How to Make a Sweatshirt Smaller: Easy Tips and Tricks

Do you have a favorite sweatshirt that is a little too big and you wish it could fit you perfectly? We all have been there! Luckily, there are simple and effective methods to make your sweatshirt smaller without compromising its style or comfort. In this article, we will guide you through step-by-step instructions on how to achieve the perfect fit for your beloved sweatshirt. Whether you want to shrink it slightly or transform it into a trendy cropped style, we’ve got you covered!

Before we dive into the techniques, it’s important to understand the details about “how to make a sweatshirt smaller.” We will cover various methods suitable for different fabric types, including cotton, polyester, and blends. So, no matter what material your sweatshirt is made of, you’ll find a solution that works for you.

The Hot Water Method: Shrink and Shape

If your sweatshirt is made of cotton and you want to shrink it slightly, the hot water method is perfect for you. By using hot water and heat, you can achieve a snugger fit without compromising the fabric’s quality. Let’s walk you through the process step by step, ensuring you don’t encounter any mishaps along the way.


Start by filling a basin or sink with hot water. The water should be hot but not boiling to prevent damaging the fabric. Add a few drops of mild detergent and stir to create a soapy solution.

Soaking the Sweatshirt

Submerge your sweatshirt in the hot water mixture, making sure it is fully saturated. Gently move the garment around in the water to ensure even distribution of heat and detergent.

Allowing the Sweatshirt to Soak

Leave the sweatshirt to soak in the hot water for about 30 minutes. This will allow the fibers to relax and shrink slightly.

Rinsing and Drying

After the soaking time is complete, remove the sweatshirt from the water and gently squeeze out the excess moisture. Rinse it thoroughly with cold water to remove any remaining detergent. Avoid twisting or wringing the sweatshirt as it may stretch the fabric.

Once rinsed, lay the sweatshirt flat on a clean towel and roll it up, pressing gently to absorb excess water. Unroll the towel and reshape the sweatshirt to its desired size. Lay it flat on a drying rack or a clean, dry towel and allow it to air dry completely.

By following these steps, your cotton sweatshirt should shrink slightly, providing you with a better fit without compromising its quality or comfort.

Utilizing the Dryer: A Quick Fix

If you have a dryer at home, this method can be a quick and efficient way to shrink your sweatshirt. However, it’s important to note that this method is suitable for certain fabric types like cotton and may not be suitable for delicate fabrics or blends. Let’s delve into the steps to achieve the desired fit.


Start by turning your sweatshirt inside out. This will protect the outer fabric from any potential damage during the drying process.

Adjusting the Dryer Settings

Set your dryer to a medium to high heat setting. The heat will help shrink the fabric. If your dryer has a “shrink” or “small load” setting, use that for optimal results.

Drying the Sweatshirt

Place the sweatshirt in the dryer and add a few clean, dry towels to the load. The towels will help create friction and aid in the shrinking process.

Monitoring the Drying Process

Keep a close eye on the sweatshirt as it dries. Check its progress every 5-10 minutes to ensure it doesn’t shrink too much. If it reaches the desired size before the cycle is complete, remove it from the dryer to prevent further shrinkage.

Allowing the Sweatshirt to Cool

Once the drying process is complete, remove the sweatshirt from the dryer and lay it flat on a clean surface to cool down. This will allow the fabric to set in its new shape.

Using the dryer method, you can quickly and conveniently shrink your cotton sweatshirt to achieve a better fit. Remember to exercise caution with delicate fabrics and always monitor the drying process to prevent excessive shrinkage.

Seam Alterations: Tailor Your Sweatshirt

If you want to maintain the original shape and fit of your sweatshirt while making it smaller, seam alterations are the way to go. This method allows for a more customized fit that suits your body shape perfectly. Let’s explore how you can alter the seams of your sweatshirt step by step.

Assessing the Sweatshirt

Start by trying on the sweatshirt and identifying the areas that need alteration. Pay attention to the sleeves, sides, and hemline. Mark these areas with pins or fabric chalk to indicate where adjustments are required.

Removing Excess Fabric

Once you have marked the areas, carefully remove the stitching along the seams using a seam ripper or small scissors. Take your time to avoid cutting through the fabric itself.

Tailoring the Seams

With the excess fabric removed, fold the edges of the seam inward and pin them together. Use a sewing machine or needle and thread to stitch along the new seam line, ensuring a secure and neat finish. Repeat this process for all marked areas.

Trying on the Altered Sweatshirt

Once the alterations are complete, try on the sweatshirt to assess the fit. If further adjustments are needed, repeat the process until you achieve your desired fit.

Seam alterations allow you to tailor your sweatshirt precisely to your body shape, ensuring a comfortable and flattering fit. If you’re not confident in your sewing skills, it’s always a good idea to consult a professional tailor for expert assistance.

The Elastic Band Method: Create a Fitted Look

Are you looking to transform your oversized sweatshirt into a trendy cropped style? The elastic band method is your answer! By adding an elastic band, you can create a fitted look while preserving the original design of the sweatshirt. Let’s dive into the steps.

Choosing the Right Elastic Band

Start by selecting a suitable elastic band. Opt for a band that is slightly smaller than your desired waist or hip measurement, depending on where you want the sweatshirt to sit. Make sure the elastic is stretchy but not too tight.

Marking the Sweatshirt

Put on the sweatshirt and use fabric chalk or pins to mark the desired length. This will indicate where you want the sweatshirt to sit after the elastic is added.

Measuring and Cutting the Elastic

Measure the elastic band according to your desired waist or hip measurement. Cut the elastic, ensuring it is slightly shorter than the marked length on the sweatshirt to create a snug fit.

Attaching the Elastic

Pin one end of the elastic to the marked line on the inside of the sweatshirt. Stretch the elastic as you go and pin the other end to the opposite marked line. This will create a gathered effect and give the sweatshirt a fitted look.

Sewing the Elastic

Using a sewing machine or needle and thread, stitch the elastic to the sweatshirt along the marked lines. Ensure that the stitches are secure to withstand stretching and movement.

Trying on the Transformed Sweatshirt

After sewing the elastic, try on the transformed sweatshirt to ensure a proper fit. Make any necessary adjustments before trimming any excess elastic.

The elastic band method is a fantastic way to create a fashionable and fitted look with your oversized sweatshirt. Experiment with different waist and hip placements to find the style that suits you best.

Tying Techniques: A Stylish Approach

If you want a more fashionable and unique way to make your sweatshirt smaller, tying techniques are a fantastic option. By knotting, twisting, or braiding your sweatshirt, you can not only reduce the size but also add a touch of creativity. Let’s explore some tying methods that will elevate your sweatshirt game.

Knotting the Hemline

Start by putting on your sweatshirt and marking the desired length for the hemline. Remove the sweatshirt and tie a knot at the marked line. Adjust the knot to achieve your desired fit and secure it with additional knots or stitches for added durability.

Twisting the Sides

Put on the sweatshirt and gather the fabric on one side. Twist the fabric tightly from the bottom up to the desired length. Secure the twisted section with elastic bands or stitches. Repeat the process on the other side for a balanced look.

Braiding the Sleeves

If you want to add a unique touch to your sweatshirt, consider braiding the sleeves. Start by dividing each sleeve into three equal sections. Braid the sections tightly from the shoulder down to the cuff. Secure the ends with small hair ties

Braiding the Sleeves (continued)

Once you have braided both sleeves, adjust the tightness of the braid to achieve your desired fit. You can leave the ends loose for a bohemian look or secure them with small hair ties for a more polished appearance.

Creating a Keyhole Back

If you want to add a unique detail to your sweatshirt, consider creating a keyhole back. Start by turning your sweatshirt inside out and folding it in half vertically. On the back of the sweatshirt, mark a vertical line in the center. From the top of the line, cut a small slit, about 1-2 inches long. Fold the cut edges inward and secure them with stitches to create a clean finish.

Tying the Neckline

Add a touch of style to your sweatshirt by tying the neckline. Start by putting on the sweatshirt and adjusting the collar to your desired fit. Take the excess fabric from the neckline and tie it in a knot, creating a gathered and fitted look. Adjust the tightness of the knot to your preference and secure it with additional stitches if needed.

Experimenting with Different Tying Techniques

Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different tying techniques. You can mix and match various methods to create a truly unique and personalized sweatshirt. Try combining knotting, twisting, and braiding for a one-of-a-kind design that showcases your style.

Tying techniques offer a fun and stylish approach to making your sweatshirt smaller. Embrace your creativity and let your imagination run wild as you transform your oversized sweatshirt into a fashion statement.

Layering: Style and Functionality

Layering is not only a great fashion statement but also a practical way to make your sweatshirt smaller. By combining your sweatshirt with other clothing items, you can create a stylish and snug fit that is perfect for any occasion. Let’s explore how you can layer your sweatshirt for both style and functionality.

Adding a Collared Shirt

For a preppy and polished look, layer your sweatshirt over a collared shirt. Choose a button-down shirt in a contrasting color or pattern that complements your sweatshirt. Leave the collar and cuffs of the shirt exposed for a sophisticated touch.

Pulling on a Turtleneck

For added warmth and style, layer a turtleneck underneath your sweatshirt. Opt for a slim-fitting turtleneck in a color that complements your sweatshirt. The turtleneck will not only provide extra insulation but also create a sleeker silhouette.

Pairing with a Denim Jacket

Add a touch of casual coolness by layering your sweatshirt with a denim jacket. Choose a jacket in a lighter wash to create a contrast with your sweatshirt. Leave the jacket unbuttoned for a laid-back vibe or button it up for a more put-together look.

Styling with a Vest

For a trendy and layered look, incorporate a vest into your outfit. Choose a puffer vest or a quilted vest in a complementary color to your sweatshirt. Layering a vest over your sweatshirt adds both style and warmth, making it perfect for chilly days.

Pairing with a Flannel Shirt

For a cozy and rustic look, layer your sweatshirt with a flannel shirt. Choose a flannel shirt in a pattern that complements the color of your sweatshirt. Leave the shirt unbuttoned and let it peek out from underneath the sweatshirt for a touch of effortless style.

Adding a Scarf

Complete your layered look by adding a scarf. Choose a scarf in a color or pattern that ties the entire outfit together. Wrap it around your neck or drape it over your shoulders for added warmth and style.

Experimenting with Different Layering Combinations

Don’t be afraid to get creative and experiment with different layering combinations. Mix and match various clothing items to create unique and personalized outfits. The possibilities are endless, so have fun exploring different layering options with your sweatshirt.

Layering not only allows you to make your sweatshirt smaller but also adds depth and style to your overall outfit. Embrace the versatility of layering and create fashion-forward looks that showcase your individuality.

Seeking Professional Help: Tailor or Seamstress

If you prefer a flawless and expert alteration, seeking professional help from a tailor or seamstress is the best choice. These skilled professionals have the knowledge and experience to make precise adjustments to your sweatshirt, ensuring a perfect fit. Here are some tips to help you find the right person for the job.

Research and Recommendations

Start by researching local tailors or seamstresses in your area. Read reviews and ask for recommendations from friends or family members who have had alterations done before. Word-of-mouth referrals can often lead you to reliable and skilled professionals.

Check Portfolios and Samples

Visit the websites or social media pages of potential tailors or seamstresses and check their portfolios. Look for examples of their past work to assess the quality of their alterations. Pay attention to their attention to detail and the overall fit of the garments they have worked on.

Consultation and Communication

Arrange a consultation with the tailor or seamstress before committing to their services. During the consultation, discuss your specific needs and expectations. Pay attention to how well they listen and communicate with you, as clear communication is essential for achieving the desired fit.

Ask About Experience and Expertise

Ask the tailor or seamstress about their experience and expertise in altering sweatshirts or similar garments. Inquire about the specific techniques they use and how they ensure the best fit for their clients. A skilled professional will have knowledge of different fabrics and how they behave during alterations.

Consider Cost and Turnaround Time

Discuss the cost of the alteration and the expected turnaround time. While price should not be the sole determining factor, it’s important to find a balance between quality and affordability. Additionally, make sure the turnaround time aligns with your needs, especially if you have a specific deadline.

Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, trust your instincts when choosing a tailor or seamstress. If you feel comfortable and confident in their abilities during the consultation, it’s likely that they will provide excellent service. Remember that alterations are an investment in achieving the perfect fit for your sweatshirt.

By seeking professional help from a tailor or seamstress, you can ensure expert and precise alterations to make your sweatshirt smaller. With their assistance, you can confidently wear your sweatshirt knowing it fits you perfectly.

Now that you have learned various methods on how to make a sweatshirt smaller, it’s time to put your newfound knowledge into action! Remember to choose the method that suits your preferences and the fabric of your sweatshirt. With a few simple steps, you can transform your oversized sweatshirt into a perfectly fitting piece that you’ll love to wear. Enjoy the process and embrace the creativity that comes with altering your clothing. Happy sweatshirt resizing!