A well-fit cotton shirt also provides you enough flexibility when you need it while wearing or even if you gain a bit of weight. However, for polyester shirts, it’s not quite the same. Although polyester itself can stretch a bit, it gains its original shape quickly. So, you are good to stretch your body a bit wearing a polyester shirt; the stretch on the fabric will not be temporary. But, I assume that you are here to find out how to stretch a polyester shirt. Actually, some methods can create stretches on polyester fabric. You will figure it out soon.
Can You Stretch or Shrink Polyester Fabric?
As polyester material is something that is man-made, unlike cotton, it’s designed in a way to provide comfort to the wearer. Even 100% polyester can adapt to your body shape and stretch a bit. Polyester fabrics stretch as long as you stretch your body while doing exercise or hard labor. When you no longer stretch the body, the fabric will retain its original shape to fit your shape. Due to petroleum-based raw materials that are used to make polyester fabrics, these are also susceptible to heat. So, when you apply heat to the fabric, it will malle and mold the way you want. So, if you have one of your favorite shirts that you can no longer fit into, applying some heat, you can wear it again without doing much hassle.
How to Stretch a Polyester Shirt?
I found two methods to be quite effective in making any polyester shirt stretch permanently. Wisely choose a method depending on the type of polyester fabric you are going to stretch.
- Stretch Polyester Using Water and Conditioner
This is the most effective method to try. All you need is warm water and conditioner to stretch the fabric.
- Submerge the Fabric in Warm Water
You can either try this method using a container or sink, which is large enough to submerge the fabric fully. Fill the container or sink with warm water. Make sure the water is warm enough to touch, not too hot. Overheating polyester or any other synthetic fabrics can wrap for good.
- Add Hair Conditioner
For 1 quart of water, consider adding 1 tablespoon of hair conditioner into the water. Gently whisk to evenly mix the conditioner with water. Just like the conditioner softens your hair, it will soften the fibers of the fabric as well. Moisturizing shampoo and baby shampoo can also be used instead of conditioner.
- Submerge the Shirt into the Mix
Now, soak your shirt for 30 minutes in the water. Submerge in a way that the shirt is thoroughly saturated. Warm water and conditioner will make the tense threads of the fibers lengthen and relax.
You don’t have to wait for 30 minutes. When you notice the water is cooled down, you can take the shirt out from the water.
- Wire out the Soaked Water
Squeeze to wire out the water from the shirt. Consider also twisting it to coax out further moisture. The shirt will no longer be wet, but it will feel a little damp.
If you are applying this method on a 100% polyester fabric, make sure you apply as much force as possible to wire out the water. It will loosen the stubborn fibers of the fabric.
Don’t wire too much if there is a combination of cotton or other materials with polyester.
- Stretch the Shirt
Hold both edges of the shirt and tug to stretch the fabric evenly in both directions. Consider also slipping both hands inside the sleeves or torso to push materials apart from one another.
If there is any particular part that feels too tight, consider stretching using more force. It can be chest, shoulders, bottom hem, or even neckline.
You can also wrap the shirt around a post and swing it like nunchucks. Also, try standing on one end of the fabric, and pull another end up towards as much as you need.
Once the shirt dries, you can further put heavy objects such as rocks or bricks to keep it stretched. This will make fibers to retain the new shape after drying. Otherwise, it can shrink the fibers.
- The Results
Polyester will dry out quickly. Once stretching is done, and the shirt is dried, put it on, and see if it fits you the way you expected. It will keep the newly stretched shape for a few hours if it’s pure polyester. Blended fabric will hold the shape until you wash it.
Easiest Method – Molding the Damp Polyester Shirt
This is for those who don’t want to stretch the fabric blindly. Let your body do the stretching for you. Wash the shirt as you do it usually. Make a mixture of warm water and hair conditioner, and soak the shirt in the mixture for about 30 minutes or until the water stays warm. After that, squeeze to wire out the excess water. While the shirt is still damp, put it on. When you wear the shirt, your body will expand or stretch the material itself to suit your natural contours. I know it’s not going to be comfortable wearing a damp shirt, but it’s worth giving a try instead of overstretching the fabric. Move around and stretch your body by leaning and twisting. Flex the fabrics as much as you can. Pay close attention to where the shirt snugs the most. It would be more effective if you do a little yoga session or do stretching exercises while wearing the damp shirt. If still, any area of the shirt resists expansion, consider trying both natural body movement as well as intensive hand stretching to make it flexible. Wear the shirt until it completely dries. This will prevent the threads from shrinking quickly. As you are dealing with polyester fabric, it will not take much time to dry. Blended garments will hold the stretch for longer. If it’s a pure polyester shirt, which is too short for your body, you will have to stretch out the shirt each time while wearing it.
Hopefully, you have mastered how to stretch a polyester shirt successfully. The next time when you plan to wear a polyester shirt, you know what to do. If this is something you bother doing, again and again, you better always check if the fabric is pure polyester or blended when you buy a new one.