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Cloth Pad Tutorial

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 an make your own. They use a waterproof backing (PUL or Fleece), an absorbent inner and soft top layer.

Cloth Pad Tutorial

Still confused as to why anyone would use cloth?  I mean, didn’t these die out in the 60′s?  My grandmother was shocked when she found out that I started using cloth diapers on my babies, and her first response was “Cloth?  You wouldn’t use cloth pads on yourself, why would you make your baby wear cloth?”  I didn’t have the heart to tell her :-/

I truly believe they are better for your body (and environment) than disposable pads.  Personally I made the switch for the environmental benefits. Using scraps on hand from making diapers, I whipped up a couple. Once I switched, I noticed instantly significant improvement with back pain.   I could hardly believe the effect the chemicals in the mainstream stuff was actually making my body hurt!  And before I get off my soapbox, if you have not heard of mentrual cups, I recommend checking them out and see if they will work  better for your needs.  Nuff said, onto the pattern…

I changed this pattern a few times before I settled on this design.  Easy to sew wings (straight lines!) and a good fit.


Waterproof Backing – PUL, Heavy or waterproof fleece
Absorbent Soaker – Zorb, Bamboo, Hemp, Cotton (even old towels would work just fine)
Soft Topper – Bamboo Velour, Cotton prints, Microfleece, Suedecloth, Flannel
Snaps- Plastic (size 14/16) or Metal
Pen/chalk/Water-soluable Marker

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. Personally I use PUL Backing, Zorb inner topped with Bamboo velour.  I’ve also tried topping flannel and microsuede, but bamboo velour has far (FAR) outperformed in both comfort and durability. I mainly use Zorb because I have it and it’s easy to sew with… but it preforms just as well as the other soaker choices.


Regular or overnight
Cloth Pad Tutorial
Regular PDF PNG
Overnight PDF PNG


Optional Step – If you are using bamboo velour, you may want to starch your fabric first.  It’s about $1 in any big box chain 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-but only if you have a walking foot), cut arbitrarily around it (at least 1/2″) and sew right along the lines.  Cut out 1 layer of zorb, 2-3 layers of bamboo, hemp, or thick cotton towels.

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 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.

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