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Removing Shoulder Pads

kcheng

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I just took delivery of a suit i got made when visiting Shanghai last week (not at Chan's).. MTM fully canvassed @ USD80 which i thought was a pretty good experiment to try out. Suit fit pretty well, but they kind of put too much shoulder padding in.

I only collected the suit the day I was flying out (today), so didn't have a chance to get them to fix it, but does anyone know if removing shoulder pads from a suit or making them thinner will have any knockon effects on the rest of suit in any way? i.e. Deformity in the upper body of suit, arm length, etc.? I have some guesses/ideas, but not 100% sure.

I was going to get an opinion of a local singapore tailor to see what they'd say, but the SF forum expertise would be appreciated.
 

dah328

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I think the answer is maybe. I've had it done very simply by an alterations tailor on a corduroy jacket with no ill effects, but the heavier fabric might mask issues better than a lightweight worsted would. I've also had shoulder padding reduced on a couple Chan jackets, but I don't know if they had to do anything more complicated to accommodate those changes.
 

nmoraitis

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This was posted by Glenn O'Brien:

Q: What's the deal with shoulder pads in suits? I am five feet nine, 155 pounds, and I wear a 40-regular jacket. Should I have the tailor remove the pads, or can he insert smaller ones?

A: I have actually attempted sartorial shoulder surgery, and I'm sorry to say that I believe the prognosis for shoulder-pad reduction is not good. Suits and sport coats are built around the shoulders, and this structure is essential to the fit of the garment. Some years back, I started eyeing my early-'90s Giorgio Armani Black Label "power suits" in the closet and thought about how much they cost and how nice the fabric was. I took them to a very good tailor and asked if he could modernize them by removing much of the big shoulder. He tried, but the patient died. The problem is that it's not just the padding but also the overhang of the shoulder and how the sleeves are set in"”these things are all designed to work together. You might be able to reduce padding slightly, and if the suit is currently unwearable it may be worth a try. My best suggestion? When buying suits, always go for the shoulder you like. It's the most important part of the jacket. If the shoulders are too big, forget it; you have the wrong brand.

May 2006
 

Brian SD

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Originally Posted by nmoraitis
This was posted by Glenn O'Brien:

Q: What's the deal with shoulder pads in suits? I am five feet nine, 155 pounds, and I wear a 40-regular jacket. Should I have the tailor remove the pads, or can he insert smaller ones?

A: I have actually attempted sartorial shoulder surgery, and I'm sorry to say that I believe the prognosis for shoulder-pad reduction is not good. Suits and sport coats are built around the shoulders, and this structure is essential to the fit of the garment. Some years back, I started eyeing my early-'90s Giorgio Armani Black Label "power suits" in the closet and thought about how much they cost and how nice the fabric was. I took them to a very good tailor and asked if he could modernize them by removing much of the big shoulder. He tried, but the patient died. The problem is that it's not just the padding but also the overhang of the shoulder and how the sleeves are set in"”these things are all designed to work together. You might be able to reduce padding slightly, and if the suit is currently unwearable it may be worth a try. My best suggestion? When buying suits, always go for the shoulder you like. It's the most important part of the jacket. If the shoulders are too big, forget it; you have the wrong brand.

May 2006


I have a wearable jacket with just a tad too much padding, and I had some removed to a great effect. I would take pictures but it's back at the tailor shop to have the waist supressed and the sleeves shortened.
 

stach

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Best bet is to have him remove the pads, do another fitting and see how much padding he has to put back in to restore the line. I've removed many pads from jackets but my shoulders look padded all by themselves so the only problem I have had in the past for myself is sometimes having to add extra lining fabric.
 

Despos

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The result will vary and it depends on the slope of your shoulders and the slope of the jacket shoulder. if your shoulder has a regular slope and the jacket shoulder slope is cut for a regular shoulder and has a medium size pad, say 1/2" thick, when the pad is removed, there will be a 1/2" gap between your shoulder and the jacket. This will cause the jacket to break and wrinkle under the arms and blade. If you have high, squarish shoulders and the jacket has a regular slope, your shoulder will fill in the gap and the jacket fit will be improved. If the jacket is cut with square shoulders, removing the pad will not soften the cut. You will need to do major surgery. As the shoulder really defines the silhouette, shoulder expression is best discussed and defined in detail when commissioning MTM or bespoke clothing.
 

j

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Originally Posted by Despos
The result will vary and it depends on the slope of your shoulders and the slope of the jacket shoulder. if your shoulder has a regular slope and the jacket shoulder slope is cut for a regular shoulder and has a medium size pad, say 1/2" thick, when the pad is removed, there will be a 1/2" gap between your shoulder and the jacket. This will cause the jacket to break and wrinkle under the arms and blade. If you have high, squarish shoulders and the jacket has a regular slope, your shoulder will fill in the gap and the jacket fit will be improved. If the jacket is cut with square shoulders, removing the pad will not soften the cut. You will need to do major surgery. As the shoulder really defines the silhouette, shoulder expression is best discussed and defined in detail when commissioning MTM or bespoke clothing.
A very comprehensive answer, thanks for that.

Can the shoulder be taken up at the top seam once (some of) the padding is removed? Obviously this would require at least partially detaching the sleeve, I would think.

I opened up a camel hair jacket and removed most of the shoulder padding, leaving only the canvas part to have a bit of structure. Once I did that, the jacket felt great, looked fine but the armhole was now even more oversized. I couldn't find an easy way to remedy this so I put it in the thrift pile. This is another concern to watch for - the armhole and sleeve will fall lower, restricting movement and making the jacket more sackish.
 

Despos

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Yes, the shoulders can be adjusted for less padding. The sleeve does need to be opened but will probably need to be removed and recut. ( at least open the top half and reshape the cap of the sleeve) Taking off 1/2" at the shoulder point makes the armhole circumference 1/2" smaller and the sleeve becomes 1/2" larger in relation to the armhole. This may be too much sleeve fullness to distribute on the sleeve so the sleeve should be trimmed to accommodate the new armhole size.
Quite a task, more like remodeling than altering.
 

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