On its own the sleeve head can look a bit limp and in need of reinforcement – that’s where a shoulder pad and some sleeve head wadding come into play!
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 like this:
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, supporting it, rounding it out slightly, and concealing the sharp edge of the shoulder pad and seam allowances. My precut wadding has a slightly different shape to the pattern:
Which is easily fixed:
In this picture both ends are now pinned. Note that I have bent the shoulder pad back the other way, revealing the amount of ease that was automatically introduced in the step above – you need this ease:
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:
From the right side, even only supported by my hand, the sleeve head looks much classier with it’s supporting layers:
Don’t forget to pin this for later! We’ll sew the lining in next – happy sleeve sewing for now!