After heavy wear, tights tend to lose their shape, causing them to sag at the waist and pool unattractively at the ankles. If stretched out enough, tights may even become difficult to keep on at all and can take a downward dive at an inopportune moment. Restoration of the original shape is possible; however, how much a pair of tights will shrink is entirely dependent upon its fabric content. Natural fabrics like cotton and wool shrink well with moisture and heat, while 100 percent synthetic fabrics like polyester and Lycra will not shrink at all.
Things You'll Need
Place the tights into a mesh bag, such as those designed for washing lingerie. This prevents the washing machine agitator from damaging the tights.
Put the mesh bag into the washing machine. Fill the measuring cup for a color-safe detergent to the small load line, and dump it into the washing machine. Close the lid.
Turn the washing machine to a hot water cycle. If multiple heat settings exist, use the highest possible setting for tights with a large synthetic fiber content.
Place the tights and a fabric softener sheet into the clothing dryer. Dry the tights on high heat.
Repeat the wash and dry cycles, if the tights did not shrink enough. With tights that have a large synthetic fiber content, several cycles may be necessary.
References and ResourcesSew Basic: 34 Essential Skills for Sewing With Confidence; Threads Magazine
Sewing for Dummies; Jan Saunders Maresh
Laundry: The Home Comforts Book of Caring for Clothes; Cheryl Mendelson