Make Your Own Cloth Pads!
Cloth pads are something I’ve written about several times before (here and here). Not only are they healthier to use (avoiding toxic chemicals in regular pads and tampons), but they are much friendlier on the environment and the trash can, as well as on our wallets. Pads may not seem all that expensive, but they add up quickly over the course of the year!
Admittedly, I haven’t had a whole lot of use for pads during the greater part of our marriage (yay for that whole pregnancy, breastfeeding, pregnancy, breastfeeding cycle!), save for a few specific seasons. However, I very much wanted to avoid using conventional ones during my post-partum weeks, and to be prepared to use cloth pads full time whenever my cycles chooses to return after baby.
These are the ones that I have just finished making myself (with just a little help from a friend, my Nana, and my Nana’s lovely sewing machine). I wish I could share the actual pattern, but it belongs to my friend who has plans to start making her own to sell as a small business, so I’ll have to keep it our little secret. 🙂
Aren’t they cute? (I know, that sounds so funny, but I love the cheery fabrics I used!)
You can see that I’ve made two heavier duty ones, perfect for nighttime, and two lighter ones. My friend is also blessing me abundantly with a little starter pack that she’s creating, so I should have enough to definitely get me going.
What’s great about these (aside from all the reasons I already mentioned), is that you can make them so cheap! For my fabrics, I used:
- old baby blankets (fleecy or thicker flannel ones are great for the absorbent middle layers). I also have an old towel set aside for this inner layer, for the next time that I make more.
- some random pink fleece I just happened to have in my fabric box, for an outer lay with more grip than just cotton
- old diaper covers, and the waterproof inner piece from a burping pad that I ripped open (both of these make a nice waterproof bottom layer)
- any cotton print (the light pink floral was left over from a skirt I intended to make years ago; the dark purple floral I did purchase, but only from the clearance section during a member’s sale at my favorite fabric store)
All told, I spent about $6 (including thread), and that was with plenty of leftover purple fabric that I made into a foldable diaper change pad for my diaper bag. The only thing I might still do is add either small snaps or velcro to the wings, but they can also just be used as is.
Here are a few online resources I found if you’d like to try making your own:
How to Make a Circle Pad (this is a neat design which I haven’t seen before!)
Making Your Own Cloth Pads (this site has an abundance of patterns, and lots of detailed info on fabrics, etc.)
Make Your Own Cloth Pads (great photo tutorial)
How to Make a Pantyliner
Homemade Sanitary Pads (another detailed tutorial from Hillbilly Housewife)
I have a tutorial up too, I linked to it up in my name above.
I think clot pads are great! Yours are beautiful :o) I use the baby’s prefolds until bleeding slows down postpartum, the I use my pads. I’ve learned that if you want them looking new, a little hydrogen peroxide takes anything right out. I don’t particularly care, but some people do and that’s what works! 🙂
Stephanie, I just posted about cloth pads on my blog this morning as well! I’m holding a giveaway for some homemade cloth pads (or Soap Nuts) if you feel like sending people over to my blog.
I love using cloth pads. I purchased mine online from a WAHM since I don’t posess a reliable sewing machine right now. I got them for my first postpartum cycles after my first baby. They are great! They look very similar to the ones you made as far as the pattern goes.
The only thing I recommend is making the back waterproof. Otherwise, at least for me, they need to be too thick to not leak. I love PUL for this (polyurethane laminate, same thing as Bummis diaper covers). Its too uncomfy if they are too thick. Mine are not thick at all (except the night time ones) and work great.
I do also love the pregnancy-breastfeeding cylce though. Its great not having periods! Even if I don’t get to use my great pads! 🙂
Thanks for the post, this saved me the time of doing research on this topic, which I have been meaning to do for quite a while.
I made some with this super easy pattern that I adjusted. http://www.craftster.org/forum/index.php?topic=34087.msg291000
They were really easy to make since it’s just a square, but I haven’t tried them yet (breastfeeding), so I can’t speak as to how well they work.
I made some the last time you posted about it and I love it! I never would have thought of making my own. (I think if my mom knew, she would be horrified! Anytime I tell her the natural things I’m trying, she cringes. It’s kind-of funny, but I think I’ll keep the cloth pads my little secret;o).)
I made mine out of an old towel, and I wouldn’t recommend making them out of only towels because it is pretty bulky, unless you are just going to use them at night. When I make some more, I will definitely try to use more of an actual pattern and put some thought into the layering of materials!
Ahh so fun!! I was just looking into cloth pads yesterday and was a liiiittle put off by the up front cost. Thanks for the very timely post, I’ll have to give these a go! :o)
They are pretty if pads can be pretty. I am not into it but I think it is valuable information for those that are interested. It also makes me realize that people were making things like this for a long time and not just wading up an old rag and using it. It is all very interesting and I can see where they would be more comfortable then reg. pads that chafe. Lucky for me I don’t have to worry about that much anymore.
When I had my second baby four weeks ago, I commissioned my friend to make some pads for me. We got some cheap (as in on sale) fabric and away she went. I love them! I have a variety of insert sizes for heavier or lighter days. So far, four weeks in, and I am hooked for life!
I love the idea of these post-partum. But my preference the rest of the time is my Diva Cup: http://www.divacup.com/.
I’ve had mine for years now, and I love it! (If one can love such a thing…)
I made my own pads and used them for the one cycle I had between babies this last time… (:D) they were wonderful. I usually have horrid cramps and when I used the cloth pads, although I still definitely knew I was having my cycle, I did NOT have cramps so awful that I had to retire to the couch and moan, so that was an improvement. I used Maggie (the Hillbilly Housewife)’s pattern.
cloth pads are the best.
These look great! I am just curious how they stay on if you don’t add velcro or snaps though. Does the fabric just stick to underwear?
I haven’t made my own but have bought handmade cloth pads – I love them.
OK, funny question on this…I made some cloth pads and used safety pins to pin the wings together. I didn’t want to pin it through my underwear and make holes. But I have trouble with the pad sliding a little. Does anyone else have this problem or an idea? I love it that I can just throw them in the wash and I feel great using them. And if your answer is that I must have done a bad job sewing the pads, that’s ok, you can tell me! 🙂
Hi, I’m brand new to your blog. When I found it I couldn’t help but subscribe because I’m so much like you. I cook/grow a lot of my own food (follow WAP to some degree), sew diapers (and pads!), I’m expecting my second baby (to be born at home, both kids non-vaxed) in about two weeks!
On this particular topic, I have a website that has several (free) cloth diaper and cloth pad patterns. I will be using these after my birth too. http://www.rctdiapers.webs.com (It’s named for my daughter, those are her initials.)
Anyway, I’m glad to discover your blog!
I absolutely love my cloth pads. I used all material I already had so they cost nothing to make. I’ve been asked to make some for a friend and may use one of the patterns you posted because it looks a little easier than the one I used.
I recommended cloth pads to a friend whose teenage daughter was pretty much incapacitated by her periods. She made some cloth pads up right away and there has been a dramatic improvement for the daughter. This is definitely how I’m going to teach my girls to deal with their periods.
Amy, did you use a fabric that has a bit of grip to it on the bottom? If you use something smoother, like cotton, it will slide around. It helps to use more like a fleece or flannel as the bottom layer. And I don’t think you did a bad job- I’m sure there are just ways to make them slide less! Maybe someone else has a suggestion for you!
I just used a diaper pin to pin the wings together and I didn’t have a problem with it moving, but I used flannel for the pads themselves. That had a nice grip to it. I could see if you used, say, t-shirt fabric that it might move around.
Say, what a better use for old t-shirts than just giving them to Goodwill or cutting them up for dusters, eh? I hadn’t thought of it before.
I actually just bought some pads from a couple of people on Etsy. They were definitely cheaper than buying from some of the commercial companies.
I want to experiment with the pads (never tried them before), but don’t have time to make my own at this point. Maybe someday though. =) I have heard that using alternative menstrual products helps some with cramps, etc. and I hope it will help me.
I tried to go to your site and leave a comment for your soap nuts/ pad giveaway. For some reason your comments are not turned on. I could not find an email or I would have tried to contact you that way. I would love to enter if I could figure out a way to contact you.
lorrie briggs 10 @ yahoo dot com
I know I’m a little late in posting but I was just reading your blog and am so thrilled to try making my own pads! Do you have any recommendations for washing them? I use cloth diapers with my baby and know that they have their own special washing instructions, and with blood I figure I can’t just throw them in the wash with everything else! 🙂 Thank you!
For washing them, you can throw them in a diaper load, no problem! Blood needs cold water rinse first to keep it from setting, though, so you can either have a small wet pail just for the cloth pads– some people add baking soda, –or as I do, just rinse them out once in cold water (sink or tub) before throwing them in my diaper pail and washing them all together. (I do a hot wash, then extra cold rinse with 1/2 c white vinegar in the water)
I usually use the Diva Cup for most of my cycle, and use my homemade (Hillbilly Housewife’s pattern) pads for light days or days when I need a break from the cup. I mainly used an old flannel shirt, and then some old socks & t-shirts for the absorbency panels. I love how with the pattern I used you can customize how much absorbency you slide in depending on the day!
I guess these are really confortable for the post partum period, but I prefer a menstrual cup. I use the Moon Cup.
What is the name of your sisters business?
Yeah, cloth pads are super comfortable! 😀
I’ve just made a website to offer a set of my own pad patterns, and to use as a directory to other sellers. So if anyone is interested in being added to my site, let me know. 🙂
I made my own by tracing a store bought pad to use a pattern. I had a certain style that I liked and wanted something similar in cloth. I used old kitchen towels to make a removable pad and some diaper cover material for the outer layer. I made them in an envelope style so the pad could be removed from the cover and it easier to wash and dry.
I’ve made two cloth pads so far but keep meaning to get around to making more. Our printer was out of ink, so I couldn’t print off any pattern and ended up just making my own based on a disposable pad, using extra cloth I had and buttons for the wings. They turned out great! I can’t believe how much more comfortable they are than disposable!
I have always had extremely heavy and painful periods, and the last few years they were just getting worse (sometimes the cramps were so bad I would throw up – my husband even had to pick me up from work on one such day!). I read that the toxic chemicals in pads and tampons might be the cause, so I ordered a diva cup and made the pads to catch any leaks I might have. I couldn’t believe it – the very first month I used them my cramps were less painful than on a normal month with heavy medication (and I’d taken no preventive pain relievers)! Now I don’t have to fear my period when it comes every month 🙂
This is just the same reason I’m doing it! Aren’t the cups great! I’ve only had one leak but that was cause I was caught in the stomach with something and i must not have put it in right (first month and what not) Still going to make a pad though for when I just need a little more reassurance
Saw your thoughts about the homemade pads. Making them now. Just
had a period so I must wait till next period to try them. I made some
really pretty ones. Always trying to find a thrifty effective way to save money.
Here is a great ebook that is full of pad patterns and simple step-by-step instructions on how to sew your own cloth pads: http://www.pleasantpads.com/make-your-own-cloth-pads-pattern-ebook.html