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sholder pads in jacket

kate lamar | Posted in Fitting on

Please help!  Can anybody tell me how to alter a pattern so it will accomodate thinner shoulder pads?  The patterns I like call for half inch thick pads, which I think look reduculous on my small frame.



  1. lou19 | | #1

    You need to alter sleeve plus back and front armhole.

    Look for instructions in pattern cutting/ sewing  books  (or on line) on  how to add shoulder pads to a  pattern.

    Reverse instructions as you are reducing amount of pad.

  2. stillsuesew | | #2

    If you have the garment already cut out you can try it  on with the shoulder seams nd side seams sewn or basted  before putting in the sleeves and slip the shoulder pad you want to use in place.  You will then be able to pin out the excess fabric that will appear on the shoulder until you get the garment hanging the way you want it to hang.  You will also need to take some off the top of the sleeve.  This is trickier.  I have found tha it works best to use the existing sleeve pattern and pin it in place simply taking a bigger seam allowance as you approach the shoulder seam.  This allows you to make adjustments.  If you simply cut some off the top you could be in trouble. 

    1. kate lamar | | #3

      shoulder pads

      Sue; Thank you so much!  I was considering one or the ther of the two suggestions but not both.  Question, though.  If I I take in the shoulger seam do I have to lower the underarm? 

      I have many sewing books that address many sleeve issues, but not altering for skinnier pads.  I so appreciate all the sewing help you and others give.


      1. KharminJ | | #4

        Methinks that would depend on 'how much' you take out of the shoulder seam...?  Sue - what's your take on this? 

        Meanwhile, Kate, your resources might have the same information under a different problem - "Altering for Sloping Shoulders" comes to mind as a similar situation...

        I've got several RTW jackets (from high school!) that could greatly benefit from switching out the 'Dallas/Dynasty' shoulder pads, so I'm following this with interest!   Good luck to you ~ and

        Bright Blessings!


        1. kate lamar | | #5


          Thank you ladies.  I have three pieces od nice silk that are waiting to become jackets.  I was just so terified of ruining the fabric, and after several musin tries (only altering for sloping shoulder) I still wasn't pleased with the results.  It seems that Sue's suggestion of coupling the sloping shoulders alteration along with making a deeper seam when joining the sleeve to the bodice is the trick.  I will let you know how it turns out.  Meanwhile, I wish I could sit down and have a cup of coffee with my Threads friends.



  3. stillsuesew | | #6

    I would not lower the arm hole.  I would take excess off the top of the sleeve.  BUT IF you are taking a large amount out of the shoulder seam  it may tighten up the armseye too much,  but you are not really lifting it you are simply taking the excess out of the shoulder.   If the armhole feels too tight you can always lay the pattern on the front and back pieces again and recut (lower) the armhole.  The the sleeve should fit in as it originally was meant to do.  I don't like low armholes - it restricts lifting my arms. 

    1. kate lamar | | #7

      shoulder pads in jacket

      Sue;  Thank you so very much for sharing your expertise.  I followed your suggestions and finally have a jacket that fits PERFECLY through the shoulders.  I hereby knight you as the official guru of Gatherings!



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