Raw Denim Evaluation of Stretching & Shrinkage

Posted by Maurice Malone on 24th Sep 2016

Raw Denim Evaluation of Stretching & Shrinkage

Hope Street questions answered: How much does raw denim shrink and stretch?

Raw jeans growth from raw to worn and stretched

Starting with a fresh new pair of men’s raw denim Hope Street jeans, I recorded measurements of my size 35 jeans. The jeans were worn on average about two days per week for about a year.

One thing I noticed about my Hope Street jeans is they remained very dark even after a year plus of wearing causally and beating them up pretty good in the warehouse. I asked Blake, from Cone Denim about this and he told me the denim used in the Hope Street jeans was their darkest pure indigo shade. He went on to say, “it’s 40% pure. That shade is engineered to give the best possible range of shade.” Meaning, once you do manage to where the denim down, the multitude of aging tones in the indigo will be beautiful.

Working from the Williamsburg denim store every day, I found myself educating people on things like, “what are selvedge jeans?” Washed vs. raw jeans and how much does raw denim shrink and stretch. The expansion experienced while wearing raw denim jeans and the shrinkage that occurs after wash has been the most challenging conversations. To aid and give visual to the discussion, I made it my goal to personally begin testing every style of Williamsburg jeans for denim shrinkage and growth. Starting with measurements taken from jeans while new and raw, to the point where they grow after months of wear and ending with recording after-wash measurements, followed by after-wash/after-wear measurements.

How much does raw denim shrink and stretch?

Raw denim jeans shrinkage and stretching measurements

Below, are the measurements from Hope Street, non-stretch, standard raw denim jeans before wear. Followed by the measurements of the jeans after washing and then wearing them for 2 days – stretching and growing the jeans to a size that ending up being slightly smaller jeans than they were in the beginning. 

New: Size 35

Waist Band: 39”

Seat: 43 ¾”

Front Rise: 10 ¾”

Rear Rise: 15”

Thigh: 26”

Knee: 17 ¼”

Hem: 14 ½”

Inseam: 35

Washed & Worn: Size 35

Waist Band: 38 ½”

Seat: 43 ½”

Front Rise: 10 ½”

Rear Rise: 16”

Thigh: 26”

Knee: 17”

Hem: 14 ¼”

Inseam: 32 7/8

In high stress areas like the waist band, seat and knees, the denim shrank a good amount after the first wash, however, after a short time of wear, the fabric expanded relatively with ease. At the rise and thigh, the areas that stretch the most, the changes cancelled each other out, growing a great deal while raw, then shrinking and enlarging again shortly after wash and wear. The inseam which sees very little growth during the break-in process is only really effected by shrinkage and loses about 2 inches.