Who would’ve thought that shoulder pads, once synonymous with 80s fashion, are still in vogue today? Whether you’re wearing a suit, blazer, or structured dress, adding shoulder pads can give your outfit a sharper silhouette. Luckily, making your own shoulder pads is a breeze with just a few materials like lining fabric and quilters’ batting. So, give your wardrobe a chic upgrade with this easy DIY hack!
How to make fake football shoulder pads
Acquiring pre-owned should pads from a high school student could potentially be simpler and more economical. Have a minimum of three bottles of Febreeze readily available for them. But if you need to work it out yourself, below is how you make fake football shoulder pads.
1. Take the measurements of the width and depth of the upper shoulder area of your garment
If you’re making shoulder pads for a specific piece of clothing, make sure to turn the sleeve inside-out and have access to the armhole and shoulder seams. Once you have that, use a tape measure to determine the appropriate width and depth for your fake shoulder pad.
Pro tip: If you don’t have a particular outfit in mind, measure across the top of your shoulder curve. Additionally, measure the width of your shoulder from where you want the pad to sit inside the garment to where you want it to extend. That way, you can ensure that the width from your neck to your armhole matches your shoulder pad. Here’s an example: 5 1/2 inches wide by 4 inches deep.
2. Create a foundation for your shoulder pad pattern
Draw a rectangle on a piece of stiff cardstock or butcher’s paper using your width and depth measurements. This will serve as the foundation for your shoulder pad pattern, which you can reuse multiple times.
Be sure to note which lines represent width and depth, based on the measurements you took earlier. For instance, if your measurements were 5 1/2 inches wide by 4 inches deep, your rectangle should measure 5 1/2 inches by 4 inches.
3. Draw a D shape arch
To create a standard shoulder pad pattern, draw a “D” shape within the rectangle you previously drew. The arch should have a bit more volume on one side. Start by positioning the rectangle with the edge that corresponds to the depth measurement parallel to you.
Draw a curved line that goes from the top left corner, runs along the center of the right side of the rectangle, and ends at the bottom left corner. This line will serve as the finished edge of your shoulder pad pattern.
Remember that the side with more volume should be towards the back of your shoulder area, and if you’re drawing a true “D” shape, the fullness should be on the bottom half. Keep in mind that this shoulder pad will be worn on your right shoulder.
For the smoothest possible line, consider using a French curve when drawing the curved line for your shoulder pad pattern.
While the “D” shape is the standard for shoulder pads, you can make slight variations to achieve different results. For instance, if you want the shoulder pad to provide more volume directly above your shoulder and extend slightly beyond it, you can sketch a more circular shape. On the other hand, if you prefer less volume directly above your shoulder, you can carve out the vertical line in your “D” shape, making it more of an arch or moon shape.
Get creative with your designs and experiment to find the perfect fit for your fake football shoulder pads.
4. Label both sides of the pattern piece with “R” for right and “L” for left
You need to indicate the correct placement of shoulder pads by labeling both sides of the pattern piece with “R” for right and “L” for left. This is especially important if you’re using a “D” shaped pattern – the top side should be labeled “R” and the reverse should be “L” and ensure that you use the appropriate shapes for each shoulder.
Hey, just a heads up, if you want, you can create 2 distinct patterns instead of using a single piece of paper for both right and left shoulder pads. To make this happen, just flip the initial pattern over onto another sheet of paper and trace the outline.
You should end up with 2 pieces that are exact mirror images of each other. And, if you’re feeling fancy, you can even make your shoulder pads symmetrical so that there’s no need to label which one is for the right or left side.
5. Use paper scissors to cut along the curved edges
When cutting out the pattern piece, use paper scissors and be sure to cut along the curved edges with care to avoid any irregular edges on the final product. Remember to reserve your fabric shears for cutting fabric only as they can get dull from cutting through stiff paper.
6. Create the right shoulder pad
Create the right shoulder pad by tracing the pattern onto the quilters’ batting twice. Pin the paper pattern onto the batting with the “R” side facing up and trace around the edges with a fabric marker or pencil. Don’t forget to label each piece “R” and repeat the process for the second piece.
7. Trace the left side onto the batting twice and cut them out
Hey, to get four pieces, trace the left side onto the batting twice and cut them out. After that, just flip the pattern piece over and pin it onto the quilters’ batting. Trace around the edges and label this piece “L”. Repeat this step once more and voila! You’ll have two pieces labeled “L”.
8. Cut out the four pattern pieces with fabric shears
Just a quick tip for anyone attempting to make fake football shoulder pads: be sure to use fabric shears to cut out all four pattern pieces. Take your time and use sharp fabric scissors to carefully cut around each traced pattern piece. This should result in two distinct pieces marked “L” and another two marked “R”.
9. Trace the pattern onto your fabric with an extra inch of seam allowance
If you’re making fake football shoulder pads and need to cover them up, here’s your next how-to! Trace the pattern onto your fabric with an extra inch of seam allowance, then pin it onto the wrong side of your lining fabric.
Trace around the pattern and add an inch of seam allowance again for both the right and left sides. And don’t forget to choose a lining fabric that matches the inside of your garment. For example, if you’ve got a red blazer with black lining, use black fabric for your shoulder pad cover.
10. Creating a thicker shoulder pad with one layer of batting
For a thicker shoulder pad with one layer of batting, sandwich two layers of batting together and pin them. Then, pair up the matching “R” and “L” pieces and pin them together. For a graduated thickness, cut out smaller pieces and stack them using fabric spray adhesive.
Place a full-sized piece of batting over the top to smooth it all out.
11. Hold the batting layers together
Hold the batting layers together using a sewing machine to straight stitch around the stack’s edges. On the curved edge, mark two darts with a fabric marker or pencil: one dart that takes in 1/4 inch (0.64 cm), and another larger one that takes in 1/2 inch (1.3 cm).
Place the larger dart on the side with more volume, which will be located towards the back of the shoulder. Both darts should be around 2 inches (5.1 cm) deep.
12. Sew the darts
For the darts sewing to make fake football shoulder pads, start by pinning them in place on both shoulder pads, taking care to reduce the bulk from both layers of batting. Then, use a straight stitch on your sewing machine to close the darts. Finally, trim any excess threads for a neat finish.
13. Enclose the edges of the batting
You now want to enclose the edges of the batting. Fold and pin the seam allowance of the lining fabric over it. Position the batting in the center of the corresponding “R” and “L” pieces of lining fabric, and then fold the 1 in (2.5 cm) seam allowance toward the inside before pinning around the edges.
Be careful while folding around the corners to avoid the seam allowance sticking out or creating excess bulk.
14. Enclose the batting edges
Enclose all edges of the batting with your sewing machine to sew a straight stitch 1/4 inch away from the folded edge around the shoulder pads’ perimeter.
15. Prep the fake football shoulder pads
When prepping your shoulder pads, don’t forget to trim off any rough edges from the lining fabric and remove any excess seam allowance.
You can prevent fraying using pinking shears to trim the seam allowance. After these steps, your fake football shoulder pads are all set and you can easily whip-stitch them onto your desired garment.
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