Have you recently made an online purchase that has left you with a pair of sweatpants that are too tight?

Maybe your favourite sweats don’t fit you after your most recent growth spurt or gains in the gym! Or you over-shrunk them with our in-depth article how to shrink sweatpants.

If you don’t want to spend more money getting another pair of sweatpants, this article is for you. I will show you how to stretch sweatpants & how to make sweatpants bigger so they can be styled with your most recent look.

Table of Contents

  • Fastest way to stretch sweatpants: Spray and Stretch
  • Best way to stretch sweatpants: Soak and Stretch
how to stretch sweatpants

How To Stretch Sweatpants?

Total Time: 3 hrs

Cost: $0

  • Buy your drying rack for $32.22

Supplies & Tools

  • Drying rack
this is a drying rack to stretch sweatpants

Before taking these steps below, I suggest you give up on this pair of sweatpants you want to stretch and instead buy a new pair that fits you perfectly. The work you will put into stretching them has a very high chance of rebounding back to their original size in very little time.

If your mind is set on the stretch, I will give you the best steps to succeed in this alteration venture of yours. Here is how to stretch out sweatpants.

Soak and stretch

By choosing this option, thoroughly soaking them will stretch the entirety of your sweatpants.

To start, you will want to have a basin big enough to submerse them with water in it. I suggest using your bathtub, kitchen sink or YETI Hard Cooler. May as well give it something more to do than hold your beers in the summer!

1. Soak your sweatpants

Soak your sweatpants in warm water with 15mL of baby shampoo. If you do not have baby shampoo, then substitute it with 15mL of conditioner, and if you don’t have then, then plain water will do. Let the pants stay fully submerged for 1 hour before you take them out and try to stretch them.

this is a photo of sweatpants going to soak in water

2. Hang the sweatpants after soaking

Take out the sweatpants and do not wring them out. Instead, hang them dripping wet from a clothing line outside or drying rack inside. If you choose the drying rack, make sure you put down a towel to soak up the drippings. 

The weight of the water will pull on the fabric and stretch them out as they dry. This option will give you very little control over which areas of the pants will be stretched.

this is a photo of sweatpants hanging on a drying rack after soaking

3. Stretch the sweatpants after soaking

Take out the sweatpants and lay them across your drying rack or on a flat surface. Take each hand and pull in opposite directions on the areas you want to be stretched. This option will give you more control of what happens to your pants compared to hanging them.

this is sweatpants being stretched by hand after soaking

4. Sit in a bathtub with sweatpants on

Instead of submerging the sweatpants by themselves, this option will have you putting them on and wearing them in the tub. Fill your tub with warm water and sit down for 15 minutes, making sure all of the fabric is underwater. 

Keep the pants on when you get out and wear them until they are dry. It is best to do this method on a summer day when you can go outside and let the sun help speed up the drying process.

Spray and Stretch

Total Time: 60 min

Cost: $0

  • Buy your spray bottle for $8.96

Choosing this option will give you more control of the area you want to stretch and take less time from start to dry and ready to wear.

Supplies & Tools

  • Spray bottle
this is a photo of a spray bottle used to stretch sweatpants

1. Spray sweatpants with spray bottle before stretching

Hang up the sweatpants on the back of a chair or drying rack and fill a spray bottle with warm water. Spray the areas you want to stretch until they are soaked. 

this is a photo of tall paul spraying sweatpants with a water bottle to stretch them

2. Stretch the wet spot with your hands

Once the area is fully saturated with warm water, put down the spray bottle and grab the spot you wish to stretch. Pull the edges of the application site, having your hands pulling away from each other.

3. Air dry sweatpants once stretched

After stretching all of the tight areas, hang them up on a drying rack (line dry), clothes hanger, dry flat or the back of a chair in the kitchen. The main focus is to dry them without using a dryer. Wait until they are fully dry before you put them on to test your work. Make sure you know how to use a dryer properly before any of these steps.

You may need to repeat the steps until you get the exact stretch you want.

And to make sure you do not ruin the work you put into stretching your sweatpants, put them away properly after they are dry.

Read: How to Fold Sweatpants.

this is a photo of the stretched sweatpants hanging to air dry

Do Sweatpants Get Looser?

Yes, your sweatpants will loosen over time. This will depend on the fabric they are made from and how often you use them.

Learn about the fabric your sweats are made of with what are sweatpants made out of.

If you only wear your sweatpants on weekend mornings for a few hours, they will take a very long time to loosen (maybe years.) 

However, if you are the guy who adds his sweats into rotation for weekly fashion statements when dressing up, it will happen much faster.

Also check out how to style your sweatpants with long t-shirts, button shirts and more! How to Style Sweatpants.

Can You Lengthen Sweatpants?

Your sweatpants can lengthen in time as you wear them if you do not put them into the dryer when washing them. You might be able to extend your sweatpants by tailoring them, however It might not be your best option. There are many reasons why this does not work, a few being.

  • Hard to match an exact colour
  • Lines will be seen with the new fabric
  • The cuff makes it very time consuming & costly 

Read our article for more insight on the topic of tailoring your sweatpants: Can You Tailor Sweatpants: At a Tailors or at Home.

How Do You Make Sweatpants More Baggy?

To make your sweatpants baggier, you will want to wear them as often as you can so the fabric starts to loosen and give. At the same time as doing this, I do not suggest you wash them, or if you put them in the washing machine, you must hang them to dry. The fibres will contract as they dry by wetting your sweatpants, working against your end goal of having baggier sweatpants.

Be sure to not shrink them in the wash with how to wash sweatpants without shrinking.

Also, check out our other guides on how to properly stretch out different pieces of clothing.

How To Prevent Sweatpants From Shrinking

The best way to not have to stretch your sweatpants is to make sure they do not shrink in the first place. Here are 3 tips to prevent your sweatpants from shrinking, plus a full in-depth article on how to prevent your sweatpants from shrinking.

  1. Limit the number of times you wash your sweatpants.
  2. Wash in cold water because hot water will shrink sweatpants.
  3. Do not put your sweatpants in the dyer once washed.
  4. Keep your sweatpants hanging up in your closet, not folded in a drawer.

If your sweatpants are made from 60% cotton, then this article is what you need to read: How to Stop 60% Cotton Sweatpants from Shrinking


Yes you can stretch cotton sweatpants. To be able to stretch cotton fabric you will need to dampen or wet the area you want stretched an then apply pressure with either your hands or a machine. Be sure to not dry the sweatpants with heat because that will righten the fabric again.

To loosen pants you will want to stretch out the fabric. To stretch out any fabric you will first need to dampen or wet it and then apply pressure to the area, pulling it apart. Not all fabric stretches the same as cotton, so you might not get a lot of stretch out of a fabric like denim.

To stretch your pant legs wider you need to dampen the entire leg with a spray bottle. Next take a hold of the inseam and outseam and pull apart, working your way from the crotch down to the pant leg cuffs.