Ask Angela …: There are countless women like me who must have the same question to ask, so I’ll make an attempt to speak for the group. After reaching those golden years, we start to wonder why our clothes — especially shirts and blouses — seem to have lost all sense of shape. We might just as well be wearing ponchos because our collective shoulders have gradually disappeared over the years. How about a hint on making conservative shoulder pads . . . not like the 80’s kind and not just for jackets/coats and blazers. I would like something that can be used with casual or dress shirts and blouses, so it should not be too bulky.
Sarah from Ohio
Sure hope you can address this problem — I’ve seen you on It’s Sew Easy many times and feel that if anybody can solve this issue, it is Angela.
P.S. My next project will be creating a bra with suspenders to keep it in place. Any ideas?
This was a great question from Sarah, and although I’m not going to talk about making your own shoulder pads, I am going to give you a few tips that have worked for other clients of mine in the past.
All of us have different body shapes, meaning I might not need the same thickness of shoulder pad as you or maybe I don’t need extra padding at all. With that being said, there are just as many sizes and styles of shoulder pads.
Do you remember the shoulder pads of the 80s – they were very, very, VERY LARGE! In fact, I’m pretty sure the shoulders of the jackets extended at least 2 inches past the actual edge of any female’s shoulder. I always laugh at some of the old photos where I am wearing enormously huge shoulder pads – my head looks SO small! 🙂
Take a look at these two shoulder pads. Both are considered a raglan shoulder pad, meaning that part of the shoulder pad will be directly on your shoulder and a small part of the shoulder pad will extend past your shoulder to fill in the sleeve cap. These are typically used for jackets, but the smaller one will work in tops as well.
This shoulder pad is very thin and a perfect option for blouses and tops. It gives that soft edge to your shoulder and evens out your profile, without standing out that you are wearing shoulder pads..
It can get rather expensive to add shoulder pads to every top that you own, not to mention shoulder pads turn out disastrously after being washed. So why not design your own removable shoulder pads!
You will need:
1” wide Hook & Loop tape; which comes in a variety of colors including beige, black, foliage green, olive drab, and white
Shoulder pad options I would consider:
Hand Sewing Needle and Thread
CHOOSING A SHOULDER PAD
Shoulder pads are listed by thickness and length. The thickness is the height of the shoulder pad, so if you are looking for the bare minimal to even out the shoulder area – start with the ¼” thick shoulder pad. For unlined jackets and sweaters consider using the raglan shoulder pads (which is what I will be using here). For knit tops and blouses, choose a flatter shoulder pad that won’t extend into the sleeve cap but the straight edge will line up with the edge of your shoulder.
PREPARE HOOK AND LOOP TAPE
Take a close look at the hook and loop tape. There is a softer side (which will be attached to your garments) usually referred to as the loop side. Then, there is the hook side that is (more…)
All About Buttons!
Embellishing is one of my favorite things to do, in fact sometimes I even add touches to ready-to-wear garments. One of the easiest ways to restyle is to change the buttons. Even better, your own custom covered buttons! From simple to couture, this is what I will cover in the next series of blogs.
First, lets start with the basics on how to cover a button. The base of the button looks just like the ones above and they come in many sizes. There at two kinds available, I prefer the ones with what I call “teeth”, like this one from WAWAK.
Each button has 2 parts: a top that you will wrap your fabric around and a base that snaps onto the back, securing the fabric.
Let’s get started!
- Cut out a circle from your fashion fabric, just little bit bigger than the button.
Note: the circle above is too large for that button, it should look more like the photo below
2. Wrap the fabric around the curve of the button top, securing edges of fabric in the teeth. If the fabric is plaid or striped, take care in placing the button and check the alignment of the shank to make sure its the same on every button.
3. Continue all the way around until the fabric is tight and secure.
See why I prefer the teeth, so much easier to tighten the fabric!
4. Place the backing on and snap into place with needle nose pliers. Snap all the way around the button to make sure the back is tightly closed.
Trouble Shooting: If you can’t snap the back of the button in place, you might have too much fabric inside. This means the circle of fabric was too large, but you can still trim out the excess fabric to make it work.
That’s it! Super easy and trend with a touch of couture 🙂
I have quite a few more buttons to go, but this jacket has been cut and sitting in my “to do” bin for over a year! Hand-dyed silk charmeuse lining and all, I must finish this before spring!
One more thing about covering buttons: A little trick that I do to make my buttons look more professional is to add a touch of cotton. You can use cotton balls, make-up remover cotton, batting, even a thin piece of polar fleece.
Center the cotton on the button, then wrap the fabric over the cotton. Now when you secure the fabric tightly you won’t see any metal through the fabric and it softens the look. Now when I want to add beading to the button I can actually get my needle through the fabric. If you have a hard time keeping the cotton in place, use a tab of super glue, just let the glue dry before covering with fabric.
Buying Covered Buttons:
There are so many covered buttons to choose from it can get a little overwhelming, so I have included links to the ones that I use from WAWAK Sewing:
These are all 12 packs, but trust me you will go through them. These buttons have a curved top, they also carry a flat top.
Next time I will show how I made these custom buttons:
Hope you had a great week! Off to work on samples for It’s Sew Easy TV taping next week.