Shrinkage: How Much do Jeans and Shirts Shrink?

In this article, we’ll discuss how the Todd Shelton brand eliminates shrinkage from its garments before customers receive them.

Clothing shrinks when washed. But how much will it shrink? It’s a common question when gauging what size to buy. The answer is rarely definitive, more so, it relies on a hunch or instincts we’ve develop through past experiences. But if you want your clothes to fit really well, a hunch isn’t good enough.

The last thing you want is to leave a store with a perfect fitting jean or shirt, wash it once, and be left with a fit that is no longer perfect. It happens to everyone, and often enough that we compensate for it by buying larger sizes, many times inaccurately and at the cost of a proper fit.

There are ways to care for garments that help avoid shrinkage: dry-cleaning or hand-washing and air drying and pressing. But for the basics—the clothing we wear every day—care instructions should be a wash-and-dry no-brainer.

As consumers, we’ve accepted the responsibility to instinctively gauge shrinkage. Store return policies allow you to return, but under conditions such as: “unwashed, unworn, with tags.” Once you wash it, the shrinkage is unveiled. But then you own it, regardless of whether the shrinkage affects the garment’s fit.

2015_0804_fabric_wash_800 Blog Shrinkage

At Todd Shelton, we resolve the shrinkage problem before it starts. We cut all of our fabrics into square blocks (above) and wash and dry the blocks. This pre-washing process removes the shrinkage from the fabric before we cut the garment. For us, this method ensures we always hit our target specs. For the customer, it means no guessing on shrinkage and consistent fits from one order to the next. Pre-washing is an additional process that adds time and costs to the garment’s price, but the reward is peace of mind and a garment the customer loves to wear.

We are the only company we’re aware of using this pre-wash process. Pre-washing fabrics is another way Todd Shelton differentiates itself from other clothing brands. Product expertise is as much a part of our company culture as customer service; pre-washing fabric reinforces both.

If you have questions on pre-washing fabric or how clothing shrinks, please contact us.

Quality basics handmade in America.