French Jackets

Chanel Shoulder Pads

Anyone who has constructed their version of the classic Chanel quilted jacket is aware that there is no provision in the design for shoulder padding. Unfortunately, many figure types are enhanced by the addition of even just a slight lift at the shoulder line. I came across this RTW Chanel quilted jacket WITH shoulder pads.


The lining is silk chiffon and is difficult to see in the photo. Each section of the jacket, including sleeves, is quilted in vertical lines about one and 1/4 inch apart. The lining seams are finished by hand: amazing to find this in RTW! There are also shoulder pads covered with the silk chiffon. Happily I was able to get inside this garment and copy the details.


Here is the jacket wrong side out with the shoulder pad visible and the pattern I was able to reconstruct. The inner working of the shoulder pad were identical to a pattern I previously posted on 1/20/2016: The Chanel Shoulder.

Here is a copy of the shoulder pad itself:


I don’t have pdf conversion software, but if you right click anywhere on the pattern you will have an option to print. Print to fit on 8.5 by 11 paper and it should print to the correct scale.

I’ll run through the construction of the shoulder pad again so readers don’t need to toggle back and forth between posts.
On the right are the sections cut from cotton batting. Left photo shows the sections completed. Check the post from 1/20 if you need additional hints.


I’ve shown the inner layer (pattern piece 3) placed on the mannequin first, topped with the optional additional padding (pattern piece 4). Stitch these layers together.


Pattern pieces 1 and 2 (already stitched together) are layered on top and pinned for sewing. Next photo shows the completed shoulder pad.


Since the lining in this jacket has already been attached by quilting, the shoulder pad needs to be covered by matching lining. Here are the lining pieces: Shoulder Pad Cover



Sew the darts in both top and bottom cover pieces. Notice both sections are cut out bias grain. There is also NO SEAM ALLOWANCES on the outer edges. Allow about 3/4 inch or 2 cm. Pin the upper cover (the piece with two darts) on the top of the pad. Stitch just INSIDE the edge of the batting.



Place the bottom cover section on top of the top cover layer and stitch just OUTSIDE the batting. I find it easier to sew with the cotton batting layer on top and the silk fabric next to the sewing machine feed dogs. It controls the ease better.


Leave about 2 to 2.5 inches open along one side to turn. Trim the seam allowance to 1/8 inch. I increase to 1/4 inch around the opening the make sewing that closed easier.


Attach to the jacket with 1/4 inch French tacks so the shoulder pad will move slightly when worn. I usually use four tacks: one at each end of the shoulder seam and one at front and back where the sleeve joins the jacket body. These aren’t limited to Chanel jackets. Anytime you need a covered shoulder pad these are wonderful. I like that the sleeve head support is incorporated into the design. Also the pad is securely stitched to the lining so these should withstand the cleaning process. Enjoy!




25 thoughts on “Chanel Shoulder Pads”

  1. Wow! Such great detail! My shoulders usually do benefit from a bit of a pad, although I’m not unhappy with the fit and feel of my jacket without it. I will be trying you technique on a future Chanelesque project. Thank-you. GG

    1. Glad you liked this. Not everyone needs shoulder pads but this is a great pad to use in any garment needing one. I’m much happier with these than anything I can buy.

  2. Enjoyed your post! Thanks for the shoulder pad info. The chiffon lining, I think, was in Chanel’s spring/summer collection sometime in the 2000s?? I’ve been meaning to clone that for a while and now it’s 2016 🙁

  3. I’m just beginning my Chanel cloning journey, and your blog and posts are fascinating and inspiring. Thanks so much for the care and detail.

    1. It’s cotton quilt batting from JoAnn Fabric. Make sure you get pure cotton as polyester fibers tend to work themselves out into the covering layer. Glad you enjoyed.

  4. Great tutorial, Mary. I think shoulder pads like these would also be excellent for use with kimono-sleeved coats and jackets, as they are soft and pliable. Thanks for this post!

    1. You are so right. I like the design because it has built in sleeve head support. If you need them slightly bigger, just add a little around the outside edges. It’s also easy to add another layer or two of inside padding if you would like a thicker pad. Glad you liked this.

  5. These shoulder pads are a work of art! Having the pattern for all the layers and the photos really makes them come alive. As a girl with narrow sloping shoulders and having clients with the same, these will certainly make my clothes look and feel better! Thanks for such clear instructions, Mary!

    1. Thank you Mrs. Mole. They are easily customizeable by adding additional layers of padding or making slightly larger if necessary. Custom pads are also wonderful for clients with different shoulder heights.

  6. I remember learning about a version of this “petal pad” in the 90’s when a smaller shoulder pad was needed vs the ginormous ones which were so popular. Thanks for providing the real thing and all the details. I’m so glad I found your blog via The Tunic Bible giveaway.

  7. Thank you for this wonderful detailed account of the shoulder pad it had been so much help as I have quite sloping shoulders and pads are almost unprocurable these days in Australia and I have lots of wadding so am looking ofrward to making my first own shoulder pads. 🙂

    1. Thanks so much for letting me know that you enjoyed the shoulder pad post. The shoulder pads you make are much better quality and you can totally customize them for your shape.

  8. Thank you so much for the shoulder pad pattern. I have never been happy with those that I bought, or even those that I made myself. I tried yours and they were perfect!

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