Tutorial: Sew Shoulder Pads
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Lift them up – shoulder pads are in trend!
You can find this article in the reference book Atelier – Fachwissen aus der Praxis Teil 2.
Handcrafted shoulder pads are usually an incalculable expenditure of time, but if necessary, a necessity for custom-made fashion to compensate for figure deviations according to individual needs. All those working in the custom tailoring profession know that a correct fit does not mean an even figure. It is not uncommon that a shoulder blade and the transition from the back to the armhole, different hanging shoulders has to be concealed to give a natural look. For economic reasons it is certainly sensible to use the extensive range of pads wherever possible. This way the production of shoulder pads is reduced to exceptions.
You can find everything about the history of shoulder pads in the article Well padded – The History of Shoulder Pads.
Standard pad shape for inserted sleeves
The size depends on body and model. If self made shoulder pads are required, it is advisable to take notes when taking measurements. In this way deviations can be taken into account during production. To avoid the pads sticking out on the shoulder bone, the length to the front must be sufficient. On the back, pay attention to the shoulder blade. Shoulder width and widening must be taken into account.
The size indicated on the sectional drawing is a versatile size for costumes. It is transferred to the bottom sheet/floor. length 26-28 cm width 12-14 cm
What is needed and what can be used?
Plate wadding made of sheep’s wool – white. Cotton wool – yard goods – grey, polyester wadding – filling wadding – foam, collar linen – wool or horsehair inlays, uncoated fleece qualities, partly specially produced for the manufacture of shoulder pads and felt. Silk wadding is very pleasant, especially for ladies’ dresses, but difficult to obtain.
Woven materials are suitable for the bottom sheet/bottom. Collar linen is very well suited. Woven fabrics must always be cut at an angle. In this way, fabrics can be shaped to fit the body without shoulder seams, give support at the edges due to relatively straight thread run and allow a flat edge.
The ends at the front, back and shoulder tip must be thin. The structure of the padding must be adapted to the shoulder shape and should not lie flat on the table. If the bottom sheet is placed over a dummy or an ironing pad, the required curvature is obtained. Based on the desired volume, a corresponding number of layers of cotton wool, cut in steps, are placed on top of each other and the respective transition is plucked out. On the sleeve side, a foam strip graduated inwards and sideways can be placed between the cotton wool. No steps should form. Place the cover sheet of fleece material, felt or diagonally cut linen, which has been cut approx. 2 cm larger, on top of the strip and join all parts together.
The hand stitches must be made in the thread run of the bottom sheet – adjust thread run of the top sheet – in order to maintain the elasticity of the padding. Undersheet and cover sheet
must be wrinkle-free.
Shoulder pads for raglan sleeves
Raglan sleeves or raglan-like divisions in the shoulder area should have padding with a flowing shoulder. The base and cover material, made of collar linen or fine interlining, remains dimensionally stable. The padding is cut in two parts. The minimum width should be adapted to the spaced seams. This way this padding can be anchored not only at the shoulder seam but also at the sides. This prevents annoying shifting.
The dimensions can be read from the pattern.
The shaping base of collar linen or fine teasing is prepared.
Cut the shoulder section in the diagonal grain. The inserted ball part remains thread-straight.
Iron an adhesive tape under the joint, place the parts 0.5 cm on top of each other and tighten them. The pad can be made with different qualities of cotton wool. Always ensure that the edge is flat. The height is determined by figure and model.
Start with the first layer on the ball part, put a cotton wool strip on the edge of the shoulder part and connect the two with large stitches. Another cotton wool strip of about 8 cm width reaches from the edge of the ball to the tip of the shoulder. Pluck out flat at the ends.
Afterwards a new layer is placed on top and further built up as required. When the desired height is reached, the layers are sewn together by hand. Attention must be paid to the stitch arrangement. One has to work in the thread direction of the fabric. This is the only way to maintain stretchability and alignment with the shoulder. Finally, cover with batiste and secure edges. The edges must be flat.
Many cutting instructions and finished patterns for sewing clothes with shoulder emphasis can be found in our online shop.