Homemade Cloth Pads- Type 2

I love reusable cloth menstrual pads. I didn't have a large enough stash though, and needed to use disposable pads last time my Aunt Flo came. Big mistake. My cycles are so much heavier and more uncomfortable when I'm using chemical saturated disposable sanitary napkins that I hopefully will never need to use them again. But first, I needed to sew a whole bunch more cloth "mama pads".
I decided to use a different pattern than I used last time, because I thought these would work better, and they definitely do!

Homemade Cloth Pads- Instructions

1. Using a disposable pad as a guide, draw a paper pattern approximately 2 inches bigger than the pad all around, making sure to add wide wings if the pad you're using as a guide is wingless. This will be your paper pattern for the upper part of the pad. We'll call it "Pattern A". Cut it out.

A whole bunch of Pieces A,B, and C waiting to be cut out.
2. You'll be making pocket pads, so you will have three parts total. The top, and then two pieces for the bottom that will overlap to make a pocket. Trace 3/4 of the way around the paper pattern, drawing an additional piece that should be the same height as the pad and contain only one wing. We'll call this "Pattern B". Cut this out, flip it the other way, and trace and cut out another copy as the pattern for the other half of the pocket. We'll call this "Pattern C".
A closer look of a cut out A, B and C.
3. Trace Pattern A on a piece of fleece or thick flannel, and then cut it out. I used an old, thrift store flannel blanket with hemmed edges. We'll call this piece "Piece A".
4. Trace Patterns B and C, keeping the straight edges of the pattern flush against a hemmed edge if your flannel contains any hemmed edge. If it does not and you're using flannel, you'll need to add an extra inch of material so you can hem it yourself. Fleece does not need hemming. Cut them out. We'll call these "Pieces B and C". (If you need to hem, hem now.)

 5. Lay Piece A down, pretty side (if there is one), face up. Lay Pieces B and C on top of Piece A, face down, so that the wings and all the other edjges match up. The straight edges of Pieces B and C should overlap. Pin into place.

Piece A cut out with Piece B on top, lined up so the edges match.
Piece A with Pieces B and C on top, edges aligned. 
A close look of pieces A, B and C placed together and pinned together, ready to be sewn.

A whole bunch of pads pinned together, ready to be sewn.
6. Sew all the way around the pad, as close to the edge of the material as you can, but making sure that you're sewing both sides together and not just one side. Sew a second seam all the way around to help prevent fraying and to make it sturdier in general.

7. Flip the pad right side out. To use, lay inside your underwear and fold the sides down. You can use a safety pin or add snaps to secure it, but it isn't necessary. For heavier days, consider folding up a small washcloth to put inside the pocket. On lighter days, use the pad alone.
The finished pad, turned right side out.
Finished pad, folded, ready for use, upside down.
Finished pad, folded and ready for use. Upright.
Wash on a cold cycle in your washing machine, and hang to dry.

I know I've asked this question before, but if you're a pad gal, would you consider using cloth pads? If you make your own, what pattern do you use?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. After I read this article, I still don't think I would use homemade cloth pads. I guess I'm just use to the disposable kind.

  2. I would love to make my own sanitary pads but don't have a sewing machine neither the materials. I'm pretty tight on money right now.

    1. If money is tight dont fret. There is a great way to make "pads" by upcycling old t shirts even Terri cloth towels or hand towels. All you need is a square and trifold the material. It's also good for those days when your Aunt Flo chances you off guard. Cotton is a great material and very versatile just make sure you don't use bleach on it because it will eat away at the material. Don't use fabric softener either since it will make the material non abosorbent. If you get cloth pads that just don't seem to work soak them in vinegar then wash and hang dry. Been using cloth pads for over 7 years now have 2 teenage daughters who use them too

  3. I am a mama cloth convert i will not use anything else. you can customize absorbancy based on your needs for the day. you do not need to worry about buying different pads to for each type pf flow you have. i made mine with flannel top fleece bottom and terry wash cloth for inside. these are great

  4. you should look into the diva cup, a lot simpler, more sanitary and moneysaving too!

    1. I use Fleurcup (similar product, but cheaper and I'm happy with the shape). I agree, very simple and convenient! However, some days I'll want to go cup-less, and it get a bit irritating if I have to replace it many times. For those days I use cloth pads. I don't think they are unsanitary, as they tend to be breathable (unlike plastic disposables pads), and you can wash and sanitize them however you please. The only problem one might have is carrying it around in a wet-bag before you take it home to wash. But with a good wet-bag and a good de-staining routine at home that shouldn't be a problem.

  5. I've always used storebought pads, but now that I'm getting closer to menopause my flow has gotten so much heavier that the pads aren't enough. (Thank you, hormones.) This way I can have adequate coverage without having to use Depends. Thanks, Penny!

  6. I used to use cloth. I just cut old men's undershirts in such a way that I could fold them up into a rectangle. One or two of the folds could circle the underpants. I liked that I could unfold them completely for washing. I didn't like that they tended to bunch up and I could have leaks. A friend of mind said she just bled into bike shorts. (The kind that have lots of crotch padding for biking comfort.) I guess I'd want to try this at home before I'd trust it, but my friend only wore bike shorts - nothing on top, so she must have trusted it a lot! I guess one time I was traveling and needed to buy disposable and found them so convenient that I've never gone back to cloth, but I worry about the chemicals....

  7. I use a menstrual cup most of the time, but have a large night pad for if I find that the cup starts to irritate after using it for a few days. I have also hand-sewn a pad that is just some t-shirt and dress fabrics with a waterproof layer in the middle. I then put a folded towel on top which is kept in place by two straps on the pad. Total cost of the fabric was a couple of pounds for the waterproof fabric (laminated nylon), and the rest was free, as they were clothes I wanted to throw out anyway. No sewing machine needed.
    Now I'm going to make more, as I really want to make sure I never have to use disposable again. I think with my base+booster design and menstrual cups I will need just about three more.

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