Thursday, January 13, 2011

How to make a Feminine Cloth Pad.

It is also called in many circles "Mama cloth". Even if you don't want use them full time, like I do, they are great for emergency supplies. Just 12 of them is enough to have a full year supply! In this tutorial I will be making an overnight, all in one, cloth pad with internal soaker.


Free Patterns for cloth Pads
Make your own Cloth Pads, Many Free Patterns
Pauline's Free Cloth Menstrual Pads Sewing Pattern
Adahy's Cloth Pad Patterns
Pad Makin' Tutorial

Patterns for sale but usually come with customer support
Fern and Faerie
Kiki Cloth Pads (I have purchased this one and it is GREAT!)
KinderBee Cloth Menstrual Pads
Kristins Cloth Pads
Mamas and Maiden's Cloth Pads
Personal Things Pattern
Pretty Pads

Next...... Materials
Next to Skin Materials
Cotton or Bamboo Velour

Waterproof or next to Panty Fabrics
Polyurethane Laminate Knit (PUL)
Thick Fleece

Inner Layer Fabrics (Soaker Pad)
Cotton or Bamboo Terry
Cotton, Bamboo, Hemp Fleece

Sew on Snaps
Plastic Snaps (Kamsnaps, tools required)

Foots for the sewing Machine
Walking Foot or Teflon Foot
This is desperately needed when working with thick fabrics and PUL.
Here is a picture of my walking foot on my Janome.

100% Polyester Thread. Important! You do not want the thread to wick moisture to the other side of the waterproof layer and any percentage of cotton will do just that.

Places to Purchase Materials
Suedecloth (called Buttersuede but not Microsuede!), Flannel, Thick Fleece, and Cotton Terry.
Everything but Hemp

Very Baby
PUL, Flannel, Microfleece, Cotton Velour, Cotton and Hemp Terry.
PUL, Flannel, Microfleece, Cotton Velour, Cotton Fleece, and Thick Poly Fleece.

Plastic Snaps and special pliers to apply them.
I love kamsnaps and I know that the pliers are an added expense but they have been their weight in gold to me. Not only have I used these for cloth pads, diapers, and trainers, I have used them to turn Blankies into Capes and turned scared kids into super heroes! They are wonderful for putting snaps on children's clothes. Like I said, they are worth their weight in GOLD!

Step 1...
Cut out material

Soaker layer-1 Zorb, 2 Flannel
Outer layer- 1 PUL
Inner layer- 1 Cotton Velour (I recommend Suedecloth when first starting, I was using up this cotton velour and it loves to stretch and can be a pain in heinie!)

IMPORTANT!! When you cut out the PUL, make sure that when you are pinning the pattern to the fabric, that you only pin in the seam allowance. Otherwise you will ruin the waterproofness of the fabric!

Step 2...
Layer soaker. I am using flannel, zorb, flannel. But you can use 6 layers of flannel or a couple layers of terry. Sew a 3 step zig zag down the middle to keep layers from shifting.

Step 3...
Now, either serge the edges or fake serge by doing a zig zag all the way around.

Step 4...
Pin soaker pad to wrong side of inside or top layer. So I have pinned my soaker to the wrong side of the Cotton Velour. Then I zig zag on my widest and longest setting all the way around the soaker pad.

Top or right side of the Pad.

Step 5...
Pin right sides together of Top and Bottom of cloth pad. Since you do not want to ruin the waterproofness of the PUL, make sure to pin ONLY in the seam allowance. And PUL is slippery stuff (But awesome stuff!) so you will want to pin every inch of that seam allowance.
Tip: if you pin in a counter clockwise fashion, it's easier and faster to get the pins out when you sew.

Step 6...
You will sew a straight stitch all the way around the fabric with a #12 Ballpoint Needle, and with a stitch length of 3. I line up the edge of the PUL with the edge of my sewing foot when sewing all the way around. Leave a small opening to turn the pad right side out when done. I tend to leave the straight edge along the wing open to turn it.

Step 7...
Trim the edges to make both fabrics even with each other and then turn.

Step 8...
Use a stick to make sure all the edges are pushed out.

Step 9...
Pin the opening closed, again only in the seam allowance.

Step 10...
Top Stitch about 1/4 of an inch around starting at the pinned opening.

Voila, sewing part is done!

Now to add the snaps. These are handy for securing the pad to the undies by snapping the wings together after wrapping around the sides of the undies. You can use sew on snaps or a button and hole method as well.
I first use an awl to make the hole and then add the snaps with my kamsnaps pliers.

Here's my Lavender snaps.

There are great tutorials on how to add Kamsnaps Here.

And here they are all folded up for discrete storage.

Happy Sewing!

You will want to wash and dry on hot 2-3 times before using. This shrinks the needle holes around the thread and prepares the absorbent layers.
Regular washing instructions for cloth pads.
Rinse on Cold, then do a warm or hot wash. Can be washed with your whites, but never use Fabric Softener or Dryer sheets because it will cause the pad to repel moisture. Air dry flat to lengthen life, but will do just fine in the dryer as well.

I can tell you that switching to cloth has been the best thing ever! You wouldn't believe it but beside feeling great and unbelievably comfy, I no longer have cramps. It is a bonus side effect that seems to happen to women who switch to 100% cloth. And if I had known that, I would have switched years ago! I don't know why it happens but it is awesome! Here is a link of another testimonial on this!
Update 1 year later..... My cloth pad making ability is getting better and better. This pattern is a Kiki regular and I really like the fit!


MissC said...

That is a GREAT tutorial! Thank you!

Feminine Essence said...

Oh good! Thanks!

Mrs. Adams said...

wow...I had a kid flopping on my were pretty self explanitory...will def...reference for myself or send to others interested in making their own...

The Harried Homemaker said...

Thank you so much for such a great tutorial. I was just gifted a 60 year old sewing machine, and I'm looking to make cloth pads as my first project. Any tips on adapting this with a machine that works fabulously but doesn't zig-zag and has only the standard foot?

Feminine Essence said...

Then I wouldn't worry about zig zaging. It is a hidden layer and people won't see it.

Mom2my10 @ 11th Heaven said...

This is an amazing tutorial! Thank you so much. Now, off to get all the materials! Do you sell these?

Kocho said...

Great tutorial!! It all make sense to me now!!

Anonymous said...

I had a girlfriend share a tip about sewing with PUL. She says to put a layer of wax paper or Kleenex over top and put some scotch tape on your presser foot if you don't have a Teflon foot.
Great tutorial too!! Thank you!