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altering shoulder pads

Aless | Posted in General Discussion on

Hi all.

I have a specific problem I’d like to solve as easily as possible!

I have two pure wool classically tailored jackets that I made in the late 1980s-early 1990s.They both still look good on, but the shoulder pads are far too large for today’s ‘Look’. (That’s why I haven’t worn them for quite a while.)

I can take the pads out fairly easily by splitting a lining seam, but I’m unsure as to what size they need to be cut down to so that they have today’s look.

Does anyone have any ideas about this?


Aless(in Adelaide, Australia)


  1. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #1

    I would suggest purchasing shoulder pads in several thicknesses and shapes to slip inside your lining once the old pad is removed. Then, check your mirror. It should tell you everything you need to know! Once you've decided on which pad works best for you, you can adjust the shoulder seam accordingly. You may have to change the angle and take up a bit of extra slack to accomodate a more modern look. Best of luck with your project.

    1. User avater
      Aless | | #2

      Thanks for your reply. It gives me somewhere to start,esp. regarding the change of styling as well as the pads.

      1. Teaf5 | | #3

        If you are like me, you probably have a stash of extra shoulder pads or a few garments with detachable ones that you could use to experiment so that you don't have to buy any. If not, you can always use a folded paper towel with other paper towels folded inside to achieve the size and shape you want. You can use masking or cello tape to hold it together, and while it looks really strange, it works very well, as you can use the shaped paper towel as your pattern for a new shoulder pad!

        1. Angels | | #4

          You know that was very interesting.  I have shoulder pads saved from garments that I no longer have, and purchased shoulder pads.  I had never thought about paper towels to work with to 'design' the shoulder pads.  I think that is a great idea and I am going to try that with my new suit jacket that I am working on.  What a great idea!

          1. gowngirl | | #5

            Tailored jackets are always padded, so it seems to me like too much work to bother changing it. Once you take out the pad, fix the shoulder to match (the shoulder line at the armcye is raised the same height as the pad), then you'll also have to fix the sleeve to match the new lowered shoulder line. Does it really bother you that much? I hate alterations so much that for me, the pad would have to be at least 1" to be noticably out of fashion, and even then, I'd probably wait out the 5-10 years for the style to come back!

        2. User avater
          Aless | | #6

          Yep,I have more than a few.... :-)

          This is a really good idea.Who said sewing is just a hobby! We are also engineers/designers.

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