By Contributing Writer, Virginia Miner
When I found out I was pregnant last summer, I resolved to stick with reusable cloth pads for after delivery. There were a variety of reasons for this decision (I had always used disposable pads previously), but the biggest reason was that having all those disposable pads in the trash after delivery grosses. me. out. Cloth pads are also said to reduce cramping, and using them will save you a lot of money, both of which are definite perks!
I already have kids in cloth diapers, so the laundry doesn’t scare me. I researched some purchasable options, but in my usual style I eventually ended up deciding to sew my own.
I bought all my supplies from diapersewingsupplies.com, though I am sure you can get stuff on Amazon or locally, depending on where you live.
BIG FAT CAUTION: I am not a fancy seamstress! If you are, you may find my techniques distressing. I am sharing what worked best for me after some trial and error. If you have ideas for improving this process, please share in the comments.
Here’s how you do it:
You will need:
- a pen
- a measuring tape
- a sewing machine
- PUL fabric–this is a moisture barrier
- wicking fabric–this keeps moisture away from your skin (I used athletic jersey)
- absorbent fabric–this is where all the blood goes (I used hemp fleece)
- snaps or hook-and-loop
The first thing you need to do is draw your pattern. You can just trace your favorite pad and add wings, or you can do what I did. Measure on your body how long you want the pad to be, and then measure how wide you want it at the widest in the front, how wide you want it at the widest in the back, and how narrow you want it at the crotch.
On a piece of paper trace out your measurements. Draw a line the length of your pad. At the top, draw a line across at the width you desire, at the middle draw the a line for the crotch, and at the back draw the line for the width of the back. You should have one long line with three shorter lines intersecting it.
Draw a curved line connecting all your end points.
At the crotch line, draw “wings”: these will snap around the crotch of your underwear.
Now you have your pattern! It’s time to start cutting out fabric.
First pin your pattern to the PUL fabric and cut it out. You can see how cool I am: I chose digicam!
Then cut out your wicking fabric. Red seemed an obvious choice…
Finally cut out your absorbent layers, using the same pattern but minus the wings. I used 3 layers of hemp fleece for my huge heavy duty pads and two layers for the pad in the pictures.
Now it is time to sew! Pin all your lining pieces together and sew them together all around the edge about 1/2 inch in.
Next, trim the edges, close to your seam.
Once your absorbent liner is all trimmed up, it’s time to work with your PUL and wicking fabric.
Pin the PUL and wicking fabric pieces together with outsides facing each other.
Sew these pieces together, leaving the back end open. You will use this opening to turn it right side out and also to insert the liner.
Once you have turned your shell right side out, you will insert the liner.
Pin it in place, and then sew around the edge.
If you can fold the open edge in and sew it closed, do that. Otherwise, if you find that the liner is too long to do that, trim it to the length of the shell and then zigzag across to close it.
Not elegant, but it is effective. And the last thing I want to do is give myself grief about my sewing technique on sanitary pads.
To give the wings of your pad some structure, go ahead and sew a seam about a quarter inch in around the edge of the wings.
After you have done this, you can either place snaps, or sew hook and loop on the wings. I used KAM snaps.
And there you go! You are done! These pads can be washed and dried like normal laundry, and they will be very happy if you hang them in the sun.
Make your own cloth pads – it’s quick, simple, and saves you a ton of money!