Mail Monday – Shrinking Silk & Linen and Best Skirt Lengths for Petites


Happy Monday, everyone! I’ve been slowly getting caught up on email questions (sorry if you’re still waiting on an email reply from me…I’m slowly making my way through them!) and have had some pretty good/repeated ones lately. I thought they might be of interest to others, so I’ve posted some here. Enjoy! =)

– questions have been paraphrased, combined, or shortened for brevity.

I wanted to know what your experience (if you have any) has been with shrinking silk fabrics.


I wouldn’t suggest actively trying to shrink silk because it could potentially change the texture, which is why we buy silk in the first place! With that said, I have heard from readers that their silk items shrank (sometimes up to one full size) after hand washing and laying flat to dry on a hot day or in the direct sun, however, I have not had any of my silk items shrink in this way. Since I’ve never had a silk item shrink like that, I can’t attest to the resulting silk texture, so shrink at your own risk if you go for it. (If you have experience with this, I’d love to hear how your silk item turned out in the comments!)

What about shrinking linen?


Shrinking linen is fine! It’s a tough fabric and can handle high heat when drying. It’ll get a little more puckered, but linen is meant to look rumpled, so it shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve intentionally shrunk every linen clothing item I have and it worked out fine. I’ve even had tailors tell me to fry a linen item in the dryer to shrink it before having them alter it. Shrink away! =)

Read more posts about how I shrink clothing.

It seems like the best skirt length for us petites is ABOVE the knee, even if just a little – would you agree with that?


My short answer is: yes, generally the best skirt length for petites is above the knee, even if just a smidgen so.

My long answer is: your best skirt length is which ever one you feel most comfortable in, and works best for your lifestyle. Also, your body type plays a big role, which can effect what looks flattering on you, sometimes more so than your height does! On the matter of skirt lengths, Jean did a great post on finding your perfect skirt length based on your leg proportions.


Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write, and my contact information can be found here. =)

Join the Conversation


  1. says: Vanessa

    Nice series — mail Monday.

    I’m 5’4″ and long waisted. Yet, I really prefer skits at the knee or just below the knee. I do feel more comfortable, but I also think it looks good on me. Just my opinion.

    My body type is small, but not completely straight (33-24-34).

  2. says: Tres Tini

    Mr. Maytag has helped me achieve better fits with some of my clothes as I’ve successfully machine washed and dried for shrinkage clothing pieces in cotton, rayon, linen, silk and wool despite the “Dry Clean Only” warning labels. I even have machine washed an expensive lined wool suit and like the fit of it better afterwards.

    One important point of caution, though, is that while the main (exterior) fabric may shrink up some, the linings if they are acetate or other polyester fiber do not shrink when washed. On a couple of occasions after machine washing and drying, I’ve ended up with skirts or dresses whose length became shorter (yea!) but then the lining hung out below the newly shorter hemline (boo!). In those cases, I’ve taken the skirt/dress to a tailor for them to adjust and hem the lining fabric.

    AN is absolutely right about exercising caution when washing silk, particularly fine-grain silk found in blouses, because machine or hand washing can change the texture of the fabric. For me when it happened in cases like this, I’ve found the new texture to my liking along with the smaller shrunken fit. Additionally, with washing the item (vs. dry cleaning) it seems a cleaner, better way to remove body oils, perspiration, spills and general light grime (like at the edges of cuffs) that can often happen during wearing.

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