How to Stretch a Shrunken Boiled Wool Jacket

Boiled wool is known for its durability, reliability and warmth, often used to make sturdy trench coats and pea coats. This type of fabric has been pre-shrunk and felted to create a soft, attractive look that can withstand high winds and heavy wear and tear. But wool shrinks quite easily if it is laundered improperly or exposed to high temperatures. A few care techniques can reshape a distorted boiled wool jacket.

Mix together 1-tablespoon of baby shampoo in a quart of lukewarm water.

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Soak the boiled wool jacket in the baby shampoo mixture for about 5 minutes. Remove the garment from the mixture. To remove excess water do not wring the garment, but gently press the fibers instead.

Pull both the width and length of the jacket's arms with your fingers to encourage the sleeves to stretch while the garment is still wet. Place a hand inside each sleeve, and open your fingers to stretch out the shoulder area 1. Move your hand down the inside of the sleeve pushing your fingers out to encourage the fibers to stretch.

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Hang the boiled wool jacket on a padded hanger. Fill the sleeves with large, clean towels or extra bed sheets.

Zip or button the front of the jacket, and stuff the body of the jacket with extra towels or bed sheets. Make sure the stuffing fills the shape of the jacket to encourage the fabric to stretch.

Hang the jacket in a cool place out of direct sunlight. Allow the jacket to dry with the stuffing inside for 1-2 days. Remove the stuffing from the sleeves and body of the garment.

Wear the jacket regularly to encourage the fibers to shape to your specific body type. Ideally, you should wear the jacket every day for at least an hour to get best results.


Always read fabric care instructions before washing or stretching boiled wool.

Boiled wool can only stretch a certain amount. This technique works best to custom fit a jacket that is only slightly too small.