As someone who loves fashion and staying on-trend, I’m always on the hunt for the perfect pair of jeans. Recently I discovered American Eagle and fell in love with their super soft and stretchy denim. However, after a few wears my new favourite jeans started feeling a bit snug and tight.
Having gone up a size, I didn’t want to buy a whole new pair of jeans. So I started researching clever hacks and tricks to stretch out tight jeans and restore them to their original roomy fit. After testing out several methods, I found some great DIY ways to stretch American Eagle jeans effectively.
In this blog post, I’ll share the techniques I used to loosen up my tight jeans and stop them from shrinking again in the future. Read on for my top tips to stretch American Eagle denim and enjoy the comfy fit you had when they were brand new!
An Introduction to Stretching Jeans
Before we get into the specific techniques, let’s first understand why jeans stretch out and shrink. Denim contains cotton fibres that initially have some give and flexibility. However, over time the fibres can become misaligned and the jeans lose their ability to snap back into shape. Frequent washing and drying can also cause the cotton threads to shrink up.
The good news is with some simple tricks, you can loosen up the fibres and restore the jeans to a relaxed, lived-in fit. Stretching helps realign the cotton threads to make the denim flexible again. Here are my tried and true methods for stretching American Eagle jeans successfully.
5 Ways To Stretch Your American Eagle Jeans
1. Wear Your Tight Jeans
One of the easiest and most effective ways to stretch tight jeans is simply to wear them. The friction and motion from walking around in snug jeans allows the fibers to start loosening up and conforming to your body.
When wearing new tight jeans, start by putting them on and walking around the house for short intervals, like 15-30 minutes. The warmth of your body and the movement will let the jeans begin naturally stretching and loosening. You can incrementally increase the wear time over several days.
Sit down, cross your legs, do squats – anything that has you moving and flexing in those jeans will help them stretch out. Just listen to your body and don’t overdo it to the point of discomfort.
With a few short sessions of wear, most jeans will mold comfortably to your shape. Tight skinny jeans may take a little longer to fully stretch than bootcut or relaxed fits. But if you’re patient, you’ll get that perfectly worn-in feel.
2. Use Your Hands
Don’t be afraid to get hands on for some manual stretching! Using your hands to target specific tight areas can help loosen AE jeans in a jiffy.
Start by putting on the jeans. Identify any overly snug spots, like the waist, hips, thighs or knees. Then, grip the fabric with your hands on either side of the tight zone and gently pull outward, holding for 10-15 seconds before releasing. Repeat several times. This tugging encourages the fibers to relax and expand.
You can also bend and flex to target stretchy stretching. For a tight waistband, grab it with both hands and bend side to side. To stretch thighs or knees, do some deep squats while pulling the fabric outwards. Lunges and high kicks work great too!
Use your hands periodically over a few days to keep loosening up extra rigid areas. With some pull power, your jeans will soon mold comfortably to your figure.
3. Try a DIY Jeans Stretcher
For a quick, easy stretching solution without any hands-on work, a DIY jeans stretcher does the trick. You can find kits online or make your own at home with a few household items.
A basic stretcher involves placing rods or dowels vertically inside each pant leg, then sliding bolts through the waistband to push the rods apart. This applies outward pressure to widen the jeans overnight. Stretching both legs evenly preventsbaggy knees or seat.
To make a homemade stretcher, you’ll need:
- 2 wooden paint stir sticks, chopsticks or thin dowels a bit shorter than your jeans inseam
- 4 bolts, thick popsicle sticks or strong cardboard paper towel tubes
- String or rubber bands
Just insert the rods into each leg, using string to secure them if needed. Slide bolts/tubes through the waistband horizontally and tie or band them to create tension pushing the leg rods apart. Leave overnight! Check and re-tighten if needed.
Remove in the morning for jeans that have stretched to just the right size. A DIY stretcher straightens wrinkles too – win win!
4. Try a Hot Shower
Heat is an easy, free way to stretch your jeans a bit more – and who doesn’t love a nice steamy shower? The warmth helps relax and expand the jeans’ fibers so they mold to your shape.
When ready to hop in, put on those tight jeans (dry!). As you shower, periodically tug, smoothe and flex the jeans with your hands under the hot water. This combo loosens the fabric even faster.
Focus on snug areas like the thighs or waist. Bend and squat to maximize stretch around the knees. The jeans may feel looser immediately after your hot shower, but they may tighten up a bit once dry – so repeat the process over a couple days until you’ve got your perfect fit.
If shower stretching isn’t your thing, try laying jeans flat and hovering a hairdryer or iron (no steam) over tight zones for 30 seconds. Just don’t apply direct heat on the fabric – this can damage denim.
5. Use a Jeans Stretcher Spray
Special stretch sprays are formulated to relax the cotton fibres in jeans. They contain lubricants that work into the threads, allowing them to slide more freely. Simply spray a jeans stretcher product all over the inside of your tight jeans.
Let it soak in for 5 minutes before putting them on. The lubricants help the jeans glide over your body and create space between the threads. I like using stretcher spray on areas prone to tightness like the thighs, knees and rear.
How To Prevent Jeans From Shrinking Again
Once you’ve stretched your American Eagle jeans back to perfection, use these tips to stop them shrinking again over time:
- Wash in cold water and air dry instead of the dryer
- Wash jeans inside out to protect the colour and fibres
- Skip the wash – spot clean jeans when possible instead of full washes
- Invest in a no-shrink laundry spray to keep cotton threads from shrinking
- For the dryer – use low heat only and remove jeans immediately after cycle finishes
With this jeans stretching knowledge, you can keep your American Eagle denim feeling amazing. Ditch the stiff, tight and shrunken feel by using these effective stretching methods.
From wearing them frequently to heat and cold techniques, give your snug American Eagle jeans new life with these DIY tricks. Stretching helps realign the cotton threads, making the denim flexible and comfortable again. Next time your favourite jeans start to pinch, break out these handy hacks. With a little TLC, you can enjoy your vintage denim for many more wears. Time to give tight jeans the old stretch and enjoy that perfectly broken-in fit once more!
What is the easiest way to stretch jeans?
Simply wearing tight jeans allows your movement to naturally stretch them out. Focus on areas feeling snug and the warmth and kinetic motion will flex the fibres.
How long does it take to stretch jeans?
It depends on the technique, but most stretching hacks take 6-8 hours to see a noticeable difference. Wearing them all day or DIY stretchers overnight does the trick.
Can you stretch jeans without washing them?
Yes! Techniques like wearing them, using stretcher spray, and using DIY sock stretchers can all stretch jeans without washing.
Do hair conditioner or fabric softener help stretch jeans?
Yes! Soaking jeans in hot water with conditioner or softener allows the lubricants to penetrate the fibres and loosen the threads.
Can you put jeans in the dryer to stretch them?
Only use the dryer on a low or delicate setting, as high heat can damage and shrink jeans further. Air drying is best to avoid excessive heat.
How can you stretch jeans that are too short?
Try techniques focused on the lower legs and ankles, like DIY rice stretchers or wearing with thicker socks to expand the ankle opening.
Why do jeans shrink in the first place?
Frequent washing and drying causes the cotton threads to contract and tighten up. The fibres become misaligned over time, losing their flexibility.
How often should you wash jeans?
Jeans can go weeks between full washes. Spot clean when needed instead to retain shape and color. Only do full washes when visibly dirty.