You bought a t-shirt or a pair of jeans, and it wasn't until you tried it at home, that you realized it is a little too large for you. In this case, you are left with two options. First, going to a tailor and getting the clothes altered, and the second as well as cheaper, shrink the apparel yourself.
» Cotton and Wool
Before starting the process, you have to determine what fabric your clothes are made of. If you are unsure, check the label on the garment. Woolen fabric normally takes about 3 to 4 washes before it shrinks, while a cotton fabric gets shrunk easily, at times even after the first wash. There are certain cotton fabrics which are pre-washed before your purchase them. These garments do not shrink after you wash them.
However, if the fabric is not pre-washed, it is bound to shrink after washing it for the first time. When clothes are washed in washers, the spinning causes woolen and cotton fabric to bind or pull together, thereby causing shrinkage.
Denim is one of the simplest fabrics to shrink, as it is very similar to cotton fabrics, just that the threading is more strong. After washing the jeans in cold water, allow it to spin for a few more minutes. This will assist in tightening the fabric by pulling the threads together. Put the jeans into the dryer, and adjust the setting to 'low', so that the clothes stay in warm air for a longer period. Once it is completely dry, and you try to put it on, you will notice your jeans have shrunk.
Like jeans and cotton fabrics, polyester is also very easy to shrink. Wash the garment in cold water and leave them in the dryer to let them dry. Make sure that you adjust the settings on the dryer to 'high'. That is it. After drying, your clothing will have shrunk from its original size.
It is a little difficult to shrink silk, but not impossible. Since you do not want to harm the threading of your silk cloth by washing it in the washing machine, you normally hand-wash all silk clothes. So, once that is done, air dry it by spreading it out in the sun. After that, put the clothing in your dryer, adjust it to medium, and leave it for 5 minutes. Be careful, not to keep it in the dryer for a very long time, as this may cause more shrinkage. Keep checking on the cloth every 5 minutes and remove it after it has shrunk as per your need.
To shrink clothes in the wash, adjust your washing machine settings to 'hot water', add clothes and detergent. Allow the washer to finish the complete washing cycle, which should take about 15 - 20 minutes. Once the machine stops spinning, remove the clothes, and place them in the dryer. Keep the dryer settings to hot, and let them spin a complete cycle, which should last for about 15 minutes. Get the clothes out and iron them. You will observe they have shrunk in size. Another way is to allow them to drip dry. Simply wash them in a washer, and lay them out flat in the hot sun. The heat will make the fabric tighter, and thus facilitate the shrinking process.
Ensure that you check the fabric of your clothes first, and then use the appropriate method to shrink them. You may overdo the shrinking, so guard against it, by keeping a check on the fabric after every step. In case you are not comfortable with the idea of doing it yourself, you can always go to a tailor to get them altered as per your size.