Do Jeans Stretch: Types of Denim and Their Stretch

Do Jeans Stretch
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Jeans can be unpredictable, and even if they are bought from a high-end brand, the quality and fit may change. Depending on how you use them, how they are washed and dried, and the material they are made of, they either shrink or stretch. But, do jeans stretch more often than shrink?

When the denim stretches too much or shrinks down to a much smaller size, it is disappointing and a total waste of money. Thus, we looked into some qualities of the jeans, the common dilemmas, and practical solutions to improve the quality.

Do Jeans Stretch: Types of Denim Fabrications

One common thing about jeans, regardless of brands and cost, is that they stretch and become baggy over time. Fortunately, you can identify how soon it stretches out or determine the amount of stretch by identifying the different types of denim fabrications based on the size of the jeans you intend to buy.

1. 100% Cotton

No matter what you do, 100% cotton denim always stretches out. Without any stretch in its fabrication, the cotton threads expand and do not return to their original state.

There’s one thing that can bring back its smaller size though: wash and dry it on hot. However, it comes back permanently and will stretch right back out again.

Here is another critical fact about cotton jeans: they stretch between one to 1.5 inches within three months of everyday wear.

As such, the technique when buying 100% cotton jeans is to choose the smaller size, and make them damp while wearing them. The water will stretch the denim immediately according to your size. You can also go for pre-loved cotton jeans which were already broken in by the previous owner.

2. 98/2 Stretch Mixtures

Jeans made of 98% cotton and 2% lycra or elastane stretch out but not as extreme as the 100% cotton denim. When they stretch, they always stay stretched. Unlike cotton denim, you can’t do anything to recover their original state, which means they get looser as you wear them a few times.

What you can do to get the most out of these types of jeans is to buy a size as tight as you can handle. Wear them a few times until they lose their stretch and perfectly fit on you. Do note though that you shouldn't wash them on hot as it will break the 2% elastic material, causing them to stretch out too much.

3. Cotton-Polyester Blends

This denim is a combination of 60% cotton and 40% polyester. A lot of jeans do not have this kind of denim blend nowadays, but they were popular back in the Rock and Republic days.

Among the denim blends, it is the one that does not stretch out much at all. In other words, it holds its shape and size, and it tends to run smaller due to the non-stretch aspect.

This denim blend, though, is a bit stiff; it is not the most comfortable. It can also give a lot of gapping at the back of the waist because of the fabrication.

4. Four-Way Stretch Denim

Examples of four-way stretch types of denim are yoga pants and DL1961 jeans. These are the types of jeans that do not sag or lose their shape because they are elastic in four various directions. Also, they get back to their original form. These are as comfortable as jeggings, soft and stretchy, but made with thicker materials.

5. Jeggings

These are very comfortable and stretchable as well, but you need to pay extra care to them. They are prone to stretch out and become saggy.

Some cheaper brands become baggy quickly, while others are made with high-quality materials that stretch minimally. How much you wear them also affects their quality and stretch.

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Which Part of the Jean Loses Stretch First: A Guide

Jeans lose stretch immediately on the areas that experience the most stretch. This part is usually the knee area. For individuals who have a little bit chunky waist or those who wear too small sizes of jeans, the waist part also immediately loses the elasticity.

Although some jeans return to their original stretch, they lose this ability over time. There's a lot of factors that cause it. Wearing jeans and washing and drying them are the most common reasons of elasticity loss.

How to Shrink Back Your Denim: A Tried-and-Tested Hack

You can't prevent your jeans from stretching out, but there are some hacks that you can do to help bring back their original size. Here is one recommended hack for you:

  • If you bought a little larger size or they have gotten loose, put them inside the washer in the hottest setting. Don't put any fabric conditioner. This hack works for denim that is 100% cotton or close to this percentage.
  • After washing them on a warm setting, throw them in the dryer with the highest setting as well. The high temperature compresses the denim fibers which causes the jeans to be smaller than they were.
  • If the waistband is already stretched out, get a six-inch piece of elastic fabric, which can be bought from any fabric shops. Sew it on the inside of the waistband.
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How to Maintain Jean's Quality: Proper Care and Washing

Once you have found the jeans that perfectly fit you, it will be smart to keep an eye on how much you wash them. This is especially true if you want to keep their color, shape, and size.

Here are some basic ways on the proper care and maintenance of jeans:

  • According to denim experts, do not always throw your jeans into the washing machine. Wash them as little as possible, too.
  • Before you toss them in the machine, turn them inside out, and use cold water to help retain the color. Better yet, hand-wash the jeans and use a few amounts of detergent or the soaps intended for wools.
  • Instead of tossing them in the dryer, hang them under the sun. The solar heat will naturally dry the jeans. Plus, the UV rays will help deodorize them.


Do jeans stretch? Yes, they lose their shape and size quickly, and it can be very frustrating. Well, the secret to buying perfect-fitting denim is already presented in this article. Depending on the blend and amount of elasticity in the fabrics, you can evaluate the size you need to buy.

How often you wash your jeans and how you do it also affects the quality and stretch. Stretching is a common dilemma in jeans, but it can be fixed in simple ways!

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