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Padded Hangers for Garments, System No. 1


Hanging is often the preferred method of storing textile costume collections when large drawers are not available. Hanging storage is most appropriate for constructed garments such as jackets with set-in sleeves, or other garments with a “European” cut. Usually, constructed clothing is generally stored flat or folded. The most important factor to remember with this storage solution is that the entire weight of a garment will be supported by a relatively small area, and consequently, only sturdy garments in good condition should be hung on padded hangers.


Sara J. Wolf
The Textile Museum
2320 S Street, NW
Washington, DC 20008 USA
Tel (202) 667-0441
Fax (202) 483-0994

Photographs: Sara J. Wolf

Publication: 1992



Wooden hangers are padded with polyester batting that is resilient so that it does not compress under the weight of the garment. The batting is also bulky enough to increase the width of the hanging surface to reduce the stress on the shoulder seam without distorting the shape of the garment. The padded hanger is cover with washed muslin (Fig. 1).

Figure 1. Wooden hanger padded with polyester batting and covered with washed muslin.

Materials Tools Supplies
  • 100% cotton muslin, washed
  • 100% cotton twill tape
  • Colorfast thread
  • Dressmaker shears or pinking shears
  • Pins and needles
  • Polyester batting
  • Wooden hangers


  1. Make paper patterns for cutting out the batting and the muslin covers by outlining the shape of the hanger. Add a 1/4in seam allowance to the batting pattern. Make the pattern for the muslin cover for the padded hanger 1in larger than the batting pattern (Fig. 2).

    Figure 2. Patterns for cutting the pieces of muslin and batting to make a padded hanger.

  2. Cut two pieces of batting using the pattern. Place one piece of batting on each side of the hanger and hand-sew in place along the edges.
  3. Cut two 6in x 6in squares of batting to provide extra padding at the shoulders.
  4. Center the shoulder padding front-to-back over the top of each shoulder area of the hanger and baste them to the other layers of batting (Fig. 3).

    Figure 3. Shoulder areas are reinforced with an extra layer of padding.

  5. Cut two pieces of muslin using the cover pattern. Hand- or machine-stitch the two muslin pieces together 1/4in from the edge along the sides and top leaving a hole at the center for the hanger wire.
  6. Turn in the edges that have been seamed and position the cover over the batting on the hanger.
  7. Hand sew the bottom edges of the muslin with the raw edges turned to the inside to complete the padded hanger.


Wash muslin in hot water with a commercial detergent. Then wash a second time through a complete cycle of the washing machine without detergent. If hand washing, be careful to rinse several times to remove all detergent traces.

Wooden hangers are preferred because they are sturdy and can be trimmed down in width for a narrow-shouldered garment. Because the wood is padded and covered, the release of volatile acids from the wood should not be a problem. Polyester batting has an advantage over cotton in that it does not compress readily under the weight of the garment.

The bar in a hanging cabinet should be high enough so that all garments clear the floor. There should also be sufficient space between hangers that the garments are neither compressed and creased, nor allowed to abrade each other when removed from the cabinet. 

Adapted From

Wolf, Sara J. 1984. Storing costume collections. Conservation Notes, 8:1-4. Materials Conservation Laboratory, Texas Memorial Museum, The University of Texas at Austin.

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