A slight miscalculation

I’m making an 80s jacket right now which requires serious shoulder pads. The pattern says to use one inch pads, or make your own with Vogue 8817. One inch thick pads are not something that’s readily available on eBay these days (or maybe I’m just not looking in the right place). In the past I made do with using two pairs of purchased pads for a similar project, but the shape wasn’t quite right. And then a copy of Vogue 8817 came up on eBay and I decided to have a crack at making my own.

The pattern calls for cotton batting to make the one inch jacket pads. I’m not a quilter and don’t have cotton batting on hand, but I do have the remains of the polyester batting I used for my quilted coat a couple of years ago so I pulled that out.

The way it works is you cut out a set of templates of gradually decreasing size from the pattern, then cut out several copies of each in batting, and layer them up.

There are five sizes of template.

The pattern doesn’t say in so many words how many of each size to cut out, but the cutting layout shows no less than five copies of the smallest one, four copies of the second and third smallest, two of the next, and one of the biggest. And that’s laid on a double layer of batting, so you’re cutting ten of the smallest piece, five for each shoulder. My batting seemed pretty lofty so I started off with just two each side of each of the smaller layers. Here it is stacked up.

That’s three inches high.

I reduced the layers to one of each size.

Two inches. These are meant to be one inch pads. Now obviously the pad will squash a bit when the jacket is hanging off it. I estimated the degree of squash by the highly scientific method of pulling out the pile of cut fabric pieces for another project and sitting them on top of my stack of batting shapes. That reduced the height to about one inch, but I’m not hugely convinced this is going to be accurate. Maybe I’d better get hold of actual cotton batting.

20 thoughts on “A slight miscalculation

  1. If you’ve got an old wool blanket you could use that. Cotton batting is much thinner than polyester and the polyester will compress over time and not give you want from your shoulder pads.

  2. When you stitch the covers on will it “squash” a bit do you think? Contemplating making my own. Need 1/2 inch raglan for a suit jacket and the ones in the store just aren’t right.

      1. Probably, your are right. I just found the free pattern for shoulder pads from Closet Core. A bit different approach, more natural look. Definitely not 80s!

  3. I’ve used cotton batting and recently I used some sort of dense synthetic batting that’s not as lofty as what you have used. My mom bought it years ago when she was making shoulder pads from that pattern and you could also buy foam shoulder pads forms that you could add onto.

  4. I think you should try creating multiple lines on hand basting through all layers in curved lines following the rough shape of the pads about 1/4 to 1/2 ” apart. This will squish the layers down and compact them to make it firmer but possibly the right depth that you need?

  5. Stop by any quilt store they have tons of cotton batting scraps they would love to get rid of

  6. I’ve got some cotton and bamboo batting and would be happy to mail you a piece. It’s much thinner and wouldn’t compress and you could give it a steam if you wanted. Least I can do for the fab work you put into the blog that I enjoy so much. Just email me your address and I can pop some in the post.

    1. Thanks that’s really kind! But actually I’ve just realised my coating fabric scraps are the right sort of thing so I’m going to give that a try

  7. I would think the poly batting is too soft to hold the shape of the shoulder.. isn’t cotton batting much more firm and dense. an old mattress protector is often cotton batting.. or it can be, I like the blanket idea too but may be heavy?

  8. I ended up with a few 80s dshoulder pads as a lot of the coats I used pick up I charity shops to up cycle wew all 80s….and all had poly batting pads….they did seem to have a bit of structure so I imagined they had a sandwich of interlining or cotton on inside?……

  9. I have some leftover cotton batting from covering my ironing board and had no idea what to do with them. It never occurred to me that I could try making shoulder pads! Thanks for the inspo.

  10. Just another vote for using wool coating scraps – I’ve done this before and it works great! Wool is also super malleable, so it takes the shape of the shoulder well.

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