Stretch jeans are all the rage these days. However, if you’ve got a pair of regular denim pants that don’t contain elastane, you might want to get the same kind of comfortable fit without having to resort to out shopping.
When you purchase a pair of regular 100% cotton jeans, there’s a good chance that they won’t have the perfect fit you imagined. Even if you were hoping for a painted-on look, you certainly don’t want to be squeezing yourself into denim that cuts off your circulation and leaves you gasping for breath! One problem with cotton jeans, though, is that they do tend to stretch out over time and that means you might want to go for a smaller size in the first place so that you can end up with a fit that’s as close to ideal as possible.
Whether your new pants are too snug at the waist, hips or legs, the good news is that it’s possible to stretch jeans to the ideal size. Here, we take a closer look at how to stretch jeans quickly and easily using tried and tested methods.
Jeans Too Tight? Do Squats
If your new jeans are just a little too snug, there’s a simple way to stretch them just enough to make them comfortable. Even better, no special equipment or items are needed – just your jeans and your own body!
First, put the jeans on – this method won’t work if your jeans are so tight that you can’t fit into them at all. Button them up before beginning the stretching process.
Next, do squats. You’ll need to do them for a minimum of one minute. Stand straight and keep your feet at hip-width apart.
Bend at the knees so your bottom and hips are lowered as if you were going to sit down on a chair. Take care to prevent your knees from extended past the ends of your toes. Push back through the heels, so you slowly rise up to the position in which you started.
Repeat for up to five minutes or as long as you feel comfortable. Remember that the longer the length of time you repeat this exercise for, the more stretched and comfortable your jeans will feel.
Another option is to do lunges if the butt and thighs of the jeans require stretching. However, the best course of action is to do those as well as squats since they won’t be able to stretch the jeans quite as much on their own.
Once you’ve completed these exercises, it’s time to check whether your pants are more comfortable now. Stand up, walk around and sit down while wearing the jeans. This will help you to determine whether you have stretched them enough.
They should hopefully feel looser, but if you have purchased the wrong size, they will probably still feel tight. If this is the case, move onto the next step.
Need Some Stretch? Heat Your Jeans
One way of helping to stretch your jeans a more moderate amount is to heat them up by using your hairdryer. You can do this by following the method outlined here:
First, lay your jeans down on your bed or floor. Choose a space that is near to a power outlet so that you won’t have any difficulty in plugging your hairdryer in. Place the jeans with the front side facing upwards and spread them out carefully so you can heat them up more evenly.
Turn on the hairdryer to a medium setting and hold it around 6” above your jeans. While you heat up the denim, take care to continuously move the hairdryer to evenly heat every area. Once you’ve heated up the front side of the jeans, turn them so you can heat the back. Although you don’t need to heat up both the front and back of the pants, it’ll help to give more stretch, which is something you may require if your jeans are very uncomfortable.
Once your jeans are warm on both sides, grab opposite sides with your hands and pull hard in opposite directions so the fabric can be stretched. Move your hands down and up the entire surface taking care to pull the denim hard in all of the areas that require stretching.
Another option is to put both hands inside the jeans before using the strength in your arms to push the opposite sides of the hips, waist, calf and thighs apart. This will help to stretch the areas that are most uncomfortable when worn.
If you need the waist of your jeans to be larger, unbutton your jeans before placing both of your bent elbows in the waistband. Push your arms away from each other as this will effectively stretch out the fabric.
If you find that the jeans have begun cooling down before you’ve finished the stretching process, simply switch the hairdryer back on to heat them up again.
Once you’ve finished stretching them, put your jeans on, zipping and buttoning them up before you carry on stretching them. You should find that they have a more comfortable fit now, although they may still feel a little tight. If they still need to be stretched a little more, try the lunges and squats method outlined above.
Need Even More Stretch? Wet Your Pants
The best way to maximize the amount of stretch in your too-tight jeans is to wet them before stretching them.
First, lay the jeans out carefully on the floor. Spread them out evenly so it’s easier to dampen the fabric. Bear in mind that in some cases the dye used to darken the denim might stain when it’s wet. Therefore, putting down a couple of old towels or plastic garbage bags before trying this method could be a good idea.
If you need to stretch the waistband, make sure you’ve unbuttoned the pants so you won’t pull the button off accidentally.
Alternatively, you could wear your jeans while you’re wetting them, as this will help them to mold to the shape of your body. Bear in mind, though, that wearing wet denim is very uncomfortable, and this isn’t a suitable option if you can’t get the jeans on before they’ve been stretched out.
Using a spray bottle filled with warm water, cover a small amount of the fabric with the water. While the fabric should be damp, you don’t need to soak it. Work downwards from the waistband, only wetting one area at a time. It’s a good idea to add a teaspoon of liquid fabric softening solution to the spray bottle before wetting the jeans, as this helps to effectively soften denim allowing it to stretch more easily.
Next, stand on one side of the jeans so they are held firmly in place. Put your feet close to the part of the jeans you’re going to stretch so that they’re pinned to the ground and stretch while you’re pulling on them.
Then grab the opposite side of the jeans to the part you’re standing on firmly in both hands and pull hard. Work over the entire jeans’ surface, pulling them in all sections that need stretching. Once you’ve completed one side, move onto the opposite side of the jeans and repeat the process.
Avoid pulling the pockets or belt loops since these are weak areas and could tear. Allow the jeans to dry in the open air before wearing them. Hang them out to dry on a washing line or drape them over a table or chair, leaving them out to dry for around 2 to 3 hours or preferably overnight.
Take a Bath
There is another way to wet and stretch your jeans, which was especially popular during the 1970s – taking a bath while wearing them!
You can do this by putting on the jeans and then relaxing in a warm tub of water for between 15 and 20 minutes. Make sure the water isn’t too hot when you do this. Once the time has elapsed, you can then “bake” the denim by going out to sit in the sunshine until they have fully dried to fit your body shape. While your jeans are “baking” on your body, you can do squats, bends and lunges to break them in even more thoroughly.
Stretching the Waist
If the rest of your jeans fit fine, but the waistband is too tight, you can stretch it by using a waistband stretcher. This is a device similar to that used for stretching shoes, and it is very user-friendly. Just dampen the waistband of your jeans with some lukewarm water, put the stretcher into the waistband then turn the handle. This will stretch the waist to the right size.
Leave the stretcher in place overnight to achieve the best results or, if over an inch of stretching is required, return every couple of hours to turn the handle a few more times until you reach the desired width. If you don’t have a waistband stretcher or don’t want to buy one, you could always make one yourself at home.
Using Your Head
When you’ve found that your jeans have become too tight due to shrinkage in the washing machine, there’s a strange way of stretching them back into shape – using your own head!
Although this sounds like a bizarre solution, it’s surprisingly effective. Just put your jeans over your head like a scarf, with each leg covering your ears. Grab the end of one leg in one hand while using the opposite hand to hold the material steady then pull and stretch.
Interestingly, your head will give extra strength and balance while allows you to effectively pull the fabric further and with greater force. Pull hard, release, then repeat around 5 times for each leg.
Using a Foam Roller
If you own a foam roller, you may find that it’s the perfect solution when it comes to stretching out your too-tight jeans. This method is especially effective if it’s the thighs of your pants that need to be stretched.
First, lay the jeans flat on your table or other hard surface. Use a spray bottle filled with lukewarm water and spray them evenly from the pocket’s bottom down to the knee, both on the back and front of the leg.
Next, insert the foam roller into the leg and leave it in place for about ten minutes before repeating the process for the opposite leg.
The amount of stretch you can achieve with this method will be determined by how wide your foam roller is, but if you don’t have one to hand, you can use a paper towel roll to achieve the same effect.
Wear Your Jeans Repeatedly
If you’ve ever worn one pair of jeans several times in a row, you’ll know that they stretch naturally over time. If you don’t fancy the idea of taking a bath in your denim and don’t feel like sitting around using a hairdryer on your pants, you could just try repeatedly wearing your jeans day after day until they finally feel far less snug and uncomfortable. Avoid washing your jeans for as long as you can, and you’ll find that they eventually break in, conforming to your natural body shape.
Getting the Perfect Fit From Your Jeans
As you can see, stretching your jeans to achieve the perfect fit isn’t necessarily a difficult task, although it can be quite a time-consuming one. The best solution is to purchase jeans in the correct size to begin with so that you can enjoy a comfortable fit from day one.