Shrink Corduroy Using These 4 Methods (Easy To Hard)

I had always been hesitant to try corduroy because of all the bad rep that the fabric has gained being labeled as “old-people only”. But that all changed when I saw this beautiful corduroy jacket while vacationing in Naples.

It was absolutely beautiful, but I forgot to notice at that time that the corduroy jacket was a couple of sizes too big for me. Therefore, once I got back home, I decided to reduce its size in any way possible.

The entire process was a success, and it resulted in me having a beautiful corduroy piece that fit me perfectly. And in this article, I would show you the exact steps and methods that I followed when shrinking corduroy.

Let’s begin!

How To Shrink Corduroy?

To shrink corduroy, just apply some heat to the fabric. Corduroy garments shrink pretty easily when exposed to higher temperatures for extended periods of time. The fibers of corduroy shrink up as soon as temperatures rise.

As you would know, there are more than one ways to skin a cat. Although heat is the main way to shrink corduroy, you can employ a number of different methods to get to a smaller piece. Here they are:

1. Ironing damp corduroy at a high temperature

To shrink your corduroy garments using this method, put them in the washing machine and make sure that you use the gentle cycle.

Once the clothes are washed, instead of chucking them in the dryer, let your corduroy air-dry for a few minutes, until it goes from wet to damp.

Now take this damp item and spread it out on an ironing board. Cover it with a pressing cloth and start ironing. While ironing, make sure that you make outward strokes and motions. Iron until the corduroy is dry, and you would have successfully shrunk it.

2. Soaking corduroy in hot water

This method is even simpler than the first one.

First, take a big tub or bucket and fill it up with hot water. Not cold water, not lukewarm water, but hot water. In fact, it would be best if you use water that’s very near to its boiling temperature.

Now take your corduroy piece and soak it in the tub. Let it sit for a couple of hours, and then switch the water (which should be cold by now) with boiling hot water again. Once the water turns cold, take the garment out.

If you did everything right, it should have shrunk by at least 5-10%.

3. Machine washing and drying

This is the method that personally worked with my corduroy jacket. It doesn’t mean that the methods given above are bad; it just means that your corduroy might respond better to this technique.

The idea behind this method is to subject your corduroy to as much heat and abrasion as possible.

First, machine-wash your corduroy garment in hot water. Make sure that you are selecting the “rough” cycle or whatever its equivalent is on your machine. Just don’t go with the “gentle” cycle.

Next, take your corduroy out and throw it in the dryer. Select the highest heat setting available on the dryer and let it sit in there.

This combination of machine washing and drying at high temperatures is going to shrink your jacket by a good 10-20%.

The Best Way To Shrink Corduroy

Although all three of the methods described above work, neither of them is ideal when it comes to reducing the size of your corduroy.

The actual best way to shrink corduroy is to get it tailored.

Tailoring corduroy is pretty easy for most professionals, and it gives you the entire control over the proportions and measurements of your garment.

No matter what shrinking method you try, you can never be sure that the shrinking is going to be even or not, a problem that tailoring solves.

And most alterations aren’t even going to be all that expensive, which makes tailoring your corduroy garments a win-win situation.

Does Corduroy Shrink In The Dryer?

Corduroy can shrink in the dryer, especially if it is subjected to high heat and abrasion. Most corduroy garments will not shrink if the heat setting is on “low”.

Therefore, if you want your corduroy to remain the same in size, it is much better to hang-dry it. Because the fabric isn’t going to be heavy (unlike wool) hang-drying makes a lot of sense in this case.

But if you are looking to make your clothes a bit smaller or “shrunken”, then you can simply toss them in the dryer at a high heat setting and let the heat do its job.

Depending on how the corduroy is made and the length of its fibers, you can expect your shirt, jacket, or trousers to shrink by at least 5-10%.

If that does not work for you, you can go for any of the other methods that have been discussed in detail above.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to shrink corduroy pants?

Corduroy pants shrink easily if they are soaked in hot water. Just put the pants in extremely hot water and wait till the water cools down. Check the shrinkage, and repeat the cycle if necessary.

How to shrink a corduroy skirt?

A combination of washing and drying is the best way to shrink corduroy skirts. Wash them in hot water, and immediately throw them in the dryer. Select the “high” heat option. Your skirt would have shrunk 5-10% after the drying process finishes.

How much does corduroy shrink?

Corduroy can shrink around 5-10% of its original size in the wash, but it depends from garment to garment. The shrinkage increases proportionately to the heat that corduroy is exposed to.

Final Remarks

There are three basic ways to shrink corduroy. All three are excellent and ensure proper shrinkage of your clothes:

  1. Ironing damp corduroy at a high temperature.
  2. Soaking corduroy in hot water.
  3. Machine washing and drying corduroy.

But the best way to shrink corduroy is to tailor it. It will ensure that the proportions of your garments do not change while their size is reducing.