How can I fix the overstretched waistband on my woolen sweater?
June 26, 2010 10:13 PM   Subscribe

Please help me MeFites! I stupidly machine washed a new woolen sweater and now the waistband is all stretched and it looks horrible :( Is there a way I can return the wool to it's former unstretchiness?

Please help me MeFites! I stupidly machine washed a new woolen sweater and now the waistband is all stretched and it looks horrible :(

While kicking myself mentally in the pants I'm also trying to find a way to fix the damage and save the $100 I spent on the damn thing. Is there a way I can fix it that actually works?

It's 80% wool, 20% nylon. Also I don't have a dryer, but I do have a good hair-dryer if concentrated heat is needed to fix it.
posted by katala to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ohhhhhhh dear. Can you post a pic? It's possible that the ribbed waistband may have felted or fulled a little -- if this is true, I don't know of a way to undo the damage.
posted by KathrynT at 10:31 PM on June 26, 2010

It's probably gone. However, if you purchased it with an American Express or Platinum Visa credit card, you might be eligible for a full refund due for accidental damage/loss.
posted by halogen at 10:37 PM on June 26, 2010

Look up "blocking" for sweaters. It's what you do when you knit a new sweater. Basically - get it wet again in hot water, lay it on a few towels, reshape it to how you want and let it dry.

When you block it, you may also want to consider expanding the top of the sweater above the waistband to balance out the fullness of the waistband - so it doesn't look so out of wack.

If it isn't crazy felted, you should be able to save it!
posted by ashtabula to opelika at 10:39 PM on June 26, 2010 [4 favorites]

From the famous Shannon Lush's "Spotless"

PROBLEM: Shrunken jumper.

WHAT TO USE: Bucket, Fuller's Earth( can be found at pharmacies - most likely will have to be ordered in), towel, two wide-toothed combs; or Epsom salts (can be found at most pharmacies)

HOW TO APPLY: For dark-coloured jumpers, fill a nappy-sized bucket with blood-heat H2O (lukewarm or warm H2O - test the H2O on your wrist; if you can't feel it - if it's not too hot or too cold - it's blood heat) and add 2 tablespoons of Fuller's Earth. For light-coloured jumpers, add 4 Tablespoons. Put the jumper in and gently agitate it with your hands until it's thoroughly wetted. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly in blood-heat H2O. Don't leave it for longer than this or it will bleach. Lie the jumper flat on a towel in a shady spot and leave it to dry. Gently stretch it back into shape as it's drying. To make it stretch more evenly, use two wide-toothed combs on wither side of the jumper and stretch the jumper as it's drying. It's not as effective, but you could use 2 tablespoons of Epsom salts, instead of Fuller's Earth, to a bucket of blood-heat H2O.

posted by taff at 3:19 AM on June 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

You could take it to a good dry cleaner, show them what the problem is and ask them to block it for you. I worked for a dry cleaner years ago and we got requests like this sometimes. They can use steam heat on it to reshape it.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:38 AM on June 27, 2010

I like wool bike jerseys. They shrink in the washer and/or dryer if one is not careful. The standard remedy is curl relaxer, hair care product, the kind used by African American women. The yarn has tightened up like curly hair, and this will relax it to its original state.
posted by fixedgear at 4:39 AM on June 27, 2010

It's 80% wool, 20% nylon.

Mm. First thing I'd try would be blocking, as mentioned above. Turn it inside-out. Pin the thing the way you want it to end up. You could probably use a strip of plastic-wrapped cardboard and pin it directly to that. Spritz it with water to get it thoroughly damp, but not soaking. Let it dry.

If that doesn't work, you could try the same process with steam... just know that artificial fibers can be tricky when you heat them.

If that doesn't work, you could try the same process, except dampen it before pinning, by soaking in water and then pressing the excess water out with towels.

The last thing I'd try would be the relaxer.
posted by zennie at 5:36 PM on June 27, 2010

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