A Pictorial Guide for
Full Count's Shrink-to-Fit Denim
Stepping into the world of 'Shrink-To-Fit' Denim can seem somewhat of a minefield at first glance; there are countless opinions and processes, blogs and forum-threads, all with their own sets of rules, pitfalls and contradictions which can send even the most enthusiastic of denim enthusiasts cross-eyed and green in front of their screens.
If one thing is true about shrink-to-fit denim (as with many other things), there are no specific rights or wrongs, just a few rules and differences in taste.
In this short piece, we hope to visually show our simple and straightforward process for achieving that shrink-to-fit silhouette with the minimum of hassle.
The pair of jeans chosen to break down this process is the Full Count 0105 model, the last stock we have of the original pattern. The 0105 is a modern classic and favourite style for many across the world due to their incredible comfort and unique fading, both due to the hand-picked Zimbabwean cotton used to weave all of Full Count's denim; not to mention the superb cut and all round fit.
We started this blog before the world ground to a halt for many people, but what better time (now you have the time) to think about a fun little project like a new pair of jeans!
You've already re-painted the hallway, grouted the bathroom, sorted through the DVD collection and old magazines gathering dust and decided to sell a few things on eBay; now with that list of achievements completed, back to the blog post...
One of the reasons for choosing Full Count as our example is because of the noticeable change for the better their raw denim goes through after seeing a bit of water. When trying them on at first, the fit is quite a long way off their 'true' shape, which can leave you unsure about the end result and nervous about the investment. It can seem like a leap of faith and a little daunting.
This will hopefully alleviate some of the worries about shrink-to-fit as a side note to denim itself and not the overbearing focus.
Raw Denim Fit & Sizing
When choosing the cut it is widely accepted that you buy your regular size. There is no need to size up (unless you want a very loose cut) and some people size down to get the most out of the Zimbabwean cottons natural elasticity, which moulds to you and fits like second skin.
One of the key features to the uniqueness of Full Count denim is the cotton used. Hand-picked to protect the natural 'long-staple' fibres which gives the woven denim its softness while still being durable and why Zimbabwean cotton is renowned for its quality.
I could never get over the amazing feeling of those leather patch 501xx I wore when I was a teenager, so I made up my mind that somehow or another, I was going to make a fabric like that...
I stake my life to reproduce the ideal vintage Jeans.
Full Count Founder - Mikiharu Tsujita
(You don't need a laundrette, it just takes a better picture)
Nothing complicated here. We find it best to keep it simple; this is the easiest way to get the shrink out of the fabric with a few easy rules to follow.
There are lots of ways to shrink your denim, if you fancy a soak, then you can soak in the bath with your new blues on and indigo-tan your pegs, though in practice it's a bit of a faff.
You can stay dry and simply soak the jeans; for this we would recommend turning your jeans inside out and soaking them in the hottest water your boiler can manage for a generous two hours, agitating the water after is has cooled to remove any extra starch.
Though for the easiest option, with arguably the best results, run them through the machine; the simplicity of this means you'll end up with a pair of jeans that has 'already been through it' leaving you with no shrinkage surprises throughout their life.
When using a machine turning them inside out is a necessity to keep the indigo in and avoid any nasty fade creases while they tumble and soak and short or no spin-cycle. We think 40º is a good temperature for the first wash, removing the majority of shrinkage up front allowing you to just enjoy getting on wearing them.
One thing to avoid is tumble drying; this will cause the denim to swell unnaturally and can also result in streaked fading and creasing which will be embedded into your denim forever.
We find hanging them in the shower or bath directly after washing allows the excess water and indigo to drain. When not so sodden, lie them flat on an old towel until dry.
Waist: 15 / Front Rise: 11.25 / Back Rise: 15.5 / Inseam: 36 / Hem: 8.25
Post-Wash 40º Machine Cycle
Waist: 14 / Front Rise: 11 / Back Rise: 15 / Inseam: 34 / Hem: 8
Once your denim has been washed and dried you can start thinking about length. This is always a matter of taste and personal preference, which will probably change over the years of wearing them.
We always recommend leaving the length a little longer for the first hemming and as you wear into them, to allow the denim to mould and change on the body.
The finished fit you get from Full Count is superb; the 0105 featured here is an excellent versatile cut and 'proper' shape.
The comfort of the denim is hard to beat and why for so many Full Count is their favourite brand for producing heritage selvedge denim brand.
We hope this little feature has helped breakdown the process and end result for Full Count's shrink-to-fit denim, while making it more accessible and less daunting for those who have always been curious, but never been sure.