How to Make a Floating Shoulder Pad
I saw this idea in an Escada shirt several seasons ago. The shoulder pad cover is extended toward the neckline and then sewn into the neck seamline. This holds the pad in place but also enables it to shift with your garment as you move. This is a great technique for a boatneck garment and other tricky necklines because the pad can't peek out at the edge. It is very nice in garments with a jewel neckline, a convertible collar, or a collar band. It also prevents 'shoulder pad drop-off'--that section where the shoulder pad ends between the arm and the neck and often causes an indentation along the shoulder seam of your garment. A floating shoulder pad is a solution to filling in the seamline and to enable natural movement of the garment when wearing.
1. This method works best with an uncovered 'bull-nose' shoulder pad such as the one shown. It is stitched to wrap over the shoulder. Don't use a foam pad because it can't withstand the heat needed from the iron.
|2. Cut a piece of fusible tricot interfacing slightly larger than the underside of the shoulder pad, and extending from the inner point of the pad to the neckline of the garment. The inner point of the pad is the part that's closest to your neck.|
3. Pick a solid color lining fabric or silk charmeuse that does not shadow through your garment. A color that matches your skin tone works well under white fabric. When I first saw the Escada 'man tailored shirts', they were available in white, ivory, and black heavy organza. The fabric that covered the top side of the shoulder pad (that would show through the organza) was not in white, ivory, or black silk charmeuse. Under the white organza was an antique ivory almost a peanut butter color. Under the ivory was a peachy salmon and under the black was a very dark bitter sweet brown. When the different color shirts were worn, the lining fabric shadowed through the fashion fabric, but the pad was invisible leaving no hint of where the pad ends and the skin color begins.
Cut the lining/silk charmeuse the same size as the interfacing, remember the silk charmeuse has to travel over the rounded upper section of the pad, plus a bit more so it can be fused to the interfacing around the outside of the pad.
1. Make a 3-in. long lengthwise dart at the center of the lining/silk charmeuse fabric with the widest part of the dart at the outside section of the shoulder pad (the part at the shoulder/arm).
2. At your ironing board, position the silk charmeuse right side down and cover it with the interfaced shoulder pad adhesive side down sandwiching the pad between the layers and aligning the edges. Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the lining/silk charmeuse extension around the outside edges of the shoulder pad.
|3. Using thread to match the lining/silk charmeuse color, serge from the raw end of the extension around the bull nose and continue until you reach the opposite end of the extension. When serging around the shoulder pad sections make sure you use the edge of the shoulder pad as your guide.
4. Reshape the shoulder pad over a ham using only steam from the iron.
|Here is the shoulder pad from the tricot side showing the serging and the tricot/silk extension.|
|5. Try on your garment and temporarily insert the shoulder pad where it looks the best. Pin the extension to the raw neck edge. When you take the garment off you will see exactly where to stitch the extension to the neck's raw edge.|
|Pin the extension to the raw neck edge. When you take the garment off you will see exactly where to stitch the extension to the neck's raw edge.|
6. Lay the facing (RS together) between the shoulder pad extension (RS down) and neckline for a clean finish. Machine-sew the shoulder pad extension around the neck edge along the seam allowance stitching line.
This technique can be used in a garment that will be finished with a neckline facing, bias binding, a convertible collar, mandarin or collar band.
7. When the garment is finished, hand sew a thread chain about 4-1/2-in. away from the neckline from the top of the pad at the dart to the wrong side of the garment at the shoulder seam. When the body moves, the pad will move with it, and not be rigid.
Bonus points! You won't lose a shoulder pad while wearing the garment, in the wash, or at the drycleaners.
Posted on Dec 4th, 2012 in sewing, garment construction, how-to, fundamentals, sleeve, shoulder pad