How to Unshrink Sweaters and Save Your Alpaca Clothes

How to Unshrink Sweaters and Save Your Alpaca Clothes


How to Unshrink Sweaters and Save Your Alpaca Clothes

It’s happened to all of us: the incredulous dread when you see the smidge of fabric of your favourite wool sweater or the alpaca cardigan you got for Christmas.

Can I unshrink my sweater?

Before going through the entire roller coaster of emotions (the shrunken sweater, the spark of hope, the work of trying to unshrink it, the waiting, and then the disappointment of it not working), examine your sweater to see if there’s any actual possibility of unshrinking it.

If your sweater is alpaca wool, mohair, cashmere, or made of another type of natural yarn, check to see if it has felted. You cannot unshrink fully felted fabric.

What do I need to unshrink my sweater?

Once you’ve determined that there’s a possibility of successfully, it’s time to gather the tools you’ll need to do the job:

  • A corkboard or foam board (about as big as your sweater)
  • Liquid fabric softener, baby shampoo, or hair conditioner
  • A white, fluffy towel
  • A Steam Iron
  • Stainless steel T-pins
  • A bucket or large sink for soaking

How do I unshrink my sweater?

Step 1: Fill the bucket with lukewarm water and add two tablespoons of fabric softener, baby shampoo, or hair conditioner. This will soften the fibers of your sweater, preparing them for stretching.

Step 2: Let your sweater soak in the water mixture for at least 20 minutes but up to 5 hours or all night.

Step 3: Drain the liquid, but DO NOT rinse the sweater. Gently squeeze out extra moisture, but don’t wring.

Step 4: You can iron the alpaca sweater using steam iron in fabric directions, pulling with one hand the opposite side of the garment

Step 5: Lay your sweater on top of the corkboard. Stretch it out as much as you can — gently — and pin it in place. Pay special attention so that you don’t rip any seams by pulling too tightly or in the wrong direction.

Step 6: Go back after about an hour, stretch your sweater a bit more, and re-pin. Repeat this several times or until you can’t stretch it anymore.


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