Home » Sewing Techniques » How to Sew A Shoulder Pad Into A Lined Garment

How to Sew A Shoulder Pad Into A Lined Garment


Padding added to shoulders supports the garment, rounds out the sleeves and adds dimension to the shoulder area. You can buy purchased shoulder pads or make your own. Shoulder pads are sold in pairs and made of foam, felt or muslin with cotton, wool or synthetic padding, or a combination of these materials. These ready-made pads are shaped differently for set-in sleeves and raglan sleeves and will be thinner for lightweight dresses and blouses than for suits and coats.

Assorted shoulder pads

Assorted shoulder pads

Shoulder pad in wool coat

Shoulder pad in wool coat


Shoulder pads are used in tailored jackets and coats to define the shoulder area and support the sleeve. Usually shoulder pads are sewn in when the garments are lined, so the padding isn’t visible from the inside. If you’re sewing shoulder pads into an unlined garment, cover the pads with lining or garment fabric first for a cleaner finish. Shoulder pads can be used in blouses or dresses, as well, to add structure to the shoulders. If the pattern calls for shoulder pads, the pattern is drafted to include allowance for the shoulder pad. You can omit the shoulder pads, but you’ll have to adjust the pattern before cutting your fabric.

Tips + Notes

  • Shoulder pads don’t have to create an extreme silhouette like they did in the 1980s. Padding is important to create a tailored, structured look even when strong shoulders aren’t in fashion.
  • Adding structure to the shoulders helps to balance out wide hips. Even a small pad will help define the shoulders and draw attention to the upper body.
  • Cover shoulder pads with fabric before sewing pads into unlined garments. Cut a circle of lining that’s ½” (1.3cm) larger than the pad, fold it over the pad and finish around the edges.
  • Sew shoulder pads into unlined garments by tacking the pads to the top of the sleeve seam and the shoulder seam allowance and by tacking the edges of the pad to the armhole seam.


How to Sew A Shoulder Pad Into A Lined Garment (1)

Construct the garment so the shoulder seam is sewn, the underarm seam is sewn and the sleeve is set into the armhole. Take the shoulder pad, fold it in half and mark the halfway point. You may find it helpful to mark the centerline all the way across the shoulder pad. Some pads may include a mark or notch indicating the shoulder seam placement.

How to Sew A Shoulder Pad Into A Lined Garment (2)

Place the shoulder pad inside the garment by matching the halfway point on the shoulder pad to the shoulder seam.

How to Sew A Shoulder Pad Into A Lined Garment (3)

Extend the edge of the shoulder pad into the sleeve until the edge lines up with the armhole seam allowance. Pin the pad in place through all layers.

How to Sew A Shoulder Pad Into A Lined Garment (4)

Try on the garment. You may want to rotate the pad toward the back of the garment slightly, depending on your body. Adjust the pad, and try it on again until the pad is in the right place. Once you’re happy with the position, it’s time to sew the pad in place. Thread a handsewing needle, and turn the garment inside out so the pad is on top.

Starting at one side of the pad, sew through the shoulder pad and the armhole seam allowance using a backstitch (page link). When you get to the end, tie a knot.

How to Sew A Shoulder Pad Into A Lined Garment (5)

Tack the shoulder pad to the shoulder seam allowance.

Source : The Sewtionary An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques + Definitions
About the Author : Tasia ST. Germaine