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Merino Wool Jersey and Shrinkage

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Merino Wool Jersey and Shrinkage

Old 09-12-20, 10:54 AM
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SpectrumTi
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Merino Wool Jersey and Shrinkage

Ths is a bit of an odd question, but I have a merino wool jersey that I WANT to shrink a little as I've dropped some weight. If I use the dryer on medium or so, what should I expect? Would it shrink more vertically, or horizontally?
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Old 09-12-20, 10:58 AM
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My merino wool has all been through the drier with the rest of the laundry. The shrinkage effect has been more because of me increasing in size.
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Old 09-12-20, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by SpectrumTi View Post
Ths is a bit of an odd question, but I have a merino wool jersey that I WANT to shrink a little as I've dropped some weight. If I use the dryer on medium or so, what should I expect? Would it shrink more vertically, or horizontally?
When I wash my Merino wool I gently wring it out wrapped in a towel and lay it flat to dry. It will shrink if I don't manually stretch it out as it dries. I can control/eliminate the shrinkage by how I stretch it out as it dries. I can, to some extent, make it skinnier and longer or shorter and fatter.
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Old 09-12-20, 02:17 PM
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Wear it while it's still damp and let it dry on your body. It'll often conform better to your current shape. If the weather is reasonably warm just go for a ride or walk and let it air dry on your body. Depends on the fabric, though. I did that with pure merino wool. No idea whether that trick would work with wool/poly blends, which are designed to minimize the problems with shrinkage/stretching.
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Old 09-12-20, 05:13 PM
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Give it a very hot wash and then hot dry it. It has to get hot in order to shrink.
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Old 09-12-20, 06:51 PM
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Don't even try it. Knits shrink mostly in their length i.e. vertically. Also, if shrunk in a machine, the front and back panels of the garment can end up felted together, making it unwearable for everyone.
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Old 09-12-20, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Give it a very hot wash and then hot dry it. It has to get hot in order to shrink.
I would be very careful if following this advice, as it would be easy to overdo it. I have worn merino wool pretty much every day from fall through spring for at least fifteen years, and I've only once screwed up in the laundry -- ran two of my fave wool jerseys through a warm dryer cycle. They shrunk so much that I had to pass them along to a much smaller friend. The wool was practically felted because it shrank so much.

If I wanted to shrink a merino wool jersey, I would wash it as normally (cold water, gentle cycle), then dry it on medium heat and take it out of the dryer every five mins to check the shrinkage.
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Old 09-12-20, 07:07 PM
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I wash most merino clothing by hand. Just washing in warm to hot water can shrink Merino wool. That's what I do if I want to only shrink it a little bit and/or control the shape as it dries. Google "wool dry block" which is where you can control the shape as it dries.

If an item is way too big, then I nuke it in the dryer. Of course, I check periodically to make sure it doesn't shrink to doll like sizes.
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Old 09-14-20, 09:09 AM
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Check with clothes alteration places near you. One (or more) of them may know how to block knitted wool garments. As I recall, Mom used to pin newly knitted sweaters to the bed and hit them through a linen dishcloth with a steam iron. She could grow or shrink a garment by a couple inches in the desired direction.
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Old 09-14-20, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by SpectrumTi View Post
I have a merino wool jersey that I WANT to shrink a little as I've dropped some weight. If I use the dryer on medium or so, what should I expect? Would it shrink more vertically, or horizontally?
I've got a thin merino wool sweater, and have had merino wool tops and socks before. So long as I've washed them in the clothes washer on delicate+cold, and so long as using the dryer on cool "fluff dry" only, I've never had an issue with size or shape changes on the article. But then, I've only purchased such merino wool items that have been explicit about being designed for use in laundry machines.

If you really want to be delicate about it, cleanse by hand with Woolite (or similar) and hang to allow drying.
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Old 09-15-20, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
I would be very careful if following this advice, as it would be easy to overdo it. I have worn merino wool pretty much every day from fall through spring for at least fifteen years, and I've only once screwed up in the laundry -- ran two of my fave wool jerseys through a warm dryer cycle. They shrunk so much that I had to pass them along to a much smaller friend. The wool was practically felted because it shrank so much.

If I wanted to shrink a merino wool jersey, I would wash it as normally (cold water, gentle cycle), then dry it on medium heat and take it out of the dryer every five mins to check the shrinkage.
+1!!! This!!!
The real wild card on wool clothing is whether all the panels are fitted identically 'with the weave' of the fabric. It is easy to 'warp' a wool garment if they are not all aligned. It applies to both knitted wool fabric and broadcloth wool such as with suits. This is also what determines whether it shrinks more vertically or horizontally. I never had an issue with either my wool jerseys or shorts. The real risk is the dryer, as sometimes the warm cycle is too hot.

I love wool clothes and all my suits are 100% wool that is still so nice in the DC- area summer. It is also why I now use non-skin-style shorts. Good 100% wool ones are so expensive (and I now want pockets). A wool cycling jersey has to be experienced to truly feel the benefits. Plus they remain cool and non-stinky if given proper care.
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