Thursday, 13 February 2014

Make Do and Mend - Rescuing two jackets with shoulder pads


The red jacket with the addition of shoulder pads.

I have just rescued two much-loved, nearly identical jackets which have never fitted quite right. Neither were cheap and I hesitated to get rid of them. They are lovely colours, warm, made of boiled wool and easy to pack for one of our winter trips.  They dress up a pair of black trousers and look great with a necklace or a scarf.
However, they sagged a bit on the shoulders and were a bit too big across the bust. I thought about altering them, but that would have meant removing the collars and then sewing them on again. Not my idea of a fun afternoon.
Finally, I realised that shoulder pads might just do the trick - and they did! It was worth trying as they cost about £3.00 a pair and were very quick to sew in place. Even if they hadn't worked, I would not have lost much time or money. I could always use the shoulder pads for something else.

Shoulder pads were used a lot in the 80s and 90s, but the look today is softer, more feminine. Most garments don't have them any more.  Using small shoulder pads just gives a bit of definition. They immediately sharpened up the shoulders and raised the bust line so both jackets now fit perfectly.

Back view after adding shoulder pads.

The purple jacket before shoulder pads. You can see how it droops in the front.


A close-up of the front before shoulder pads.


The droopy back of the jacket.

Small set-in shoulder pads. (Cost about £3.00) It is important to buy the right type.  Raglan shoulder pads will not give the same look.

Inside the packet are two shoulder pads and two velcro strips.  You can sew in the strips and just clip the pads to them. I prefer to stitch the pads in.

Pin the pads just even with the top of the sleeve seam, centring them over the shoulder seam.

The shoulder pad pinned in place.

Fold the pad up and hand stitch with large stitches to the shoulder seam.

If you wish, pin the pointed ends to the sleeve seam and tack into place.

The purple jacket with shoulder pads.

Back view with shoulder pads. Much improved.


  1. I totally agree that some fabrics need some "perking" up. Love these jackets! enJOYed.

  2. Thanks for the idea. Just by raising the shoulders slightly changed the whole look of the jacket! Great job!