Have you ever made a tailored jacket and the shoulder pads shifted and bunched up inside the lining after the first trip to the dry cleaners? If this has happened to you or you are making a jacket for the first time, here are some tips for securely attaching shoulder pads while still giving them the mobility they need to move with your body.
First of all, make sure you have the right type of shoulder pads for your garment. There are different sizes and shapes depending on the fabric weight, type of garment, or sleeve shape (raglan, set-in, etc.) you are using. In this case I’m working with a set-in sleeve for a wool jacket so I have fairly thick uncovered tailoring shoulder pads to give me the structure I need. The pads will be hidden by a poly-satin lining when the jacket is complete. And because of my wide v-neck jacket opening, I had to trim a bit off the end of the shoulder pad to fit it along my shoulder seam.
Step 1. To begin, fold the shoulder pad in half and mark the center line along the top of the pad. You can mark this with a disappearing fabric marker or thread-mark it with a line of running stitches.
Step 2. Align the center line mark on the shoulder pad with the seam line of your shoulder.
Step 3. Using a backstitch, hand sew the pad to the shoulder seam allowance close to the seamline, catching just the top layer of the pad (if using an uncovered pad) or pad cover. Don’t sew through the entire pad because this will distort the pad shape and flatten it.
Step 4. Once you have attached the pad along the shoulder seam line, hand tack the points of the pad to the armhole seam allowances.
Step 5. Now you have a beautiful shoulder for your jacket with a properly anchored pad! I love learning tailoring techniques and tips to add to my repertoire, especially all the hidden construction elements that can be tricky to figure out. Happy sewing!