Learn how to make your clothes tighter. 

Maybe you have lost a bit of weight or gotten a hand-me-down from your brother and the clothes are too loose?

Or the piece of clothing you ordered online was a size too large, baggy at the waist and it costs too much to send it back.

This article will help you tighten your jeans, sweatpants, joggers, t-shirts, shirts, hoodies, shorts or any other piece in your wardrobe.

Table Of Contents

How To Make Clothes Tighter: 9 Ways

Remember that you can always take a piece of clothing in, but it’s much harder (almost impossible) to extend and add to your clothes. So always buy big, if you are unsure, and look at our specific guides on how to make anything tighter.

Once you have tightened your clothes sufficiently be sure to deal with them properly so they are ready to wear when needed.

If they are still wet when at your desired size then dry your clothes without a dryer. Choosing to dry flat or line dry is always a good choice. Lastly fold your clothes or hang up your dress pants / hang jeans so they are wrinkle free.

1. Take your clothes to a tailor

The most efficient and effective way to tighten any piece of clothing is to take them to a tailor. It will be the most expensive option since every other option is free. However, a tailor will ensure you get the exact results you want because they alter clothes for a living.

If you don’t have a tailor nearby you can try your local dry cleaner. They often have altering options available as well.

2. Tailor your clothes yourself

Altering your own clothes can be the second most effective way to tighten whatever piece of clothing you need. If you know what you are doing with a sewing machine and scissors, then I suggest choosing this option. To tailor your clothes yourself, you will need these tools:

  • Sewing machine
  • Sewing tape
  • Chalk
  • Pins
  • Scissors
  • Flat surface
  • Thread

3. Shrink your clothes

Shrinking your clothes will make them tighter, yet you will have far less control over what areas get tighter and how much shrinking occurs. Cotton, polyester and denim have their own interaction with shrinking methods and each piece of clothing usually has its own type of fabric. 

Learn more about how polyester interacts, with can you shrink polyester?

Before you start shrinking your clothes, read the instructions tag and read our guides on that specific piece of clothing. Not all of these methods below will work for each piece of your wardrobe.

4. Wash clothes in hot water to shrink

Washing your clothes in hot water will make your clothes tighter. The heat from the hot water will shrink the fabric of whichever piece of clothing you are trying to make smaller (this is how long a washer takes). When washing your clothes sort them into these 3 categories to not ruin them.

wash clothes in hot water to shrink

5. Steam iron clothes to shrink

Using a steam iron will make the fibres of the fabric react the same way as putting them in the washer on the “hot water” setting. With the steam iron, you will focus on single areas to tighten and shrink. This will allow you to pick and choose the issue areas.

6. Put clothes in the dryer to shrink

Putting your clothes into the dryer is another form of applying heat to fabric to shrink the fibres. You can use this hot dryer method with wet clothes (after washing your clothes) or put them into the dryer when they are completely dry. I do not suggest putting your dry clothes in a dryer option too often, as that will weaken and break down the fabrics over time.

When using the dryer you will have a few options, let me help you understand what tumble dry means. Knowing how to use a dryer may not be as simple as you have previously thought.

Learn how long does a dryer take & how hot does a dryer get.

put clothes in dryer to shrink

7. Boil clothes to shrink

Boil your clothes in water on your kitchen stove for a quick shrinking of your clothes. Although boiling your clothes will only take 5-15 minutes, it is the most dangerous of all these options, so please be careful. 

Tools needed to boil your clothes:

  • 20L Stockpot
  • Tongs (to remove the pieces)
  • Stovetop 
  • Drying rack

8. Wear clothes in bathtub to shrink

You can wear your pants in the bathtub and submerge yourself in lukewarm water to tighten them. After 10-15 minutes submerged, you need to get out of the tub and keep your pants on until they are dry, perhaps 60+ minutes. If you are to try this, I suggest you do it on a hot summer’s day to dry as fast as possible.

This method mainly works with jeans, sweatpants and other pants that have fabrics that can be shrunk. I do not suggest you try this way on any top.

9. Hair dry clothes to shrink

A second way to spot shrink your clothes is to use your hairdryer. This is the least effective way to tighten your clothes out of this list. Only do this if none of the other options are available or you are very short on time. 

hair dry clothes to shrink

Follow our other guides to help you tighten uo your clothes:


You can make clothes tighter by shrinking them. There are many options to shrink your clothes, however, you should know that shrinking will be less specific than sewing and may shorten the life of your clothing.

To make clothes fit smaller you can get them tailored, sew and alter them yourself or lastly shrink them.

The best way to tighten baggy clothes is to take them to a tailor and get them to alter them for you. This will give you the best fitting and looking piece of clothing once finished. The second option is to shrink them at home.