Padded hangers are excellent for maintaining the shape of delicate garments. Though store-bought versions are readily available, durable ones can be difficult to find, and the choices of fabrics and colors are limited. The hangers pictured here are attractive enough to give as gifts and are quite simple to make. Use good-quality wooden hangers as a base; look for ones with moveable, sturdy hooks.
- Cotton-poly batting or thin foam rubber
- Wooden hangers
- Soft tape measure
- Awl (optional)
- Staple gun
- Needle and thread
- Thin cardboard or paper (for template)
- Round object (for tracing curve on template)
- Fabric (1 yard of 45-inch fabric will make approximately 8 hangers)
- Sewing machine
- Pinking shears
- 5/8-inch ribbon (3/4 yard for each hanger)
- Small buttons with shank (optional)
Cut batting into 3 1/2-inch-wide strips. Fold each strip in half, then in half again, to achieve a four-layer thickness. For each hanger, measure a strip of folded batting that's twice the length of the hanger.
Find the center of the folded batting; using an awl or the point of a pair of scissors, make a small hole at this point through all the layers of batting. Insert the hanger hook through the hole. Pull batting across the length of the hanger's top, then wrap it around the bottom. Secure the ends of the batting with a staple at the hanger's bottom center. Trim any excess so that the ends of the batting meet neatly. Fold the batting, top over bottom, along the sides of the hanger. Use pins to hold batting in place. Hand-baste all the way around the hanger with large stitches; tuck end corners under as if you were wrapping a package.
Make a template for the fabric sleeves that will cover the batting: Using a soft tape measure, measure the circumference of the hanger (with the batting in place); this will be the finished width of each tube. (Note: Do not pull tape measure tightly, or you will end up with tubes that are too tight for your hanger.) Divide this measurement in half, and add 1 inch for seam allowance. Then measure the hanger from end to center, adding 1 inch for seam allowance. Using these measurements, draw a pattern on a piece of thin cardboard or paper. Draw a curve at one end of the rectangle, using a round object as a guide, if necessary. Trace the template onto fabric, and cut it out. You will need to cut four pieces of fabric for each hanger.
Pin together two fabric pieces, right sides together. Stitch three sides using a 1/2-inch seam allowance and leaving the short, flat end open. Using pinking shears, trim the seam allowance. Turn the sleeve right side out. Repeat this step for remaining sleeves.
Pull a sleeve onto each side of the hanger, taking care not to tear the batting. Align the seams along the sides of the hanger. At the center of the hanger, fold the raw edges of the fabric under so that the sides just meet (the fit should be taut). Hand-stitch the sleeves together all the way around, matching up the seams.
Place a length of 5/8-inch ribbon around the hook to the front of the hanger, slightly overlapping, as if you were dressing it with a scarf. Pull both ends of the ribbon under the hanger, and back over the front on either side of the hook, and tie into a bow in front of hook.
If desired, sew a small button with a shank near each end of the hanger; this will keep delicate garments with straps from slipping.