Sometime in the late 1980s I started padding coathangers. Not the nylon lace knitted covers so beloved of my grandmother, but an improvisation on what was to hand.
I needed a wider hanger as my clothes were wider than most. I needed a way to avoid the horrid "angel wing" effect of coathangers on clothes, I wanted delicate fabrics to maintain their shape and I needed to be able to do it for nothing or next to nothing.
So not much has changed, really.
I came up with a way of using materials readily available - wire coathangers available for free from clothes shops and the shoulder pads that were on the wane fashion-wise and available cheaply (or occasionally free) from op-shops.
The best shoulder pads to use are the fat, shoulder-shaped raglan pads. If there is velcro attached, so much the better for gripability.
A pad is folded over the end of the wire coathanger and whip stitched into placed. For extra width allow the padding to extend the hanger 1/4 to 1/3 the length of the pad.
To help the pad stay in place, stitch through the pad around the metal end.
On these hangers, I can hang wet shirts in woven or jersey fabrics to dry in small spaces and after ironing, rehang them to preserve the shape - no "angel wings" on my tops.
This week, I found a bag of raglan shoulder pads rescued from an op-shop. I whipped up six padded hangers using the last of the shoulder pad stash.