How much raw denim jeans grow or shrink after washing and wearing explained with measurement changes displayed over the jeans waistband, rise, hips and thighs.

A look at raw denim jeans after wash & wear

We look at a pair of customer jeans that have been worn and washed for roughly 16 months to see how much they charged over time.

We analyze our Slim Standard Grand Street jeans after washing and wearing them to explore how the fit of raw denim jeans can vary over time. The style before the wash feels starchy and crisp. It was produced in a mid-weight, 11.5-ounce, American-made Cone Denim White Oak non-selvedge denim.

Williamsburg Garment Company's new raw denim jeans compared to broken-in worn jeans

We do a lot of denim alterations, not just on our jeans but also on those from numerous other brands. The bottom line is that we get to see a lot of denim, which is a plus. They arrive with us new, slightly used, well-broken-in, or terribly damaged and devastated.

In the case of Williamsburg jeans, this enables us to contrast various levels of our used denim with those of the same style that are brand-new, off-the-rack. These jeans were brought in for button repair work. It was a fantastic pair to study because they hadn’t had any hemming or other adjustments done that would have made them out of the original specifications.

The measurements between the new and the older pairs of jeans are shown here. Because of the yarn colors, fabric texture, softness, and lack of oil in the fabric, we know this pair has been washed at some point throughout its history, even if we didn’t inquire. The signs of stretching are prevalent in locations that experience typical stress, so we know the jeans were worn after being washed.

Measurements differences between new and worn raw denim jeans
The measurements indicate the changes between brand-new and worn raw denim jeans.

You should be aware that when it comes to raw denim, each fabric that makes up the product may have varying rates of shrinkage or growth. This is true whether you own a pair of raw jeans from another manufacturer or even a different model of Williamsburg jeans. When soaked in water, some denim actually expands in one direction rather than contracting. Others may have little or significant stretching.

Finally, size is important. In the same fabric, a 1/4 inch increase on size 30 jeans could translate to a 3/8 to 1/2 inch increase on size 40 jeans. This is due to the fact that larger size changes are being felt over greater distances.

For more information, or to review spec changes in other styles, check out past articles.

Previous Story

What’s the difference between raw denim and selvedge denim?

Next Story

A detailed guide for hemming jeans and tapering them to perfection

Latest from Denim