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The perfect fit is an elusive quality that’s difficult to find and even harder to maintain. Once you’ve snagged a shirt that hugs your curves just so, you may find yourself dreading the moment you pull it from the dryer to discover what damage has been done. To keep your shirts in shape, you should be mindful of how they’re washed, dried, stored and even worn to protect every piece from wear, tear and misshapen mishaps.
Check the labels on your shirts to make sure you’re washing them properly. Cotton tanks and tees can stand up to even hot water in the machine, but many sweaters should be washed by hand to prevent damage. Even if a sweater’s label says it can be machine washed, you may still want to do it by hand if you’re particularly concerned about shaping. When you do put clothing in the washer, make sure to fasten the buttons and zippers. This will help keep your shirts from getting twisted, tangled, stretched and misshapen as they spin around in the washing machine.
As with washing, a quick look at the label will give you an idea of where to start. Many pieces can go through the dryer just fine. If you’re concerned about shrinkage or damage and want to hang a shirt up to dry, be sure to fold the piece over the hanger. Never hang wet clothing by the shoulder as this will stretch it out. In most cases, delicate clothing such as sweaters should be laid flat to dry.
Folding is a sure way to prevent shirts from stretching. You never have to worry about how the hanger fits or where it falls on the piece. Sweaters should always be folded, while sturdier items such as tees can sometimes be hung. In an appearance on the “Today Show,” Today Style Editor Bobbie Thomas recommended Precision hangers for keeping the shape of garments that are hung while avoiding dimples and holes.
Some especially delicate pieces, like wool sweaters, need more than your standard routine for washing and drying. This is where reshaping comes in. Before washing your sweater, trace the shape onto a piece of paper. Hand wash the sweater and roll in a towel to squeeze out excess moisture. Cover the paper pattern in plastic wrap to protect it from the damp sweater, and place the garment on top of the pattern. Gently press and stretch the fabric with your hands to mold the shape until it again matches the pattern perfectly. This will fix any stretching that occurred in the laundering process and ensure that your favorite sweaters keep the same fit every time.