below the widest part of the hip.
Thank you! This is a very valuable post! As always. You are such a big help.
Were the jeans that you stretched 100% cotton or stretch denim and is there a difference in how these fabrics respond to fabric softener?
I imagine that it’s important to keep fabric softener away from denim if you don’t want it to grow.
I recently discovered that JBrand high-def stretch and 100% cotton jeans & Mother jeans fit me better than other brands. (Yay!)
Following the advice of your size post, I purchased the 23 in high def stretch to allow for bagging out. Except for my upper thighs which are disproportionately narrow, a size 24 would have looked just as good. The 24 was gapping just below the seat and the 23 gaps less. After a day of wear, the 23 was folding over under the seat. I have to wonder if the 24 would have folded over any more, since the area of concern was stretching an equal amount while I was sitting? Might a looser size bag out less with wear? I haven’t washed these jeans yet. They were a huge investment and I’m worried that I won’t get them back to the way they looked when I first put them on, which was almost perfect.
Is there any treatment or means of washing that discourages bagging out or encourages recovery?
I usually wash in cold water, delicate cycle with SoapX (a fragrance free pH neutral cleaner) and then hang by the ankles to dry. Any additional advice to prevent stretch?
I recently ordered the JBrand Ivy jean, which is 100% cotton. I sized up to a 24 because it’s not supposed to be a tight fit. I wanted to have a pair of jeans that looks like something Katherine Hepburn pr Audrey Hepburn would wear in 2016. Although they always wore their pants on the waist and these sit at my hip bone.)
They fit me pretty much like they fit the model on the web site, with the waist band at the hip bone and a slightly dropped crotch. The waist at the hip bone is perfect for me because I have narrow hips and a short waist. With a fitted top, like a poor boy sweater or fitted t, I can show off my waist and stomach without that uncomfortable Lady Gaga looking corset effect of super high rise tight no stretch denim. If these jeans grow, I will have problems keeping them up without a belt. If I size down, I worry that wear and stretch will distort their shape, giving me a baggy seat with fold over, and baggy knees. There is a lot of air between the jeans and the back of my thighs below the back pockets, and I wouldn’t want a saggy seat to start to flop over in that area. If it just drapes, that would be fine.
In your experience with JBrand, is it important to buy a size smaller than you want and expect them to grow a size? Or would that distort the expert tailoring of these jeans?
If I keep the size 24 and they grow, is there a reliable, undamaging way to shrink them back? Perhaps put the waist in hot water?
Regarding proportion… My legs, hips and mid-section (but not my over-sized bubble butt) are my best features. Is there a way to wear non-skinny jeans without hiding my best attributes?
Is there any way to wear a cropped jean (boyfriend or skinny) without making legs look shorter? I don’t see myself well, but often when I people watch, I don’t like the way cropped pants sometimes seem to shorten the leg. Often, they don’t seem to shorten the leg. I’m not sure what’s making the difference. It’s certainly not heel height or the height of the person. Is it where the crop hits the leg? Is it better to wear jeans that go down to or over the ankle? And is there a flattering way to wear skinny jeans without going spray paint tight, which may be passe?
BTW, I’m 5’8 ½”, slim, muscular, small bones, boy-shaped except for my not so slim butt, which I struggle to keep from looking dumpy in jeans. Keeping my legs looking as elongated as possible would be flattering.
I’m going to go to Urban outfitters this weekend to try on their Urban Renewal Remade Uneven Hem Jean and their Urban Renewal Remade Levi’s Frayed Jean. My rationale is that if I buy vintage, the jeans are already stretched out. How cropped is too short?
I didn’t buy Mother because I was worried that their stretch denim would stretch out more than JBrand hi-def. Do you know how these fabrics hold up to heavy wear? Should I save stretch jeans for dress up?
Is there any other denim brand that fits like Mother and JBrand that I could try? I like comfortably loose no stretch. And, I like stretch that goes in all directions, like JBrand hi-def. Have no experience with stretch denim looking good over time, yet. I hope my recent JBrand purchase will be the first. Of many. 🙂
THANK YOU for your wisdom…:)