Welcome to our article helping you stretch your t-shirt.

Before stretching your t-shirt, you must know that stretching the fabric will only be a short-term answer to a long-term problem. You may want to buy a Tall T-shirt instead.

The smarter option is to tailor your t-shirt, but the possibilities will also be limited since it’s easier to take a tee in instead of making it larger.

Once you have stretched your shirt to the size you desire, you will want to hang or fold it for storing. And whenever you wash your t-shirt next, do not put it in a dryer. 

Table of Contents

how to stretch a t-shirt

How To Stretch A T-shirt

Try out one of the 6 options to stretch your t-shirt out below. And if you have other pieces of clothing to stretch, check out our other guides.

Stretch a t-shirt with conditioner

Total Time: 15 min

Cost: $0

Supplies & Tools

  • Large container
  • Hair conditioner
  • Towel
  • Ironing board
  • Iron
  • Weights
this is a photo of a large container to stretch a t-shirt
Sink
this is a photo of an ironing board to stretch a t-shirt
Ironing board
this is a photo of hair conditioner to stretch a t-shirt
Conditioner
this is a photo of an iron to stretch a t-shirt
Iron
this is a photo of a towel to stretch a t-shirt
Towel
This is a photo of weights to stretch a t-shirt
Weights

1. Soak the t-shirt in a large container

Soak your t-shirt in the sink or a large bowl. Make sure to use room temperature-to-lukewarm water and saturate every area of the t-shirt that you want to be stretched. The level of the water should sufficiently cover the t-shirt.

this is a photo of a t-shirt soaking in tap water to stretch it

2. Add hair conditioner to the mix

Add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) of hair conditioner per 1 quart (1 litre) of water. Or be like me and just give a few good squirts. Once added, mix it up with your hand to ensure the conditioner doesn’t stay in globs and fully dissolves into the water. The hair conditioner will soften the fibres, making them easier to stretch.

this is a photo of hair conditioner being added to t-shirt water to stretch it

3. Let the t-shirt soak in the mixture for 15 minutes

Keep the t-shirt flat and submerged for 15 minutes. It’s easiest to put the t-shirt on top of the bowl or sink and then gently press it into the water, ensuring the conditioned water gets into every fibre of the t-shirt. If it’s wadded up, areas of the shirt will shrink differently.

this is a t-shirt soaking in a mixture of hair conditioner and water

4. Rinse the t-shirt thoroughly of mixture

Drain the mixture of water and conditioner then rinse the t-shirt thoroughly. You can refill the container you used and agitate the t-shirt in the fresh water as one way to do this. Another is to hold the shirt under running water and continuously massage the t-shirt.

this is a photo of tall paul rinsing the t-shirt thoroughly of the conditioner water

5. Lay the damp t-shirt flat on towels

Lay the shirt down on a flat area, such as a tabletop, freezer lid or the floor. Lay down some towels first to protect the shirt (and the surface, if you don’t want it wet).

this is a photo of a damp t-shirt flat on a towel before stretching it

6. If your t-shirt has a graphic then iron it now

If there is a graphic on your tee that you don’t want to stretch, iron it now. Stretching a t-shirt can distort the image on it. However, if you dry the picture first, it won’t stretch as much as the bottom and sides of your shirt (the areas you want to be stretched) because they’re still wet.

If your t-shirt has a graphic then iron it now

7. Use your forearms to stretch the t-shirt

Place your forearms inside the part of the shirt that you want to stretch. If you want it wider, stretch the shirt outwards, ensuring not to put too much pressure on one spot. This can leave a strange “dent” sticking out in one place on the shirt.

this is a photo of tall paul stretching a t-shirt with his forearms

8. Lay the stretched t-shirt on a towel with weights to dry

Spread the stretched shirt out on a towel to dry. If you’re worried about it shrinking, place weights on the edges. If you’re looking for a larger bust or stomach, you can place objects within the t-shirt to stretch those areas out even more.

this is a photo of a t-shirt stretched out with weights on it to dry

How to stretch a t-shirt with conditioner: quick tips

  • Use baby shampoo if you don’t have a conditioner.
  • The quality of the conditioner won’t change the outcome, so cheap is just fine.
  • Hold it flat toward the bottom of the bowl to stop it from gathering, and ensure every fibre gets infused with the conditioned water. Once thoroughly soaked, it should stay submerged. Leave it there for 10-15 minutes.
  • Spend at least 5 minutes rinsing the shirt.
  • Squeeze the water out of the shirt to speed up the drying process. But do not wring it.
  • If you want your shirt to be longer, stretch from the neck and the bottom, pulling it longer in opposite directions. Work from left to right, ensuring all sides of the t-shirt are equally stretched.
  • Keep your shirt away from direct sunlight while it dries because it may shrink your hard-earned work.

Stretch a t-shirt with an iron

Total Time: 15 min

Cost: $0

Supplies & Tools

  • Water basin
  • Iron
  • Ironing board
  • Weights
this is a photo of a water basin to stretch a t-shirt with an iron
Sink
this is a photo of an ironing board to stretch a t-shirt with an iron
Ironing board
this is a photo of an iron to stretch a t-shirt with an iron
Iron
this is a photo of weights to stretch a t-shirt with an iron
Weights

1. Soak your t-shirt in cool tap water before ironing

Wet the entire t-shirt in cool water. Hold it flat towards the bottom of a bowl or a sink to ensure it’s evenly wet.

this is a photo of a t-shirt soaking in cool tap water

2. Lay the damp t-shirt on an ironing board

Lay it on a flat area for ironing. Wring it out to eliminate excess water to prevent dripping and soak your surface or ironing board. An ironing board is best, but you could also use the countertop or floor if you’re careful.

this is a photo of a damp t-shirt on an ironing board

3. Stretch the t-shirt on medium-low heat

With your iron on medium-low, start going over the t-shirt using pressure. With the iron in one hand and the shirt in another, start pulling and pressing with the iron. Use the iron with force, stretching the t-shirt as the iron passes over it, forcing it outward.

this is a photo of tall paul stretching a t-shirt with an iron

4. Leave ironed t-shirt on ironing board to dry

Make sure the t-shirt is flat and give it a final tug. Spread it out, and place weights around the edges if you’d like.

this is a photo of an ironed stretched t-shirt drying on an ironing board with weights on it

Stretch a t-shirt on a chair

Total Time: 15 min

Cost: $0

Supplies & Tools

  • Water basin
  • Chair
this is a photo of a water basin to stretch a t-shirt on a chair
Sink
This is a photo of a chair to stretch a t-shirt on a chair
Chair

1. Soak your t-shirt before stretching on a chair

Get the entire T-shirt wet. Either take the t-shirt after it has been washed in the washing machine or dunk it into a tub of water until all the fabric is wet.

this is a photo of a t-shirt soaking in a sink before stretching on a chair

2. Wring out the t-shirt until slightly damp

After the t-shirt has been soaked, grab it between your two hands and wring it out until all the excess water has dripped off.

this is a photo of a t-shirt being wrung out

3. Pull the damp t-shirt over the back of a chair

Pull the damp t-shirt over the back of a dining chair. Or, choose another appropriately-sized chair that the water won’t damage.

this is a photo of tall paul pulling the damp t-shirt over a chair to stretch it

4. Let the t-shirt dry on the chair back

Allow the shirt to dry in the same position as where you pulled it down on. As it dries, the chair’s shape will stretch the t-shirt nicely for you.

Stretch a t-shirt in the shower

Wear the t-shirt in the shower. Clothes stretch more when they’re wet. So, wear your shirt the next time you’re in the shower (a warm-hot shower). Tug on it in all the areas you want to be stretched. 

Stretch a t-shirt on a larger body

Have a larger friend wear the t-shirt. They need to be noticeably larger than you in size. Whether height or bulkiness, to make a difference in how your shirt will fit once handed back. There is no need to get the shirt wet. Instead get them to wear it for a few hours or get them to sleep in it for a night.

Let these articles help you take the best care of your shirt once stretched.

FAQ

Yes, you can stretch shirts to make them bigger; however, your shirt’s shape may not look how you desire anymore. Also, it may shrink back to its original size after washing and drying.

To make your t-shirt bigger you need to get it soaking wet and do one of these three things. Put it on and pull on the parts you want bigger, fit it onto the back of a chair or lay it flat and put weights onto the areas you just pulled.