Yep. I went there. I finally took the plunge and went full-on green-freak. It’s been coming for a while now. I use disposable pads as a backup with my menstrual cup, so why not switch to cloth pads? We already cloth diaper and part-time family cloth, so the gross factor is really non-existent for me. And I can sew cloth pads myself with things I already have!
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Why not just keep using disposables? Well, there’s lots of reasons.
- They are covered in chemicals that you definitely don’t want against sensitive body parts
- They’re just gross when the plastic makes you sweat
- Disposables make up a ridiculous amount of waste
- Cloth isn’t as gross as you think and the washing process is very simple
- You’ll be saving money, especially if you sew cloth pads yourself
- If you already cloth diaper and/or use family cloth, it’s really no big deal to make the switch
Cloth pads are great for women who don’t use internal menstrual products
When I was a teenager, my mom had me scared that if I ever tried out a tampon, I would forget it was in there. I didn’t use them for years. Now I have a menstrual cup and I love it, but I still like the added protection of a pad underneath. Lots of women use pads exclusively and these are a great option for them as well!
How To Sew Cloth Pads
- sewing machine
- scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- flannel(I used scraps from a sheet) or another absorbent material for the middle
- pretty cotton for the top(I just used t-shirt scraps)
- anti-pill fleece for the liquid resistant backing
- snap pliers and snaps or sew on hook and loop or a button
Start by drafting your own pattern. You can trace around a pad that you would normally use. Minus the wings.
Then contour it to a shape you like or that will fit well for you and cut it out. Mine was 8.5 inches long and 3.5 inches wide at the back.
For the wings, cut out a 5 x 2.5 inch rectangle and round the corners, like above.
Now for the body, trace and cut out one layer for the pretty top(mine was from a t-shirt). For the absorbent middle, I just used two layers cut out from a flannel sheet since this is only for backup. You will want more if you will be using the pads by themselves. Cut out one layer of fleece for the body and one layer for the wings.
Now layer them all right sides out like this: body fleece on bottom, lay the wings evenly over that, then your absorbent layers, and last, your top.
Pin in place.
Sew a wide zig-zag stitch around the whole body, going over the wings, not around them. Go over those stitches with a straight stitch.
The stitches should look like the above picture.
Apply your snaps with snap pliers on the wings like above. You can also sew on velcro or even a button.
Fold the top and bottom in and snap. Now you have yourself a portable little pad.
If you’re going to be using these when you’re out and about, you can put them in a small wet bag after use. A Ziploc storage bag would work well, too.
To wash, just rinse well with cold water, then set aside in an open container to wash with your next load of laundry. Don’t leave them too long though, as they will mildew.
Have you ditched the disposables yet? Do you think you will try to sew cloth pads?
If you make some share a pic on Instagram if you’re bold enough and tag me @little_mager_house
I’d love to see your creations!
21 thoughts on “Sew Cloth Pads Tutorial – DIY Reusable Menstrual Pads”
Hey, thanks! Simple. Much more so than some of the other tutorials I’ve looked up. Will be going through my scraps this weekend, thank you!
I’m glad it was simple enough! That was definitely the goal!
Going to sew some up this weekend. Thank you
Awesome, good luck, Jan!
hi, do you do custom sanitary pads? thank you
No, I’m sorry, I don’t.
This is such a simple tutorial. I have quite a few cloth pads I’ve made before, but it never occurred to me to just lay the pieces together and zigzag stitch. The ones I already have are nice, but kind of bulky so it feels like a bit much when I’m using them as just a back up liner. I’ll definitely be trying this out.
How do you wash these and also how do you carry these used one? I am thinking maybe carrying a large ziploc bag, and maybe washing these in a tub? I am wondering if it would be ok to put these in a washing machine? I want to make a few and I just love the simplicity of making them.
Janeth, just toss them in with a normal load of laundry! So easy! If I’m not doing laundry for a few days I just rinse mine out and hang dry them until washing day. I have a small wetbag to carry the used ones in. They have them on Amazon. If you look under the last photo there is a link to find them. A Ziploc bag would work great too!
Where you find the inner cloth I like to make some for children over here in the United states for the ones that can’t afford them
I used flannel for the inner fabric. I cut mine out from a flannel sheet, but you can find it at Walmart if there’s a sewing section. Or Joann’s, Hobby Lobby, etc.
I have to say that this is so simple and practical. Make it to fit you. I downloaded a pattern that didn’t work well. It was a waste of time to do all that work only to find it didn’t fit together as instructed. However with your help I may be able to save most of the work I have done and apply your great tips. I am 73 and have a prolapsed uterus / bladder. So leakage is not much but I need a daily pad. Thank you so much for this fine instruction.
Hi Erma, I have a prolapsed bladder as well from giving birth and I wear these for the same reason! I hope they work well for you!
I have cloth diapers already. I was wondering if I could just cut this out of them. Since it has the cotton lays that touches the baby, microfiber inside and waterproof outside. Would that work?
You don’t want the microfiber against your skin as it can dry it out, but as long as you have a top layer you should be good! And the waterproof outside will be perfect for cloth pads!
I have made some for my daughter who cannot afford disposables. One question, does the fleece go against your body? It doesn’t seem very absorbant.
Hi, Mama Lora! The fleece side goes against the underwear/panties. It’s to keep from leaking through and repels moisture. I would use more than one layer of fleece and add more absorbent layers, depending on how heavy her flow is. I use mine in the tutorial as liners and they work great for that!
Pretty! This has been an extremely wonderful post. Thank you for supplying
I’m so in love with this. You did a great job!!
Thank you, Sarah!