Denim Care

Chart shows how raw denim stretches and shrinks

Raw Denim Growth

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I recorded the changes in my selvedge Grand Street jeans as they went through the process of wearing and washing. I did this because lots of our customers often ask the same set of questions when it comes to raw denim jeans.

  • How much do raw denim jeans shrink? 
  • How much do raw denim jeans stretch or grow?
  • Should I buy a size larger and then soak the jeans?
  • Do I buy a size down, and then wear them until the jeans stretch & grow?

Above you’ll find on the left an image of a new pair of raw jeans combined with jeans on the right worn 9 months without a wash. The best thing about aging your jeans as opposed to purchasing a jean pre-washed, is you get authentic wear effects unique to your own body and wearing experience.

Combined photos of new raw jeans vs. aged unwashed raw denim jeans on the right side show shrinkage and stretching growth
Unworn new raw jeans vs. 9 months worn unwashed on right side

Below, you will find the whole process detailing how I ended up at the measurements above. Again, the new pair of raw jeans on the left combined with jeans after wearing 9 months without a wash, merged on the right.

The chart explains the measurements in detail of raw jeans before wearing and stretching growth after. It also shows shrinkage due to washing and how much the jeans expand again after being worn.

For a guy like me, with a large seat and athletic legs, the outcome was growth in the highly stressed areas of the seat and waist from bending, even after washing. There is also a lot of friction in the crotch area, which causes fraying at the seams and holes to develop in the denim, which is typical for guys that wear their jeans lower on the hips. Those who wear jeans higher near the waistline may not get as much friction and wear in the crotch area.

On another note, the white in the base color becomes slightly dark from oils absorbed from the skin. After I did the first wash of the jeans, the blue was still pretty dark, but the white yarns were brighter. You can see this in the animated images from my earlier post or in the slide show on Heddles.com.