The noted changes in each stage are based on the measurement differences from the original unworn new jeans. For example, the waist growth from the unworn raw jeans in Stage-1 to the jeans that have been worn but never washed is +1″.
Stage 2, after the jeans have been worn for several months without a wash, they finally go through the pair’s first wash. The jeans are at their smallest point because they have not yet been worn again and seem to have lost at least a size. The waist now measures -1″ smaller than the original unworn new jeans at this point. Overall, that’s a 2″ difference between the waistband’s largest recorded size after the jeans were worn several months in the raw state and the first wash.