Haven’t heard of cloth pads? Cloth Menstrual Pads, affectionately known as ‘Mama Pads’ are a great alternative to disposable pads. And with this cloth pad tutorial, you can make your own. They use a waterproof backing (PUL or Fleece), an absorbent inner and soft top layer.
Still confused as to why anyone would use cloth? I mean, didn’t these die out in the 60’s? Intrigued by my friend’s switch, I decided to give it a try for the environmental and economical benefits. Using scraps on hand from making diapers, I whipped up a couple, using a pattern I made based on disposable pads. Once I switched, I noticed instantly significant improvement with back pain. I could hardly believe the effect on my body! Though thoroughly convinced this was the route for me, my first few pads were really uncomfortable. I changed the pattern (and the fabric) a several times before I settled on this design. Easy to sew wings (straight lines!), easy to launder and a good, comfortable fit.
One key element to finding a comfortable pad was the fabric I used for the top. I’ve first tried using flannel and microsuede, but bamboo velour has far, far outperformed them. Hand-dyed bamboo velour is more comfortable, more durable, resists staining, and the fabric has stayed soft, even after years. I use 1mil PUL for the backing and Zorb for the absorbent inner. I mainly use Zorb because I have it already and it’s easy to sew with… but it performs just as well as the other soaker choices I’ve used.
And before I get off my soapbox, if you have not heard of menstrual cups, I recommend checking them out and see if they will work better for your needs. Nuff said, onto the pattern…
Waterproof Backing Fabric – PUL, Heavy or waterproof fleece
Absorbent Soaker Fabric- Zorb, Bamboo, Hemp, Cotton (even old towels would work just fine)
Soft Topper Fabric – Bamboo/Cotton Velour, Microfleece, Microsuede, Minky, Flannel, Cotton prints
Snaps – Plastic (size 14/16) or Metal
Quick estimates for regular sizes give about 5 in 1/3 yard of each fabric, or about 8 in 1/2 a yard for 45″ Fabric… But this is a great project for using up your scraps.
Two sizes available, Regular and Overnight. A scale comparison of the two patterns is shown below, and the links to the pdf patterns are just below licensing.
The short story – This pattern is FREE to use for both personal use and business use. If used to sell cloth pads, you must give bluedinosaurs credit for the pattern and/or link to the site. The pattern itself is not to be resold or redistributed.
Home use is free for anyone who uses the pattern to create pads for themselves, for gifts or for donation. No strings attached!
Business use is free for anyone selling a cloth pad made from this product, either locally or online. Text similar to “pattern design by bluedinosaurs.com” should be on any printed material that accompanies the product (tags/wrappers/packaging). If sold online, text similar to the suggestion above should be placed with the product description, with a link to the website (if possible). Not required, but feel free to drop an email to me with a link to your store. I love to see my patterns in action!
The pattern may not be placed on any other website, for free or for money. Do not copy, trace and/or rebrand this pattern for free or for sale.
Optional Step – If you are using bamboo velour and PUL, you may want to starch your velour first. Starching causes the fabric to become stiff and flat, which is good for sewing a non-stretchy fabric (PUL) to a streaky fabric. Starch comes in an aerosol can and costs about $1 in any big box chain, sold with the laundry detergents. It helps so much with sewing, and washes out in the first wash. Use heavy starch and spray in a well ventilated area. Really, it’s worth it!
1) Print pattern and assemble pieces. There is no seam allowance on these patterns! Trace the pattern out on the back of the fabric (pen on PUL works well) and cut arbitrarily around it giving you a seam allowance (at least 1/2″). Once assembled you’ll sew right along the lines, and trim after.
For the absorbent soaker fabric, you’ll want to use either 1 layer of zorb, 2-3 layers of bamboo, hemp, or thick cotton towels. Cut the soaker out using the inner contour on the pattern, this time cutting directly on the line (no seam allowance needed).
2) Sew the absorbent fabric to the back of the topper fabric. Use any sort of pattern you want. I like the simple 3 lines like in the image above, but quilting or darning will look great too.
3) Using polyester thread, sew around the line you traced out on the back of the fabric. If you use pins, use them only on the selvage. I prefer to sew with the PUL side up, as it’s less stretchy, but that only works if you have a walking or teflon foot. Before you sew check out our Sewing with PUL Page. Leave one side of the wing unsewn, on the straight part between the curves.
4) Snip around the curves, especially right where the wings attach to the body.
5) Turn the cloth inside out, and topstitch around the edges, closing up the hole, using coordinating polyester thread.
6) Apply your snaps. One side facing up, one side facing down.