There are many reasons why linen pants… especially vintage linen pants… go baggy after a few wears. Linen has a tendency to relax with wear and become more comfortable… but the fabric also has a tendency to stretch out causing it to loose its shape.
Linen tends to stretch out after prolonged use and washing… but this is part of what makes linen such a flexible choice for clothing.
If you’re worried about the fit of your linen pants after they stretch out too much… just have them professionally tailored by an experienced seamstress. A little tailoring can go a long way in keeping your favorite pair of pants looking great!
Why Do Linen Trousers Go Baggy?
If you’ve ever bought a pair of linen trousers and found them baggy in just a few months… this guide is for you. Linen is one of the most versatile fabrics around. It can be used to make anything from beach towels to tablecloths to pants.
Linen is easy to wash and even easier to wear… but it does have one drawback: it tends to lose its shape over time… becoming loose and slouchy.
Why do linen trousers go baggy? The answer lies in the weave of the fabric. Linen is woven from long threads called “fibers.” When you look closely at a pair of linen pants… you can see that fibers are tightly interwoven with each other at a right angle… forming the pattern on the fabric. Over time… those fibers relax and become less tightly woven together… causing your pants to lose their shape.
The answer lies in chemistry. Linen is made from short fibers taken from the flax plant… known as lignin. When these fibers are spun together into yarns… they have a slightly sticky quality. This helps them to stay twisted together in a strong thread – but also makes them stick together when they’re woven into cloth.
This can cause problems if your linen fabric comes into contact with water or oil. If you wash your linen trousers by hand in water that’s too hot… the sticky fibers will start to unstick themselves from each other… and the fabric will begin to lose its structure. The result is baggy knees – and why we always recommend washing linen on a cold wash cycle.
Treated properly… however… linen can be one of those fabrics that last for many years without losing its shape – so follow our recommendations and don’t overheat your washing machine!
How Do You Keep Linen from Going Baggy?
Most people who own a pair of linen trousers will be aware that they shouldn’t be washed too often or else they can go all saggy. Because of this… you should try to hand wash your trousers whenever you can rather than using a spin cycle in the washing machine. This will help reduce shrinking and prevent them from losing their shape.
One way to keep your linen pants from going baggy is by taking care of them properly.
- Use the Right Soap – Soap is important: if you’re planning to wash your linen pants at home… use the right soap. Remember that you’re washing something that is already delicate and thin. So for your first wash… it’s best to stick with mild… low-sudsing detergents like Woolite Dark or Woolite Black. If you have sensitive skin… you can add white vinegar to the rinse cycle to soften the fabric and help it resist wrinkles when you hang it up to dry.
- Wash Warm… Not Hot – It’s tempting to throw those linen pants into an extra hot cycle to make sure they come out clean and fresh-smelling… but hot water can shrink your pants in addition to making them go baggy. Wash warm water instead… and skip the dryer as well; line drying keeps them in better condition longer.
- Never put your linen trousers in the dryer – The heat will cause the fibers to relax even more. Instead… hang dry your trousers or let them air out by laying them flat on a towel.
- In order to minimize the amount of stretching required of your linen pants… DO NOT hang dry them in the sun (you will need a clothesline)… instead try to hang your linen pant in an area with good air circulation (with no sunlight). This will help keep the color from fading and avoid the need to iron!
- The Right Way To Iron Them – When ironing your linen trousers… make sure you use a high-temperature setting on your iron because this will help to set the fibers once again and stop them from going all scrunchy.
Another thing you can do to keep your linen trousers from going baggy is to hang them up after each wear so they don’t get creased. This will stop the creases from setting in and make sure you always look good when you’re wearing your best linen trousers.
Do Linen Pants Stretch When You Wear Them?
Yes… it is true. All fabrics stretch when they are worn… with the exception of wool. Linen is a natural fabric… woven out of flax fibers. Flax fibers have a high moisture content and because of this… they require some time to adjust to your body’s heat and shape. Do not worry though… once they have adjusted to your body temperature… they will not stretch anymore.
Linen pants are one of the most comfortable pants you can wear… but sometimes you might find them a little tight at first. If this happens to you… do not worry! Simply wear them for a few hours on the first day and then later in the week and they will start fitting better.
Linen fabric is naturally stretchy and can become even more so if it gets wet or loosens up after repeated wearings and washings. The more it stretches… the looser it becomes.
This is not necessarily a bad thing: many people like their linen pants to be very roomy. However… if you want them to remain relatively form-fitting… there are some things you can do to keep them that way.
To minimize stretching… make sure your linen pants fit properly. If they are too big or too small… they will stretch out much faster than if they are fitted correctly.
Choose pants that fit in the waist and hips but still have some give… and make sure there are no wrinkles where the waistband meets the legs. Wrinkles mean the pants don’t fit properly in that area!
Should You Size Up in Linen Pants?
Linen pants are tough to size. They’re cut slim and go with everything… but they can be a little tricky to wear if you’re not used to the fit.
You don’t want to go up in size so much that they look baggier than they should or make you look heavier than you are.
- Openness and fit are key with linen pants.
- If you have long legs and a long torso… go with a longer inseam. If you have short legs or a short torso… stick with the standard length.
- The rise of your linen pants should hit at the top of your hip bones. This is where pants should always break for your best fit. If you want them to fall lower on your hips… get them tailored.
- Your main concern when sizing up should be how roomy the leg gets… rather than how big the waist becomes. Linen does not give much. If you prefer a looser leg and you’re worried about sizing up too much for thigh room… go for it! But keep in mind that even if your legs are big… this won’t make them look any smaller.
Make sure your linen pants fit everywhere else perfectly before you decide to size up!
Does Linen Pants Shrink?
Do linen pants shrink? The answer is yes… linen pants shrink. But here are a few tips before you wash your linen pants for the first time.
Treat it like a delicate fabric: Linen tends to be on the more fragile side.
- Do not use a dryer: Linen has a tendency to shrink in the dryer. If you choose to use one… always opt for low temperature and remove the clothing while still damp. Otherwise… hang your linens to dry with no heat source involved.
- Use cold water: Always use cold water when washing your linen clothing. Hot water will cause the fibers to break down and become rough and frail… which will lead to fraying and even holes in the material.
- Wash it alone: When washing your linen pants… always wash them alone in a separate load of laundry. This way… if any color runs or if there are any holes from friction… it won’t affect any other clothing.
- Wash as you would any other pant: You can either hand wash or machine wash these linens but both should be done on the gentle cycle with cold water. Make sure that you aren’t using too much detergent either as too much can damage the fibers and cause them to become rough and brittle.
In summary… Linen trousers require a few simple adjustments in order to maintain the fit you want. The good news is that doing so doesn’t take much effort… and once you get your system down… you’ll be able to enjoy your trousers without any unnecessary bagginess.
Louise Wilson is an accomplished author, passionate textile historian, and renowned fashion enthusiast with a rich background in the world of apparel.
Graduating with honors in Fashion Design, Louise further expanded her skills and knowledge by completing a master’s degree in Textile History. Her academic pursuits have led her to explore the fashion capitals of the world, including Milan, Paris, and New York, enriching her insights into the global world of fashion.
As an author, Louise’s passion for fashion has found its way into her writings, where she intricately weaves narratives of style, design, and fashion history.