Sunday, February 14, 2010

Shoulder Pad Tute

I once took a tailoring class from a little European lady.  She was a seamstress extroidinaire, and she had a marvelous accent.  She pronounced lapel, "la-bell".  "Your la-bell MUST be pre-CISE" please!

One of the many things she insisted upon is making shoulder pads for tailored garments.  Absolutely NO ready-made pads.  She must have made an impact on me, because I haven't bought a shoulder pad since.  These shoulder pads can be made any thickness.  Most often, the pads in my jackets are 1/2" thick.  Here's how:

I use polyester fleece, available at Jo's on a bolt, in the interfacing section.  I don't remember the number on the bolt, but it's by Pellon and about 1/8" thick.  I usually buy a couple of yards and cut as many pads as I can get out of it, all at once. 

Begin by cutting squares--8", 6", 4".   Two 1/2" inch shoulder pad requires 2- 8" squares, 1- 6" square, and 2-4" squares.
Cut the squres in half, diagonally.

Stack 1 large triangle, 1 medium triangle and 2 small triangles like this.  (I'm using paper for clarity).

Top with another large triangle. 


Pin the layers together, beginning in the center of the diagonal edge.  Roll the layers over your hand as you pin, to form a slight curve. The diagonal edge is the edge that will be sewn to the armsythe.

After pining, it should have a curved shape like this.
Now, the pad will be hand-stitched together.  On the diagonal side, backstitch through all layers, 5'8" from the edge, using a double strand of thread and making stitches 1/4" apart.

The other two sides are secured with a small running stitch, 1" from the edge. 

Next, the pad will need some trimming.  Round off the corner that lies next to the neckline.  Cut through all layers.

Turn to the wrong side, and trim the bottom layer of fleece to 1/2" on two edges (Not the diagonal edge).

Pin the pad to a rounded surface, such as a sleever roll.  Steam well, and let it dry. 
                                
                                                      
                                                                                   THE END

My jacket is on the home-stretch.  The lining is in and I'm doing handwork now--hems, diagonal basting on the edges, etc.  Yay!


32 Talk to me:

Sheila said...

Great tutorial and thanks to you I can now make my own shoulder pads.

The Sewing Loft said...

What a great shoulder pad "clinic". Thank you for showing us this important technique.

Faye Lewis said...

Now you have started something! I used my last pair of shoulder pads from my stash on my last jacket and made a mental note that I need to buy more. Making my own pads would lend another couture technique to my sewing. Thanks Gwen!

Stash said...

It has been decades since I made my own shoulder pads. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I am bookmarking it for future referebce, ;-)

kbenco said...

Very nice tutorial, thank you.

Trudy Callan said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to explain how to do this.

Elaray said...

Thanks! That seems very easy and I'll bet it cost effective!

Nancy K said...

I make my own shoulder pads too very often because I have such narrow shoulders that rtw pads are always to deep. I baste them a little differently than you do. I like to tailor baste them while holding them over my hand to baste in the curved shape. Other than that it's pretty similar.

Tanya said...

Thank you so much for the tutorial, I will definitely use it.

Eugenia said...

What a great idea to make your own and get them exactly the size and shape you want! Many thanks for an excellent tutorial.

j.kaori said...

How funny --- I had a tailoring instructor who recommended making shoulder pads as well, and I haven't bought ready-made since then as well! As you describe, they are so easy to make. Like Nancy K, I tailor baste mine while holding over my hand to create the curved shape.

Julia said...

My gosh woman, you are amazing. I cannot wait to see this jacket finished!!! You should enter it in a contest. I wish you lived closer to me, you could have it in our wearable art fashion show. Maybe you could anyway!

Carol said...

Thank you! I have never had much success with shop bought shoulder pads. I like these much better.

Claire S. said...

It looks like a tutorial I could follow & I do think I'll give it a try - thanks.

And thanks for your comment about my Mom the other day. It's much appreciated.

Bunny said...

This is so timely and just what I plan on doing for my check jacket. Thanks for the great tute. It's been a while since I've made some of these, and my narrow shoulders need them.

HeathersSphere said...

Thanks Gwen for this cool tutorial!

Sew Passionista said...

This is a great tutorial Gwen. I learned from Sandra Betzina and what I do that you don't is I join the shoulder seams of my pattern and cut the pads in the shape that they will conform to in the garment. I haven't bought shoulder pads in years either.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

Great tutorial! Thank you so much!

melissa said...

Wow, that's fantastic knowledge! I've been buying the really nice ones from MacCulloch & Wallis but they never looked like they'd be much work to do myself... but I never quite got around to ripping one apart. Thanks so much for the clear photos!

Lisette M said...

Thank you for this tutorial, I don't like heavy pads so this is great for customizing.

Janine said...

Thank you for this easy to follow tutorial

Mary Nanna said...

I have often wondered about making my own shoulder pads.. now I know how, thanks for sharing!

Bellelass said...

You're incredibly lovely. I wish you were a gelato flavor. I'm in need of some shoulder pads for "Katherine" and in possession of some pellon, so we will see what happens. Thank you for being so fantastic.

Emily said...

Thank you for your comment about my stitches. I am getter better. Hope to hear from you again soon.

Linda T said...

Oh, thanks for the wonderful tutorial. I think this is similar to the instructions on one of Margaret Islander's video's (which I had forgotten about). I'm going to try this one next jacket..........

Linda T said...

Thank you Gwen! This is a great tutorial. I need shoulder pads for my coat so I will try this instaed of buying them. Very timely!

Vernon Fashion Studio

Cennetta said...

Great tutorial. Definitely one to grow on. I need to follow your lead on this. You made it seem so easy and well worth the time and effort. Thanks, C

Fran said...

Thank you! Great tutorial.

Kat said...

Saved to Favorites! This is a great tutorial.

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