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Express Italian Merino Wool Sweater: To Shrink or Not to Shrink?

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    Express Italian Merino Wool Sweater: To Shrink or Not to Shrink?

    I'm 6 feet tall, but lean and athletic with decent shoulders. I've lost a little weight since last year and my Express Large Merino Wool Sweaters are not as tight around the torso as I would like. I have no experience washing wool and am even considering taking them to a tailor. What are your thoughts? They look good now but I want them to look great on me. I am just so worried about messing about a great sweater. I own 6 of these.


    In my experience: Depending on how it was knitted, it may shrink in 1 or 2 directions, sometimes a lot, sometimes none at all. The torso may shrink and the sleeves may really shrink (arm capri ?). The fibers may get tougher (same amount of wool in a smaller volume) and get closer to felt. It may retain it's shape, or it may bunch.

    What does the tag say? Dry clean only? Hand wash, air dry? The more automation you use (washer instead of hand wash, drier on high heat instead of air dry on a towel) the more drastic the change. It's a guess and check process - wash a little pull it out, see how much shrinkage you have, wash some more, etc. Air dry flat to keep it that way, tumble dry high heat to shrink some more. IMO, I would treat it as a recipe. Take good notes while you experiment on one, and then repeat the process with the others. If you shrink it too much, you can re-stretch it out (carefully) while it's wet. If you do try to shrink yourself, use your least favorite of the six to practice on and go slowly.

    I don't have any experience with tailors and wool sweaters so I will let some of the other guys chime in. Have you asked your tailor about it?

    Good luck!

    My Measurements: 6' 1" height, 35" sleeves, 41-42" chest/jacket, 35" waist, 34" inseam, 11.5D/EEE shoes, 200 lbs



      I just handwashed all of my Merino Wool (GAP) sweaters and they all shrank up a tiny bit. I also dropped weight over the past year and the little bit of shrink was just what I wanted. I handwashed all of mine in warm water with a little bit of dawn soap (more like a hand soak, minimal agitation and rinse) then laid them out to dry in a cool area on a towel. I had one sweater (from express) that was dry clean only that I did it on too. Came out fine.



        Thanks a lot! I will try the hand-washing method first.



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