For Line-sheets and Private Label Services, create an account. All applications are strictly reviewed.

Decoding Garment Dyeing Shrinkage

December 01 2023 – Ivan Rosario

All Pima Apparel, Garment Dyed Essentials Made in LA
All Pima Apparel, Garment Dyed Essentials Made in LA

Definition of Garment Dyeing Shrinkage

In fashion-forward industry, garment dyeing has emerged as a popular technique to achieve unique and striking colors in clothing. However, along with its myriad advantages, one crucial challenge that the garment industry confronts is garment dyeing shrinkage. 

Garment dyeing shrinkage refers to the dimensional change that occurs in textiles after dyeing, washing, or drying. Understanding shrinkage is paramount for manufacturers and designers to ensure consistent sizing, fit, and overall quality of their products.

Garment dyeing shrinkage refers to the contraction or reduction in size that occurs after the fabric involving heat or moisture. This phenomenon primarily affects the length and/or width dimensions of garments, leading to undesired changes in their original measurements. It is essential to note that shrinkage can occur due to multiple factors like fiber type, fabric construction and even the post-dyeing finishing processes implemented.

Importance of Understanding and Managing Shrinkage in the Apparel Industry

The significance of comprehending and effectively managing shrinkage cannot be overstated for players within the garment industry. Firstly, accurate sizing is crucial for customer satisfaction. 

Consumers expect clothes that fit well and remain consistent after laundering. Failure to control shrinkage can result in garments becoming too tight or too loose for their intended size range. 

Secondly, managing shrinkage helps maintain product integrity throughout its lifecycle. Excessive or inconsistent shrinkage can lead to irregularities such as twisted seams or distorted shapes.

Thirdly, manufacturers always have to test yards as soon as the purchase the fabric.

“But Garment Dyeing will never be 100% consistent and players in the industry are aware about it.

Keep in mind a 3-5% allowance in garment dyeing shrinkage”

Explanation of garment dyeing process.

Garment dyeing is a process in which finished garments are dyed after the manufacturing process. Unlike traditional fabric dyeing, where the yarn or fabric is dyed before production. Garment dyeing offers unique advantages and allows for greater flexibility in color options. 

In this technique, the garments are first sewn using uncolored or “greige” fabrics, and then subjected to the dyeing process. This process involves immersing the finished garments in a large machine filled with the desired color of dye. Then, the  garments are agitated to ensure an even distribution of color, and they absorb the dye at varying rates depending on factors such as fabric composition and construction.

Advantages and popularity of garment dyed clothing

Garment dyed clothing has gained popularity due to its unique aesthetic appeal. One significant advantage is that it allows for a wider spectrum of colors compared to traditional pre-dyed fabrics. Garment dyed clothes often exhibit vibrant hues with subtle variations that give them a distinctive look. 

Another advantage lies in their softness and comfort. Since the fabrics are first constructed into garments before being dyed, they undergo softer treatment during the garment dyeing process. Compared to pre-dyed fabrics that may go through more rigorous processes like mercerization. 

This results in garments that feel softer against the skin and have a worn-in look right from purchase. Additionally, garment-dyed clothing tends to be more resistant to fading over time compared to pre-dyed counterparts since the dyes penetrate deeper into each individual fiber rather than sitting on the surface. 

This quality gives the garments longevity and ensures that they retain their vibrant colors even after multiple washes. The popularity of garment dyed clothing is attributed to its versatility. 

Moreover, the ability to dye finished garments instead of raw fabric allows manufacturers to respond quickly to changing trends and produce smaller batches in response to market demand. Garment dyeing is a technique that offers numerous advantages in terms of color range, softness, durability, and versatility. 

Enzyme Wash for extra softness and Minimizing Post Garment Dyeing Shrinkage

In garment dyeing, the enzyme wash is key to modify fiber surfaces by removing loosely attached fibers and improving fabric smoothness. Specifically for shrinkage control purposes, enzyme wash is important for weakening hydrogen bonds responsible for dimensional stability during dyeing processes. This helps reduce fabric tension associated with shrinking. 

Fabric Type and Composition

When it comes to garment dyed clothing, the type and composition of the fabric play a significant role in determining shrinkage potential. Natural fibers, such as cotton and linen, have inherent properties that make them more prone to shrinkage. These fibers have a tendency to absorb moisture readily when exposed to water or high humidity levels. 

As a result, when subjected to heat during the dyeing process or subsequent washing, natural fiber garments may experience dimensional changes. On the other hand, synthetic fibers like polyester and nylon are less susceptible to shrinkage due to their hydrophobic nature but they twist. 

Pre – Production Shrinkage Test

This test involves the fabric selected for that specific production project, and carefully recording any dimensional changes that occur. lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft) shrinkage in fabrics. 

The process consists of taking 1 yard from every single roll involved in production. We will draw perfect square of 20 x 20” inches with a marker. After washing and drying, the samples are re-measured to determine any changes in their dimensions. 

By comparing the measurements before and after treatment, manufacturers can accurately determine the percentage of shrinkage experienced by the fabric.

PFD – Preparing for Dyeing

Before the dyeing process begins, fabric undergoes several pre-treatment steps, including desizing, scouring, and bleaching. These processes can significantly affect the shrinkage potential of the fabric. Desizing involves removing any sizing materials or starches applied during weaving or knitting. 

Scouring is a crucial step in removing impurities like dirt, oils, and residual substances from the fabric surface. While scouring enhances color absorption during dyeing, it can also lead to increased shrinkage if not controlled properly. 

The removal of impurities exposes more open spaces within the fabric structure that may contract upon exposure to heat or moisture. Bleaching is another important pre-treatment process to achieve a uniform color base for subsequent dyeing. 

It involves using chemicals or agents that break down natural pigments or remove unwanted coloration. Bleaching typically involves harsh chemicals that can affect fiber integrity and increase shrinkage tendencies if not well-managed.


Despite the challenges of garment dye shrinkage in clothing, apparel manufacturers can do previews test to have an idea about the shrinkage and try to control as much as they can but this process is not 100% consistent. Always be aware of a 3% allowance. As long as the final results are close to the desired standards of fitting and sizing and garments retain their shape even after multiple washes, it will be consider a good manufacturing practice.

While shrinkage remains a consideration in garment dyeing, manufacturers can continue to produce high-quality garments that combine fashion-forward design with lasting durability. Embracing these techniques allows consumers to enjoy clothing that not only fits well but also maintains its integrity over time – a truly remarkable feat in an ever-evolving fashion landscape. 


Leave a comment

All blog comments are checked prior to publishing