Let’s face it. Each brand has their own size and fitting measurements, and it’s usually hard to distinguish whether one leather jacket from Wilsons leather will fit the same as an AllSaints leather jacket. I know because that is the exact experience I had when I was shopping at both places. Wilsons leather jackets have a tendency to have a more “open” fit, while my AllSaints jacket was snug and proportional.
Trying on such a piece of trendy or functional jacket doesn’t always fit, and it’s not anyone’s fault if it looks goofy or a bit too big. I will show you how to shrink a leather jacket.
Some recommend going to the gym and drinking whole milk until your jacket fits nice and tight, but not everyone is lactose-tolerant, so shrinking sounds like a good plan.
Luckily, there are several ways to downsize or shrink your leather jacket to fit your body. Check them out below:
1. Submerge and Dry
- Fill up the large plastic bin about halfway with warm water and place it in your bathtub. Put on rubber gloves when beginning to handle your leather jacket as you will be dipping the jacket into the plastic bin and, depending on the jacket, its dye may bleed onto your hands. Having the leather jacket in the plastic bin will also avoid any dye to damage your bathtub’s finish.
- Place your jacket in the water (making sure there’s enough water to cover the jacket). Keep the jacket under water for five to ten minutes. You may notice some dye that will naturally leak into the water. You may even rub the jacket while it is submerged to get more dye to bleed out which will allow the leather to absorb more water to later encourage shrinkage.
- After time is up (I hope you’ve been counting), take the jacket out of the plastic bin and wring it out gently to remove excess water, preferably wringing the jacket over the bin as dye may still be bleeding out. Place the jacket on a towel to dry off. You can even lay the jacket out in the sun, near a heat source, or use a hairdryer, but be warned that it may shrink faster and needs your eye on it from time to time.
Make sure to place another dark-colored towel on the other side of the leather jacket, replacing both towels as needed as they absorb the jacket’s moisture. The drying process should take 24 – 48 hours.
2. The Washing and Drying Machine
Now before you call me a hypocrite, I did mention in a past post on leather conditioning that you should at all costs avoid the washer and dryer with a leather jacket. That still holds true for common circumstances involving cleaning or de-wrinkling your jacket. I see shrinking a leather jacket as a more uncommon situation and, based on research, I’ve found some recommending the washer and dryer to shrink a leather jacket.
- Put your leather jacket solely by itself (due to dye bleed-out) in the washing machine and run a regular cycle with cold water. If you’re cautious, try a quick wash rather than regular cycle. Avoid detergent as you’re not washing the jacket (nor should you in this circumstance). Depending on the machine, remember not to rough up the jacket with particular machine settings.
- Once the wash is complete, dry off excess water with a dark-colored towel to allow faster drying and prevent potential watermarks on your jacket. Some say to wring out your jacket to create stylish wrinkles but I wouldn’t advise doing that. You’ll have plenty of years ahead of you to make wrinkles through regular wear-and-tear.
- Dryer time. Place the leather jacket in the dryer and run the cycle on gentle heat, checking from time to time on its progress. I steer on the risk-adverse side which is why I’d recommend gentle heat, whereas some say medium heat. It comes down to how wet your leather jacket is. Regardless, the dryer process will allow the jacket to shrink. Try your jacket on once the dryer is finished. If it is still too big, keep drying until you get the desired result. Use a towel to dab off any additional moisture.
3. When In Doubt, Get It Tailored
The tried and true way to altering your leather jacket is simply to get it tailored. A leather tailor in your area will be able to manipulate the jacket to form-fit you at a decent cost and without much risk to the jacket.
Try searching online for experienced leather tailors with great reviews. You can even ask the company or store associate that sold you your leather jacket whether they know or can refer a good leather tailor.
A leather tailor will generally measure your neck, chest, waist, shoulders, arms, and wrists. Based on your body and jacket fit, take some time to understand how you want your jacket altered (e.g., where spaces are too tight or too baggy, shoulders need to get adjusted, sleeves need to be shortened, etc.).
If you’re not sure, the tailor can provide some advice based on their measurement of you.
Take The Plunge Or Take It Safe
Whether you found a leather jacket that was just a little too big or were passed down a jacket that you’d like to fit into better, shrinking a leather jacket may be an option for you. Some take the wet route and douse their jackets in water, later drying them to proportion. Others take the safer route and get their jackets professionally tailored. The good thing is you have many options, and based on your situation, can fix up your leather jacket in no time!
What was your experience trying the tricks above? Are there others I missed? Let me know below!