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Stiffener for shoulder area of jackets

SewCrazy | Posted in Fabric and Trim on

I was watching a speed tailoring video by an English girl called Terry Fox.  She had some very interesting tips for stiffening the shoulder area of a tailored jacket.  She calls it a plastron, which is fixed with a fusible interfacing to hold it in place.  Does anyone know where I could purchase this (plastron) stiff fabric from?

She also used an interesting technique around the arm scye (sp?) this involved putting a fleece type fabric and trimming it so it makes the shoulder seam sit up a bit.

I only watched the video quickly, so can’t remember the exact details, but can anybody enlighten me more about these techniques please?




  1. HeartFire | | #1

    A plastron is made from hair canvas (hymo) you can get it through a tailoring supply http://www.bblackandsons.com/store/hymo.html
    you need to cut the shape and keep it above the bust. some rare jacket patterns may have a pattern piece for it, but I havent really seen it lately. On mens jackets the plastron is of heavier fabric - a light fleece almost to firm that area. I guess with fusible interfacings, youcan just cut another piece of the same fusible and fuse it on top as a second layer Iin tayloring with hair canvas it is pad stitched to the interfacing. your other question is about a sleeve header, you can buy them ready to go or make your own from either a fleece, warn n natural quilt batting , felt, or other similar fabric. it usually will go about 3 -4 inches to either side of the sholder seam.

  2. rekha | | #2

    I have Kenneth King's The Tailored Jacket in which he describes making a shoulder shield with horsehair  canvas. There are 3 layers to it so that the grain of the canvas is  perpendicular to the  first layer and the top layer is the smallest and parallel (that is, the grain) to the shoulder seam. The shield is about 6" long  and about 4" wide, with each progressive layer upwards ½" smaller than the one closer to the shoulder. One then holds these layers together with serpentine stitches which in the end appear like squares of sewing. This whole thing is attached to the main body canvas. To the sleeve cap he sews a fleece strip to give loft to the sleeve head as well as to ease the cap. The fleece is available from B&J fabrics in New York, the catalogue number is C304 (I think!)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

  3. LindaG | | #3

    Sleeve heads add some good shaping to my jackets, especially since my shoulders slope.  There are good instructions for single and double layer sleeve heads in Claire Shaeffer's Complete Book of Sewing Short Cuts.  It's not necessary to use fleece for the header, especially in lighter weight fabrics.  I use a bias strip cut from a scrap of the fashion fabric itself.  For the garments I make, and the way that the sleeves fit, I want shape, not bulk, and even the thin fleece would be too much.  One of the independent pattern designers recommends tie interfacing for sleeve heads.  If you use that, try the single layer method since the tie interfacing is too stiff to fold twice in a double layer head.  Pre-made sleeve heads are available at sewtrue.com.


    1. SewNancy | | #6

      I have used hymo on the bias to set in sleeves on jackets and it becomes a sleeve head that doesn't take up as much room as fleece.

  4. DONNAKAYE | | #4

    Claire Shaeffer also gives detailed instructions on these techniques in two of her books: Couture Sewing Techniques and High-Fashion Sewing Secrets from the World's Best Designers. I recommend them both highly....


    1. SewCrazy | | #5

      Thanks very much for the tips on good books.  I will order them from Amazon.


      Thank you to everyone who replied to my question, some very good tips, thanks.


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