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Levis lvc 501 1947 shrink-to-fit advice

post #1 of 88
Thread Starter 
I just got a pair of levis lvc 501 1947 shrink to fit, deadstock, 34x34. Like a blank canvas.

I've read a lot of scattered posts on this subject, in various forums, but any last minute advice?

The goal: I want to get as much shrinkage out of the way, 2" and 3" from the inseam, while keeping as much indigo on the jeans, for good contrast as they are worn.

I've read everything from cold to hot water, a couple hours to overnight soaking, and even multilple soakings. I've read about adding salt and/or vinegar.

I came across a link to the Samurai website about how to soak/wash/dry their jeans, I have also read the translation, but would like some corroboration from people who have followed that process.

Thanks guys, and I'm going to borrow a camera to post pics of the process.
post #2 of 88
I recently purchased the 1947s and was also in your position.
I soaked mine in hot water for 3 hrs and from what I can remember, did not lose much indigo. I got a 32 x 32 and it shrank to 29.5 x 30, but has since stretched out to a 30 to 30.5 after wearing.
I believe the longer you soak, the more shrinkage you will get and cold soaking will supposedly lose less indigo, though my chief concern was to get maximum shrinkage.
The vinegar will help keep in the indigo so that it doesn't bleed onto your shoes, furniture, or clothing, though I haven't experienced any bleeding since my initial soak. The only time bleeding occurred was because I got caught in the rain...
post #3 of 88
soak them warm for a couple of hours. repeat if the shrinkage isn´t what you want.

i soaked mine for around an hour and thougt they shrank like crazy.
post #4 of 88
Just between us, if you really want a lot of shrinkage, dry it in a dryer after your first soak. Then soak it in hot again to bring back some stiffness.
post #5 of 88
Thread Starter 
Ok, here's an update:

I filled a washbasin with lukewarm water, mixed in half a cup of white vinegar, and a tablespoon of sea salt.

Dropped the jeans for about 2 and a half hours.

I don't see that much indigo loss. The water actually looks yellow-green, kind of like green tea.

Here's how the shrinking has come along:

Before soaking, the jeans measured 17" across the waistband and 34" inseam. A true 34x34.

Now, they measure a about 16.25" across the waistband, and just under 32" inseam.

So 2.5 hours in lukewarm water doesn't seem to shrink the jeans fully.

Question #1: Should I just leave it for a couple more hours (the water is pretty much cool now), or should I redo the process? Does it matter?


Also, after soaking to shrink the jeans, I do want to wash them in order to remove factory oils and starch (don't want premature holes forming). I picked up some Woolite Dark, which has gotten approval here.

However, I've read that washing them in a conventional washer can damage the jeans.

Question #2: Should I just handwash them?

On the other hand, I've heard that putting them through the washing machine/spin helps even out the indigo.
post #6 of 88
i just soaked my 47's last night for about 3 1/2 hours in warm water, no vineger or salt. the water was the same color as you describe. they also lost about 2" in the inseam and about 1" in the waist. they fit is pretty good right now, but i might soak then for an hour or so in hot water to try and get some more shrinkage in the thigh and hem. As for washing the jeans, maybe handwash them lightly. Your probably gonna lose more indigo if you wash them through the machine. I would suggest hang drying them also.
post #7 of 88
Thread Starter 
Ok, I repeated the warm soak, and I think that did the trick. Or did it?

I didn't handwash, I just popped them (inside out) into the washer using gentle cycle (low agitation) and Woolite Dark.

After it was done, I still saw suds, so I went through another rinse cycle.

This was the time that I measured the jeans, finally reached the right size: 32 waist, 31 inseam. Sweet.

Not sure if it was the warm soak or the machine wash that took another inch off, or a combination of both, sorry fellas, and I was trying to be meticulous!

Either way, indigo loss is minimal, I believe. Why? After I took out the jeans of the machine to hang dry, my fingers were blue. Nice. I guess they're still going to ruin my furniture.

Still plenty of indigo left on those suckers, after 2 warm soaks and a gentle machine wash cycle, two rinses.

Thanks for your advice guys, hopefully this helps some other people as well.
post #8 of 88
I recently got a pair of deadstock LVC 47 501s in size 38x36 and want to shrink them down to 36x33-34. I have searched this board and others for ideas on the ideal soak method to achieve ~2" shrinkage in both waist and inseam while retaining as much indigo and stiffness as possible.

Is undarted's method described above the best way to achieve this?

I appreciate any advice.
post #9 of 88
the man, he has shrunked the jeans.
post #10 of 88
Any numbers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by SuperBobo View Post
soak them warm for a couple of hours. repeat if the shrinkage isn´t what you want.

i soaked mine for around an hour and thougt they shrank like crazy.
post #11 of 88
I did two 1.5 hr hot soaks on my 34x34s
They have stretched back out to a 33x32. a lil bigger than I wanted.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2sweet View Post
Any numbers?
post #12 of 88
Thanks dude. And awesome thread. This is giving me great advice for my 501's.
post #13 of 88
I sat in hot water with my redtab 501's for 3 hours and got nowhere near 3 inches of shrinkage!

Does the cone mills denim shrink more than the redtab jobbies do?
post #14 of 88
the shrinkage was about the same in my STF and LVC levis.
PS what is the new chambray you received (saw it in your blog)?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robbie View Post
I sat in hot water with my redtab 501's for 3 hours and got nowhere near 3 inches of shrinkage!

Does the cone mills denim shrink more than the redtab jobbies do?
post #15 of 88
Here's what I did with some plain 501 STF, not LVC, but the method should be similar.

1. Run hot water in bathtub
2. Wear jeans in tub for ~30 minutes
3. Put in dryer for 30 minutes. Since it was winter and kinda cold I couldn't wear them till dryness
4. Out of dryer now lightly damp, put them on and break in the form again. Note much shrinkage
5. Took off and let air dry
6. "OMG I've created cardboard!" Find stiffest jeans ever waiting for me, much more so than NWT
7. Profit!...err wear till they break in

The normal STF only shrink ~1" in the waist now, but 3" in length. I feel like they may shrink a teeny bit more once I do a real wash and dry.
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