You can make your own shoulder pads at little expense with materials you may already have at home. You can make them smaller or bigger, fatter or thinner without much difficulty once you have made a pattern. Consider how you intend to launder the article you are attaching the pads to before you decide what material to make the pads from. Remember that if the pads are not washable but the article of clothing is, you may want to remove the pads before washing. You don't want to put fabric that will show through either, so if the fabric is thin consider using a neutral colour of fabric for the pads.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Two pieces of paper
- Drawing instrument (pen, pencil, crayon or thin marker)
- Sewing needle
- Sewing machine (optional)
- Tape (optional)
- Protractor (optional)
- Straight pins
- Cotton or polyester batting or foam about 1/4 inch thick
Make a pattern by drawing a straight line, 6 inches long, from left to right, about a third of the way down a piece of paper. Make a mark 3 inches from one end of the line (the halfway point on the line). Make a straight, 3 inch line, from the halfway mark, straight down, forming a small "T".
Thread a sewing needle with at least 5 inches of thread. Stick the needle through the halfway mark at the top of the "T", leaving the needle underneath the paper and the thread on top. Tape the needle firmly to the paper underneath. Wind the thread or tie it around the marking instrument so that when the thread is stretched tightly the middle of the marking instrument hits the bottom point of the "T". Keeping the marking instrument steady and the thread firmly stretched, draw a curved line to meet the bottom and both sides of the "T".
Cut the pattern piece out with scissors. Lay the pattern on a second piece of paper and trace around the outside of it. Cut the second pattern piece out and label it in the middle with a "P". Draw a line around the outside border of the "P" pattern piece 1/8 inch from the edge. Cut the 1/8 inch border you have marked off the "P" pattern piece. This creates a smaller pattern.
Pin the larger pattern piece (not the "P") to fabric and cut two pieces of fabric out using the pattern for size and shape. Lay the "P" pattern piece on the batting or foam and use the pattern to cut the size and shape of the batting. Place the pieces of fabric together with the straight edges together. Lay the batting in the middle on top. Pin them together. Sew them together approximately 1/4 inch away from the outside border (about an 1/8 inch away from the outside border of the batting or foam), leaving approximately a 1 inch "hole" where the curve meets the straight edge at one end.
Turn the pieces inside out through the hole making sure the fabric is on both the outsides and the batting or foam is in the middle. Tuck the edges around the hole inside and sew them together close to the edge of the pad. Make a second shoulder pad repeating the above steps. Line the straight edge of the shoulder pad up with the outside shoulder seam of the garment you are attaching the pad to. Tack it in place.
Tips and warnings
- If you have a protractor it is much easier to draw the curved line.
- You can increase or decrease the size of your shoulder pad if you want bigger or smaller pads by starting with a longer or shorter line.
- You can make thicker pads by buying thicker foam or batting or by making more layers of foam or batting. You may have to increase the border you cut off the "P" pattern piece if your pads are very thick.
- You can save your pattern pieces and use them over and over again.
- You can use scraps of fabric, but you do not want to use fabric that will fade on your garment as it may stain all the way through. If you are putting the shoulder pads inside a jacket or sweater that you may remove, consider how the fabric will look when the shoulder pads are seen in public.
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