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Cover and Install Shoulder Pads | Video

Shoulder pads go in and out of fashion, but you can always use them to support and define the shoulders of any coat or jacket. Daryl Lancaster, a frequent Threads author, explains the difference between a shoulder pad—a thicker pad that adds height and squares the shoulders—and a shoulder shape—a thinner layer intended to provide moderate to light support.

In a lined garment, the shoulder pad is installed between the fashion fabric and the lining. In an unlined garment, it’s best to use a pad that’s been covered in matching or coordinating fabric for the most attractive interior finish. Daryl demonstrates an easy method for covering a shoulder pad or shape so it retains its curve and doesn’t create ridges on the garment’s exterior.

Daryl covers the pad with bias-cut fabric, which she pins in place following the pad’s curve. Then she applies a bias binding to provide a neat finish. (For instructions on cutting bias strips, watch Tips for Cutting Bias Strips.) She offers essential tips for how to trim the cover’s excess fabric and place the binding to it is sewn through only the cover, not the pad itself. This maintains flexibility and creates a smooth, thin edge.

Finally, Daryl teaches her technique for installing the pad in the garment. She pins the pad in place then uses a stab stitch version of the backstitch for a secure but invisible attachment seam. As a bonus, she includes a tutorial on how to hand-sew efficiently, with minimal thread twisting or knotting.


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