The incredible shrinking violet pants

Dear fabbers, I just wanted to say you were right on the money by calling my new printed pants "diva pants". I did keep them, and wore them and loved them. Then I washed them. And my love changed a little bit. 

The instructions say to hand-wash cold, line dry in the shade. The pants are made of 100% rayon. A little fussy, but not a problem. I put them in the washing machine with 2 other fluid tops of similar colouring, put them on the hand-wash cold setting, line dry. All is well. 

At the end, they were a bit wrinkled, so I ironed them out. They looked a little bit small, so I put them on to see if the fit had changed. THESE PANTS WENT FROM LOOSE TO TOO SMALL TO PULL UP. I couldn't believe it. I've sewed for 20 years, and have bought hundreds of garments. Short of machine felting, I've never encountered that much shrinkage in the wash. I pondered what to do about it (take the darned things back to the store they came from), and read the label a bit more closely. This is what it said: 

"Despite hand-washing, this garment may shrink. Restore to original shape with steam iron on med. heat. If you have any questions about the garment, please call #phone number." 

Has anyone else ever encountered a garment so fussy the manufacturer thinks it necessary to put their phone number on the garment tag, so they can give you specific instructions on restoring a garment to its original size??? 

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Glory replied 10 years ago

    Ah - I just had this experience with my brand new ponte pants. In may case I did not read the label and not only washed but dried them. Ooops. I had worn them exactly one time. They shrunk 3 full inches - could not believe it.
    One of our fabbers suggested I wet them and pull them back to size - and it worked!!! They are back to the original length. It is the rayon that causes this.
    So I would say this is worth a try. 

  • kkards replied 10 years ago

    wow....just wow....i cannot believe that they would even suggest hand washing if they know that they would shrink that much. 
    i have to be honest, i dry clean almost everything that will need ironing, so i rarely encounter anything like this. 
    i'm interested in what they say when you call the number.

  • Janet replied 10 years ago

    I would try rewashing or wetting them and then pulling and stretching them back out to reshape them. It may work! Rayon can be really funky that way. Good luck!

  • cheryle (Dianthus) replied 10 years ago

    That is why I avoid rayon.  I had a shirt that I hand washed - not in the machine - in cold water and it shrank at least 3".  I don't think a manufacturer should use a fabric if they know it will be wearable one time.  That is just too extreme even in this age of disposable fashion.

  • Scarlet replied 10 years ago

    I avoid rayon because it's been so unreliable to wash for me. Sorry about your pants! Never heard of a phone number before!

  • deb replied 10 years ago

    Actually it is the weave of the rayon. A straight weave does not shrink that much but a knit or a cross weave, there will be shrinkage. I always look at the way the garment is woven and size up with rayon.

  • Caro in Oz replied 10 years ago

    Some rayon & viscose can shrink in the wash but will come back to their original size with ironing. I would try washing them again & ironing them while they are still damp.

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