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Shrinking Cottons

What does it mean when a garment has been preshrunk?  It means that the fabric undergoes a controlled process during manufacturing whereby the fabric is preshrunk and then made into a garment to thwart further shrinkage once in use.  How do you know if an item has been preshrunk?  Sometimes the label will indicate whether the fabric has been preshrunk, but many times it doesn’t.  If you are purchasing an item online, check the product description.  Many times it will indicate if it has been preshrunk.  These days, however, higher quality t-shirts and cotton garments are assumed to be preshrunk.  When it comes to quality, well-made, 100% cotton items, there are a few things you should know:

  • Preshrunk doesn’t mean that it won’t shrink any more.
  • There are three elements that aid in the shrinking process – moisture, heat, and agitation.
  • These elements can cause the strips of fabric to constrict, making the weave of a garment tighter, ultimately reducing its size.
  • A well-made cotton garment, when washed and dried according to the care label’s directions, will draw in a very little bit.
  • The fibers relax after it has been worn so it ends up back to where it was before you washed it.

If it is not a quality, well-made, 100% cotton garment, it is possible that it won’t be preshrunk.  Remove as many of the three elements listed above as possible when cleaning to hopefully avoid excessive shrinkage.  If you have a question about a cotton garment, feel free to bring it by one of our locations.  We will be happy to take a look at it.

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