How to Stretch a Cotton Sweater

Keep your favorite cotton sweater in shape after washing.

Photo: Simon Lekias/Lifesize/Getty Images

Cotton sweaters keep you cozy and warm on cold winter days but tend to lose their shape after washing. Cotton fibers will often expand when wet and retract once they begin the drying process. This can make your favorite cotton sweater fit awkwardly when you try it on. So, if you have a cotton sweater with arms that are too short or a waistband that is less than forgiving -- stretch it out -- with a process known as blocking.


Wet the cotton sweater with water by dunking it in a sink or bathtub. Squeeze out as much water as possible after wetting the cotton sweater.


Lay a blocking board on a tabletop or stable work surface. Spread the sweater out on the blocking board.


Stretch the cotton sweater out to the desired shape and size, smoothing it with your hands as you stretch. Secure the stretched cotton sweater in place by pinning it to the blocking board with straight pins. Pinning will prevent the cotton fibers from shriveling during drying.


Give the cotton sweater a light spritzing with water from a spray bottle after stretching and pinning. Allow the cotton sweater to air dry, thoroughly.


Remove the pins after air-drying and slip on your cotton sweater. Repeat the process if your cotton sweater needs further stretching.

Things You'll Need


1.Blocking board

2.Straight pins


Tips & Tricks


If you have a clothes steamer, you can steam the cotton sweater after pinning. Steaming the pinned cotton sweater until it is dry will eliminate several hours worth of drying time.

Blocking boards are padded work surfaces, sold in sewing, fabric and craft stores.

Do not remove the pins before the cotton sweater dries. If you do, the cotton fabric will revert back to its original state.


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