Shoulder pads prevent the front and back shoulder area collapsing near the armhole as the shoulder starts to round off. They needn't be large - mine are only 7mm thick and barely detectable - but they come in many thicknesses.
You need to make sure that your shoulder pad is shaped correctly for your armhole. Lay your Front and Back pattern pieces together with the shoulder seams overlapping:
And place your shoulder pad on top to compare the shaping. If your shoulder pad has a seamline match that with the shoulder seam. My pad is quite similar to the armhole shaping and I only need to trim 3mm from the outer edge at the shoulder point, but I also need to trim some off at the neckline as it protrudes past the stitching line:
Remember that you need a pair! Most tailored pads have a notch or small hole indicating which end is front or back.
Sleeve head wadding sits inside the sleeve head, and supporting it, rounding it out slightly, and concealing the edge of the shoulder pad and seam allowances. My precut wadding has a slightly different shape to the pattern:
Which is easily fixed:
Note there is also R and L wadding, and mark the shoulder notch if it isn't already marked:
Now our pieces are the correct shape, let's set them in! Start by pinning the shoulder pad at the shoulder point like this - the edge of the pad should align with the cut edge of the seam allowances:
The front and back tips of the pad are not positioned by laying everything flat, they are positioned by bending the pad and seam into the wearing position like so:
Both ends pinned - note the ease:
The shoulder pad is sewn in from the sleeve side, stitching 1mm into the seam allowance from the existing stitching line so it remains undisturbed. There will be some slight easing to do of the top layers:
The wadding is sewn in a similar manner, except it attaches to the sleeve side of the seam:
Allow it some ease in a similar manner to the shoulder pad:
Sew it in from the shoulder pad side, in the same line of stitching as the shoulder pad:
All stitched up:
|Mine actually had too much ease here - see it's a bit gathered looking? I ripped it out and resewed ...|
From the right side, even stuffed with a fist and sporting stray fibres, the sleeve head looks much classier with it's supporting layers:
Let's sew the lining in next - happy sleeve sewing for now!