A reader asks, “Do you have any tips for shrinking a wool sweater that is too big without felting* it?” Well, we’re not sure about sizing a LARGE down to a MEDIUM, but we can help when the parts get stretched out, such as when a turtleneck looks more like a hippo neck. When this happens, it’s easy to shrink a sweater’s stretched-out neck, cuffs and waist back into shape. Here’s what to do…

Dunk the sweater in a sink filled with hot water. Shake off as much water as possible (without stretching it further!), then blot the sweater with a clean, dry towel. Once the sweater is no longer dripping wet, reshape to the size you want and dry the stretched-out part(s) with a blow-dryer set on hot. The localized heating will bring those parts of your sweater back into line!

Caution: Do not touch a wet sweater with a plugged-in dryer. And some hair dryers get very hot, so move the dryer constantly (back and forth, as a salon stylist would) to keep from burning your sweater.

*Felting is the process that mats together animal fibers (such as wool) until they resemble felt. This usually occurs from a regular hot-water wash. This is not a good thing if you want a sweater to maintain its basic shape (since felting often shrinks material significantly) and the wool to retain its integrity.

More help with your clothes…