Relax. It is possible to unshrink a sweater that someone (not you, of course) popped into the dryer.
And pretty much all you'll need to do is help your wool sweater (or other fabric) fibers relax, too, with a little help baby shampoo worked gently into the fibers while washing by hand.
The most time consuming part: Pinning, stretching and pinning again, a necessary step in gently returning your sweater to its original size as it dries.
Here are the 5 easy steps to resizing your sweater.
Start by soaking the sweater in a sink or bucket full of warm water and about two tablespoons baby shampoo.
Machine washing detergent is to harsh for this delicate job.
About 15 minutes should allow enough time for the shampoo to relax the fibers enough so that you may begin the letting-out process.
Remove the sweater from the soapy water, then rinse in cool water to remove all shampoo from the fabric. Gently press or squeeze remaining moisture from the fabric.
Don't wring - this motion can further damage and even break the fibers you're trying to stretch.
Follow your rinse and squeezing routine by rolling of the sweater in a clean, dry towel.
It's important the fibers contain as little moisture as possible when you begin the resizing process.
Pin the sweater to a cork board, stretching the neck, arms, and sides as taut as possible without damaging the fibers.
Let it be for at least an hour.
Return to re-stretch and re-pin your sweater every few hours.
It will take several stretching and re-pinning sessions to ease the sweater back to its original size.
But if you adore that angora, cotton, silk, cashmere or wool sweater, you'll be delighted with the results. You'll be glad you took the time to pin, pin, and pin again.
Next time, make sure you know whether to wash an item in hot, warm, or cold water before you begin doing laundry.
Should you use liquid or powder laundry detergent? Get the scoop on the right detergent for your load here.
About the Author
Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.