Oversized hoodies look great in many different styles, from urban chic to minivan mom. But the style doesn’t quite work if you pull out your oversize hoodie and find out that either you got a bit bigger or it shrunk in the wash! The good news is that you can still wear your baggy sweatshirt if you learn how to make a hoodie bigger.
One of the most popular ways to make a hoodie bigger is to stretch the sweatshirt using a relaxing soak or a handheld steamer. More permanent ways to make a hoodie bigger include altering the garment using sewing methods. Adjusting the hood or neck on a hoodie can also make it larger in key areas.
In this article, you will learn five methods for making a hoodie bigger, including several stretching and sewing techniques. You will find out how to take care of your hoodie so that it doesn’t shrink in the wash. Finally, you will discover tips for how to style an oversize hoodie to the best advantage!
- Can You Make a Hoodie Bigger?
- How to Make a Hoodie Bigger: 5 Methods
- How To Make Hoodie Sleeves Longer
- How Do You Loosen Hoodie Hoods
- How To Make A Sweatshirt Longer
- How to Widen a Hoodie Neck
- How Do You Modify a Hoodie
- Do Hoodies Shrink in the Dryer?
- How to Style Oversized Hoodie
Can You Make a Hoodie Bigger?
You can almost always make a hoodie bigger if you don’t mind spending a little time either stretching it out or tailoring it. This does depend on several factors, though.
First, check the tag inside your hoodie to find out what kind of fabric it is made out of. Most sweatshirts feature a kind of material called sweatshirt fleece, made of an outer knitted side and soft, brushed inner side. But this fabric may contain 100% cotton, 100% polyester, or a blend of the two kinds of material.
Cotton absorbs water easily, making it possible to stretch this kind of fabric without a lot of work. Polyester fabric does not stretch as easily. On the other hand, if you decide to make sewn alterations, it will not matter as much what kind of fabric your hoodie is made out of!
Another factor to consider is how big you want to make the hoodie.
Because of its flexible knit structure, sweatshirt fleece can stretch out quite easily. You can also make a variety of alterations using a sewing machine. But you generally cannot enlarge any garment more than a size or two, no matter what method you use!
Finally, what kind of design does your hoodie feature? If it has a cool printed or vinyl design on the front, such as a funny meme or an awesome decal, you may not want to risk stretching out the design. After all, if you stretch out the fabric, the print or vinyl will stretch with it! In this case, your safest option is to use sewing techniques to alter the hoodie.
How to Make a Hoodie Bigger: 5 Methods
Once you’re ready to get down to business and make your hoodie bigger, you can choose one of five simple methods to try! These include stretching out the hoodie using water or steam or trying a few sewing techniques to permanently alter the sweatshirt.
1. Stretch With Water
You can quite easily stretch out your hoodie to make it bigger or longer, especially if you accidentally shrunk it in the dryer!
Stretching out a sweatshirt works best if you have one made entirely of cotton. You can also try this method on a polyester sweatshirt, but you will not see as dramatic of results.
- Start by finding a bucket big enough to hold your hoodie, or scrub out your bathtub and use that!
- Fill up your bucket or tub with warm water. Pour in a dollop of hair conditioner or baby shampoo. You will need just a few tablespoons of whichever product you choose, which will help the fibers in the fabric relax.
- Sink your sweatshirt into the water, carefully pushing out any air bubbles with your hands. Swish it around a little to make sure it stays submerged.
- Let the hoodie soak for half an hour.
- Next, rinse out the conditioner using cool running water, or fill up the tub again with cool water and swish the sweatshirt around to rinse it well.
- When you pull the hoodie up out of the water, it will feel quite heavy! Try to press out as much water as possible without wringing it out, which could damage it.
- Roll the hoodie up inside a clean bath towel to soak up even more of the excess water.
- Now spread out the sweatshirt, lying flat on another clean towel.
- Find the parts of the hoodie that you want to enlarge. For instance, if you want to make it longer, hold the top of a shoulder and the hem and gently stretch in both directions. To make the chest area wider, hold both side seams and pull gently in both directions.
- Keep stretching, using gentle but firm pressure, until the hoodie reaches the size you want.
- Do not put the damp hoodie in the dryer! Instead, let it air dry. If you want it to get even a little longer, hang it up so that the weight of the water will pull the hem lower as it dries!
2. Stretch Without Water
If you do not want to go through all the hassle of hauling around a soaking-wet hoodie, you can also stretch it out without water. To do this, you will need handheld clothes or a curtain steamer.
You can find small steamers from many travel accessory brands, at places like Walmart or Target, or online. A small steamer that holds just a cup or two of water will cost about $20.
- Start by hanging up your hoodie in a place with an outlet conveniently nearby, unless you have a wireless steamer! In most cases, you want to make sure you can reach the sweatshirt easily without the steamer cord getting in your way.
- Turn on your steamer and let it heat up.
- Make sure you always keep the nozzle of the steamer pointed away from you! It may look gentle, but the steam coming out of the nozzle can scorch your skin quite badly.
- Using a slow sweeping motion, run the steam back and forth so that steam can penetrate every part of the hoodie. You will probably want to repeat this motion on both the front and the back of the sweatshirt.
- While the hoodie still feels damp and warm, use a gentle stretching motion to pull key areas in opposite directions. Tug on the shoulders and hem to make the sweatshirt longer, or hold two sides of the neck hole and tug gently to increase the neck hole size!
- If the hoodie cools down before you finish stretching, simply turn on the steamer again and give it a going-over before resuming stretching.
This is a great method if you need to make your hoodie bigger in a hurry! It will cool down and dry out right away, so you do not have to wait as long as you would for the soaking in water method.
As a pro tip, you can also use an iron set to the steamer function by moving the iron gently over the surface of the fabric as steam comes out. But it’s a bit easier to try this method using a handheld steamer if you have one!
3. With Sewing
If you have access to a sewing machine, you can use it to permanently alter your hoodie to make it bigger. Actually, you can use sewing to alter a hoodie and make it bigger in many ways.
To learn how to make sleeves longer or a sweatshirt longer using sewing, keep reading this article! But for a cool way to make a sweatshirt bigger in the torso, try this method of adding in extra fabric:
- Start by removing the hood. Use a seam ripper to carefully take apart the stitches holding the hood to the neckline of the sweatshirt. Set aside the hood for later.
- Use a tape measure to find the exact center back of the neckline. Mark this point.
- Cut a line straight down the center back at this point. The longer you cut, the more room you will add to the upper portion of the hoodie! Measure this slit and write down the measurement.
- Now, take your add-in material. You can use stretch lace, a knitted fabric of any color, or even a matching sweatshirt fleece. Cut a triangle of this material with each side measuring the same as the measurement you just wrote down from the center back.
- Pin the triangle into the “v” shape formed when you pull apart the edges of the slit you cut at the center back.
- Use a sewing machine to sew up the two sides from the point of the “v”.
- Now go back to the hood. Cut along the center seam in the hood, cutting it in half.
- Pull out your add-in material once again. Remember that measurement you wrote down? Cut out a strip of the same width. Pin the long edge to the new cut edge of one-half of the hood. Sew it in place. Then pin the other half of the hood to the other side of the strip.
- Finally, pin the hood back to the neck. The add-in strip in the hood and the center back should match up perfectly!
- Sew around the neckline circle, securing the hood back to the hoodie.
4. Without Sewing
You can make your hoodie bigger without sewing by using several different cutting methods. All you need to try this technique is a pair of sharp scissors!
To alter the neckline of your hoodie, try these steps:
- Spread out your sweatshirt with the front-facing up on a hard surface like a table or cutting mat.
- Use a tape measure to locate the exact center of the neckline. Usually, you will easily find this right between the two drawstrings.
- Use a piece of chalk to mark this point.
- Next, mark the point where you want the tip of the V to end. If you want a deep V-neck, place this point lower down the front of the hoodie. For a wide, short V-neck, you will want to keep this point closer to the original neckline.
- Use your scissors to cut a straight line between your two chalk points.
- At this point, you can fold the cut edges away from each other, creating a V shape. If you do not want the folds, you can also slice away this excess fabric using your scissors.
To make a loose crop-top hoodie, try this:
- Put on the hoodie and mark the new length on both sides. You can do this using a safety pin or a piece of chalk.
- Take it off and use a tape measure to check the markings, making sure they match on both sides.
- Use sharp scissors to cut across the hoodie from one mark to another.
- Sweatshirt fleece will not fray, so you can leave the cut edge for a stylish, edgy look!
5. Professional Tailor
If you want your hoodie permanently altered but do not want to sew it yourself, you may consider consulting a professional tailor. Many tailors can make simple alterations to the sleeves, neckline, or drawstring areas of a sweatshirt for somewhere between $12 to $20.
Is it worth the trouble of finding a tailor and the expense of paying this professional? That choice is up to you, of course! If you have a pricey hoodie that you love and you need it enlarged, you may want to get professional assistance.
But if you have a cheap hoodie that you bought at the beach for ten bucks, you’re probably better off trying a few simple alterations yourself. After all, if things go wrong, you can just buy a new hoodie for less than you would pay a tailor to fix the old one!
How To Make Hoodie Sleeves Longer
After soaking or steaming the sweatshirt, hold the shoulder with one hand and the cuff with the other. Pull gently with both hands, slightly elongating the sleeve. You may need to repeat this process a few times to get the length you want!
For a more whimsical touch, you could also consider adding a ruffle or other adornment at the cuff of the sleeve to extend the sleeve a bit. You can do this by sewing a ribbon or piece of lace to the inside of the original cuff by hand or with a sewing machine.
How Do You Loosen Hoodie Hoods
The simplest way to loosen a hoodie hood is to stretch out the hood and neck hole of the sweatshirt. Another way to make this area of the hoodie bigger is to loosen the drawstring inside the hood.
To stretch out a hoodie hood, simply follow the steps for soaking and stretching a hoodie described earlier in this article. After the soak, stretch the hood from one side to the other or focus on the neckline if it is the neck that feels too tight. This should expand this section of the sweatshirt by up to one size!
Sometimes if you have washed a hoodie several times, the drawstring inside the hood can contract or get twisted up, making the hood too small. To fix this:
- Start by simply pulling the string or cord out.
- If the drawstring seems too worn out or twisted up, discard it and get a new one (yes, you can use a long shoelace for this!). If it seems fine, go ahead and reuse it.
- Thread one end of the string into a plastic drinking straw. Use a paperclip, safety pin, or staple to hold that end to the plastic straw.
- Push the stapled end of the straw into the tube of fabric at the edge of the hood. Keep working the straw through until it comes out the other side.
- Remove the straw.
- Knot both ends of the string to prevent them from sliding back through.
How To Make A Sweatshirt Longer
You can make a sweatshirt longer by stretching it or adding extra material onto its hem.
To stretch a sweatshirt longer, you can follow the steps described in the water soaking method earlier in this article.
Want your sweatshirt even longer? After completing this method, hang up the damp hoodie and attach small weights to the bottom of the hem! The weight, and the heaviness of the water in the fabric, will help the sweatshirt stretch even longer.
For a cutesy, frilly look, you can also consider adding a ruffle or additional panel of fabric to the hem of the hoodie. This will make it however long you want!
- Start by measuring the original hem of the hoodie. Use a flexible sewing tape measure for this, and write down the measurement.
- Next, cut out a piece of lace, ribbon, or ruffled trim exactly one inch longer than that measurement.
- Pin together the short ends of the trim, making a circle.
- Use a sewing machine to sew those short ends together. The circle of your trim should now exactly match the size of the sweatshirt hem.
- Use sewing pins to attach the lace or trim to the inside of the hem.
- Sew around the circle where you pinned, removing the sewing pins as you go.
- Snip off the loose threads neatly.
- Iron the trim so that it hangs flat from the bottom of the sweatshirt hem.
How to Widen a Hoodie Neck
You can widen a hoodie neck by turning the neckline into a V-neck or cutting the shirt at the shoulder seams.
To turn your hoodie into a V-neck, follow the instructions listed earlier in this article!
To widen the neck at the shoulder seams, follow these steps:
- First, you will have to remove the front sides of the hood from the neck. To do this, use a seam ripper to carefully pick out the stitches holding the hood of the neck. You will want to do this to a point one inch past the shoulder seam along the neckline.
- Now use the seam ripper again to carefully pick out one inch of stitching along the shoulder seam. When you open up this inch of the shoulder seam, it will make the neckline bigger!
- Pin the hood back to the neckline. This time, you will have extra space because of the opened shoulder seams. Don’t worry that the hood does not reach the new edge of the neckline!
- Sew the hood on the inside edge of the neckline, where you pinned it.
- Finally, you will want to finish the overhanging edges of the neckline. You can leave the cut edge if you want a scruffier look. But for a finished edge, either fold a piece of bias tape over the cut edge, pin it, and stitch it in place, or fold over the cut edge and use your sewing machine to hem it in place.
This method is even easier on a sweatshirt without a hood! For a hoodless sweatshirt, you can snip right into the shoulder seams and leave the cut edge raw if you like for a rougher look. Or you can hem the new opening, giving you a neatly sewn, large neck hole in the hoodless sweatshirt.
How Do You Modify a Hoodie
You can modify a hoodie in thousands of ways, including making it look like a ninja outfit or turning it into a dress!
For an easy, cheap modification perfect for a low-key Halloween costume, turn your sweatshirt into a “Ninja” outfit.
- Start with a plain black hoodie if possible.
- Find a cheap “neck gator” made out of fleece. For the best results, try to get one in black!
- Turn your sweatshirt inside out.
- Find the center front of the sweatshirt neckline. Pin the edge of the neck gator to this point.
- Either sewing by hand or using a sewing machine, stitch the edge of the neck gator to the center front of the neckline on the inside of the sweatshirt.
- Repeat this process at the center back.
- Now when you put the hoodie on, you can put your head through the neck gator as well and pull it up to hide the lower half of your face!
For another funky look, try combining two sweatshirts to make a sweatshirt dress!
- Cut the bottom hem off one sweatshirt.
- Measure a straight line across the second sweatshirt just below the sleeves. Cut along this line, removing the top portion of the sweatshirt.
- Use sewing pins to pin the raw edges of the cut sweatshirts together. Place the right (knitted) side of the sweatshirt material together as you do this.
- Sew around the circle you just pinned, then turn the combined sweatshirts right side out.
- Try on your new dress!
Finally, you can also decorate a sweatshirt in almost any style imaginable. You can use tie-dye or Shibori dye if you want a colorful pop in your wardrobe. You can sew or glue on beads, buttons, or sparkly plastic jewels. You can embroider by hand or use an embroidery machine to create custom designs on your hoodie.
Depending on how fancy you want to get, you could use a heat press to attach vinyl cut-outs or printed designs to your hoodie. You can even use fabric markers or fabric paint to paint designs onto your hoodie!
Do Hoodies Shrink in the Dryer?
Hoodies can easily shrink in the dryer, especially if you have one made out of cotton. Cotton can shrink quite a lot when exposed to heat and moisture because of the way its fibers are shaped!
Naturally, after you go to all the work of making your hoodie bigger, you do not want to see it shrink! Check out these tips on how to care for a sweatshirt to keep it in the best possible shape and size.
- Hang up your hoodie outside to air dry after washing. Avoiding the dryer is critical if you don’t want to accidentally shrink the sweatshirt by a couple of sizes!
- Wash your sweatshirt about every five times you wear it. If you always wear it over a tee, you can wash it even less often!
- When you need to wash it, turn the hoodie inside out first. This will protect the knit surface and any printed designs or logos.
- To remove pills from an older sweatshirt, try using a piece of duct tape to dab at the little thread balls! This way, you will not damage the fabric by using scissors.
How to Style Oversized Hoodie
Now that you successfully made your hoodie bigger, you may want some tips on how to style your oversized hoodie! The good news is that these trendy, baggy sweatshirts remain popular in various styles.
Pairing your baggy hoodie with tight bottoms almost always looks good. Consider skinny jeans, leggings, or slim-fit khakis.
Everyone from college kids to minivan moms can pull off the sweatshirt, leggings, and fall boots look these days!
In the summer, wearing a long hoodie with shorts can also look good for women! For guys, try a loose sweatshirt with boat shorts or khakis shorts for a super-casual vibe.
If you want to try a fashion-forward style, consider pairing a hoodie with a skirt or dress! Adding heeled boots can dress up this unique ensemble even more.
For more of a tough guy or girl look, what about layering a jacket over your hoodie? A denim, corduroy, or leather jacket can add an edgy vibe to your look and keep you warm in cool weather!
You can make a hoodie bigger by either stretching it out or adding sewn alterations. Stretching a sweatshirt is easier when it is made out of cotton, though you can also make polyester hoodies a bit bigger with careful soaking and stretching. The easiest way to relax a hoodie to make it pliable for stretching is to soak it in a solution of warm water and hair conditioner or apply heated steam using a handheld steamer.
You can also alter your hoodie with a sewing machine. You can make the neckline bigger, add extra length at the hem or on the cuffs of the sleeves, or even add a wide lace panel at the back of the neck to make the hoodie larger!