In looking for more natural options for during my cycle, I recently learned how to make cloth pads at home. I found that it was easier than I had expected and they worked great plus it was much gentler on my budget than purchasing cloth pads. If you would like to learn more on why natural options are so important to me, please feel free to visit my post on the topic.
Now, please keep in mind that I am not a professional pattern designer! I had to draw these out myself so while it may look a little rough these went together so nicely (the second time at least) and so I wanted to share the step-by-step instructions below. I will also try to load my pattern on here which you are welcome to print and use or draw out your own! I will include lots of pictures since this is a step-by-step post so that hopefully the directions will make sense! Also, I apologize that the fabric is all neutral colors as it makes it a little harder to see the pieces in the directions. I just bought neutral colors and then realized I should have bought colors or prints to make it easier to see in the post.
Homemade Cloth Pads
1 yard organic or regular flannel (This makes about 4 pads. See Notes below.)
1 yard organic or regular cotton terrycloth
Additional cloth for liners (See directions last directions)
-Begin by preparing your pattern. I drew mine out using a pad I had on hand and then adjusted it and added about a 1/2″ seam allowance around the edge and wings. I realize this is not very helpful, but I literally had to work on it twice to get the pattern to work. If you use my pattern simply print it out and cut out each piece. You the need to put the A pieces together by simply butting the long edges with a small line mark up against each other and taping them together. Repeat with the B pieces. I had to separate these pieces to get them to fit on a printer sheet, but they are ultimately one piece.
-Pin the pattern pieces onto corresponding material. Pattern pieces A and B need to be of flannel. Pattern piece C should be out of terry cloth. Cut out 2 of each piece. You can do this by folding over the material and pinning the pattern onto the doubled material which will give you 2 of each.
-Next you want to take the large piece of flannel and the 2 small pieces of terrycloth. Stack the 2 pieces of terrycloth together with the wrong sides facing each other. Then lay them on the wrong side of the flannel piece doing your best to center them on the big piece. Sew around the edges of the terrycloth all the way around using a zigzag stitch to seal the seam.
-Next place the other big flannel piece over top of the other one placing it print side up and sandwiching the terry cloth piece between the two. Set these aside.
-Now take the two small pieces and create a hem on the long side of each by folding the raw edge over 1/2 an inch and then another 1/2 an inch pressing with an iron to hold the fold. Sew a straight stitch along the inside folded edge of seam.
-Add your small pieces onto your stack of big pieces by placing one small piece, print side down on one side of the large piece. Then place the other small piece on the opposite side allowing the hems you made to overlap. Your sandwich layers should look like the picture above. Sew all the way around the outer edge of all the layers with a straight stitch and using a 1/2″ seam allowance. Trim the seams down a little to prevent bulk. You can use a serger for the sewing if you have one as well.
-Once you have finished sewing it turn the whole thing right side out. Topstitch around the edge to help keep it from fraying.
-Now add a snap or velcro to the wings. If using velcro simply put the hook side on one wing and the soft side on the other. You can sew one on one side and then overlap the wings and mark where the other piece should go. Sew each one on using a straight or zigzag stitch. If using snaps simply mark where each one should go and attach using a snap tool following directions in tool.
-You are now finished except for inserts! If you have a heavier flow or just prefer extra protection you can make inserts that just slide into the opening on the bottom. To do this simply cut out 2 additional layers of the terrycloth piece or use that same pattern on another absorbent material. I actually cut just one layer out of some old used cloth diapers I had that we weren’t using anymore. If using 2 layers stack them together. Sew around the edges of the one layer or the double layer using a zigzag stitch or serger to keep the edges from fraying. This doesn’t have to look pretty or fancy. You can then slide the inserts into the open edge for a little extra absorbency! Your pads are now complete!
When using the pads you can place them in a small trashcan with a lid as you use them or in some kind of container with lid. You can even have water in there to begin pre-soaking if they are heavily soiled. Once your period has passed you can wash them in the washing machine in a separate load, dry in the dryer and store in a clean place for your next period.
Hopefully these directions are easy to follow! Please comment or email if you have questions!
-For the flannel you can purchase organic flannel or regular. Organic flannel is pricier but will allow you to avoid any pesticides that might stick to the cotton. Regular flannel is definitely less expensive and while it may have pesticide residue, it still allows you to skip all the other chemicals found in conventional ones! I had to purchase my organic flannel online, but you may be able to find it at your local fabric store. The regular of course you can purchase at your local store and get whatever color or fun print you like. You could even do a different print or color for each person in your household that needs them to help keep them separate.
-Terry cloth is the same in that you can do organic or regular. Again, the organic I had to purchase online but you should be able to find the regular at a local store.
-I got about 4 pads out of 1 yard of flannel. I was able to get a lot more of the terry cloth pieces out of 1 yard since the pieces are smaller. So you may want to decide how many pads you feel you need and buy the right amount of material from there.