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EXTREMELY confused newbie questions on dry denim: sizing, care, etc


Senior Member
Sep 3, 2006
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So far, from my research, I've concluded that dry denim should be worn as much as possible with heavy wear (approx. 6 months) before given their first wash. I've also read that after washing, they should be hung to dry. Those are the only constants I've found in my research though....

Research tells me that I should expect more stretching than shrinking on my dry denim as I'd be wearing them more than ever washing them. Does that mean I should buy my denim a bit tighter than what I'd like the end result to be?

Research also tells me that dry denim shrinks like crazy in the wash. Does that mean I should buy my denim bigger? I love a 32" inseam, so should I buy a 33"?

(Obviously, I'm very very confused on sizing.)

I've also read about "soaks", "initial soaks", "starch soaks". What are these soaks? Should I give my denim some sort of soak when I first purchase my pair?

What should I do if I want my end product to be as dark as possible? (I love dark indigo jeans)

My new jeans have always left a ring of indigo dye around the rim of my sneakers. Will dry denim leave even more? How about on my white sofa? White tees? In the rain?

Thanks so much for your help on this topic and for sharing the knowledge.

Get Smart

Don't Crink
Oct 27, 2004
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wow, lots of questions.

In a nutshell...

not all dry denim will shrink...most dry denim is sanforized so the waist will shrink unnoticeably, but the inseam could shrink 1-2". In general, buy dry denim so that it's very snug. Some guys like to buy them ballbusting tight, but that's personal preference.

Soaks...if it's not shrink to fit denim then it's not necessary to soak. Some like to soak if they are plannign to hem the jeans since the inseam might shrink a bit so the initial soak will take care of the inseam shrinkage without losing much indigo.

If you want to keep the denim as dark as possible, dry clean, don't wash in water.

Dry denim will turn white sofas blue. and white sneakers blue. if they get soaked in rain, yea they will drip blue and turn everything they touch blue.

Spencer Young

Senior Member
Feb 26, 2005
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I recently passed my six month mark with my APC Rescues. I took a hot shower with them on (just water) and let them dry a bit, then peeled myself out of them and let them hang dry.

I normally wear a 32. Made the mistake of getting just a 31. They stretched a good deal, and a belt was pretty much necessary. The shower shrank them probably 1" in the inseam, and the waist size back to almost original. Now the waist is expanding again (the pants', not mine, thankfully).

Moral of story: if you buy APCs, size 2 down. 3 if you want a ballbuster. You will have an end product that fits perfectly.

I've sat (hesitantly) on some white fabric furniture with my raw denim on. It didn't leave a mark or anything. During my shower all the water turned blue. Don't get them wet.

To answer your questions: Buy it tighter. Most raw denim has longer inseams to cope with the shrinkage - you shouldn't have a problem if you have normal length legs. Soak if you want, I didn't. Dry clean to keep dark. Stay away from water. Use febreeze. Enjoy.


Senior Member
Jun 1, 2006
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I'd just like to add that if your buying Lee 101b they are ridiculously oversized. I purchased the European made ones in a 32" waist and after washing them on 60 degrees the waist measures 36" !! Obviously they are falling off me and havent shrunk in the slightest

If buying nudie raw selvedge then go one size down in the waist

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