How to Sew Cloth Pads (mama pads) - Tutorial (Updated)9:37 AM
|How to sew cloth pads|
One of the first posts I did on this blog was how to make your own cloth pads. That was a couple of years ago and I've updated my technique since then.
Here's the update
HOW TO SEW CLOTH PADS
For this project you will need:
Makes 2-3 pads
1/3 yard cotton fabric (anything you like)
1/3 yard cotton flannel
1/4 yard of light/ medium weight cotton terry
1 Chop Stick
Snap or velcro closure
For leak proof pads: 1/4 yard pul film (available at www.wazoodle.com)
Other leak proof options: suede cloth, fleece, pul or wool
There are LOADS of free patterns on the internet. Just google "free cloth pad pattern". I like THIS one from TheEcoFriendlyFamily.com. Google around and find a shape and style that you like.
Also, feel free to make your own pattern. I made my first pattern by tracing a pad that I liked. I edited that pattern until it was perfect for me. So please don't feel limited by the pattern link I have posted here.
There is a pattern making tutorial on this blog.
Using the pattern for the pad body, cut 2. One for the pad top and one for the bottom. Using the same pattern cut 1 layer of flannel.
Cut 1-5 layers of cotton terry using the soaker pattern. The more layers you use the more absorbent your pad will be. Added layers also mean added bulk.
1-2 layers of cotton terry = panty liner
2-3 layers = light to medium flow pad
3-4 layers = medium to heavy flow pad
5 layers = extra heavy flow pad
|Pad body, top and bottom|
Stitch your soaker layer together. Stack them on top on each other and run a stitch down the center. This will make them easy to sew to the body of the pad.
On the wrong side of the fabric layer flannel and soaker layers. Make sure everything is straight and pin in place.
|Layer flannel and soaker|
The flannel is there to provide a little extra leak protection. Don't leave it out!
Stitch the soaker in place by sewing around the soaker edges.
|Stitch soaker in place|
|Soaker sewn in place|
|Soaker sewn in place - view from the right side of the pad|
On the right side of the pad, using the soaker seam as a guide, stitch the soaker in place again. This step is optional, but makes for a nice, more professional looking pad.
|Stitch the soaker on the right side of the pad|
|Double sewn soaker|
For a leak proof pad add a layer of pul film or one of the leak proof options discussed above.
|Add the back layer|
|All layers pinned in place|
Stitch around the outside of the pad leaving a 2 inch opening.
Once you've sewn the outter edge, trim excess fabric around the pad. Be careful not to cut your stitches. Now snip the pad near the wings as indicated below.
|Make a tiny snip near each wing. Don't cut your stitches!|
Now turn the pad. Use a chop stick to push out the wings and all corners.
|Use a chop stick to push out wings|
|Tuck and pin pad opening|
|Top stitch pad|
Now add the snap or velcro closure!
|Add snap or velcro closure|
The best tip I can give you about pad making is to take your time and don't panic. It's taken me YEARS to learn to sew a pad that I was happy with. Years!
Here is a picture of my first pad!
|The pad on the left is my first pad|
Try LOTS of different patterns until you find the one that's right for your skill level and preference. Also, once you find a pattern you like, make the pattern out of felt or some other sturdy fabric. Paper patterns will rip over time. Felt patterns can be pinned again and again without wearing out.
Make your first pads using remnants if you can. Making nice pads take practice, practice, practice!
Each woman is so different. What works for one person won't work for another. Play with various soaker material until you find what works best for you. I know people who use layers of old t-shirts or cotton batting for soaker. I also know people who use mircofiber, zorb, zorb II or a combination of materials. It's up to you.
CLEAN YOUR SEWING MACHINE after you're done making pads! Little bits of terry will hid inside of your machine. For best performance, use a sewing machine brush and clean your machine (especially around the bobbin area) when you're done making pads!
If you don't need a leak proof pad, use a plain cotton backer. For added protection use one of the leak proof materials suggested. Play with the various options and see what works for you.
Care/Use of cloth pads:
Machine Wash pad before first use.
(pads are typically washed twice after each use)
Store soiled pads in a "wet bag" until you are ready to wash. Place soiled, unfolded pads in the washing machine. Wash 1 regular cycle in cold water with NO SOAP. For the second wash cycle, pre-treat stains with liquid detergent or other stain remover. Wash in HOT WATER with your regular laundry detergent.
NEVER USE FABRIC SOFTENER on your cloth pads. It makes them less absorbent.
For the first wash cycle, wash JUST THE PADS. For the second wash cycle you can add towels or other laundry to the load. Wash the wet bag in the second wash cycle.
Hang or Tumble dry.
SUPER PRO TIP:
To whom much is given, much is required. It is in that spirit that I offer you this next bit of information.
If you feel moved to donate unused pads here's how: Check out Donate Pads.org
to choose an organization that is accepting donations.
The other option is:
c/o Gateway Church
9555 County Rd 9
Findlay, Ohio 45840
Donation information comes from the website Sew In Peace. This is not my religion or my church. I just really love the idea of donating to young women in need.
Sandra from Sew In Peace writes:
|School girls in Haiti|
Along with basic hygiene information, each kit contains 2 bars of soap, 3 pair of underwear, 100 ibubrofen tablets, 5 safety pins, and 10 cloth sanitary pads.
How you can help
Last year 5,000 sanitary pads were donated for this project, and the hope is to expand the outreach to more girls in the future. In addition to prayer and financial support, Mission Possible is looking for volunteers to sew reusable pads for the feminine hygiene kits. Would you personally consider donating your time to create 10 pads? Perhaps you know of a 4-H club, a quilting group, a retirement community, or a church sewing ministry that is looking for a service project. Your generous gift of time will make a significant difference in the life of a young girl in Haiti.