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How to Make Cloth Pads

Patterns and Instructions for Cloth Menstrual Pads

Diaper Sewing A good pattern for a multi part pad system. More complex than I like, but it does allow you to adjust absorbency and makes for a very easily washable pad.

No Sew Cloth Pads Simply buy several good quality washcloths. Fold in half and then fold in half again. Lay a folded washcloth in your panties and you are all set. Very simple and cheap. They won't slide around because the terry cloth will grip the cloth of your underwear.

Many Moons Pattern Another multi part pad pattern.

Jan Andrea Cloth Pads Pattern A really nice pattern for  an all in one pad. Uses cotton batting for absorbency.

What Fabrics Should You Use for Sewing Cloth Pads?

Top Layer Fabrics

Fabric choices are limited only by your imagination. Most absorbent fabrics will make a good top layer.

Flannel is available in a wide variety of prints. It is absorbent and inexpensive. It will fade and pill some with washing. Better quality, quilt flannel will be more durable but all flannel pills to some extent.

Terry Cloth or Sherpa You want to look for the highest natural fiber content possible. Most knits will have some polyester to help hold the fabric together. Absorbent, durable and comfy to wear. Sherpa is a thick brushed terry.

Cotton or Bamboo Velour Soft, absorbent and very comfy. Again, you'll usually find a little polyester but you want at least 80% cotton or bamboo. Makes a durable pad that holds up well to washing.

Cotton or Hemp Fleece Soft and thick, these fabrics are best for a 1 or 2 layer pad or for overnights. Hemp is more absorbent than cotton and is grown with fewer chemicals.

Absorbent Layers

The middle layers of your cloth menstrual pads can vary depending on how absorbent you need them to be. Be careful about using too many layers. A really thick pad will not wash or dry well and can actually cause leaks by being so thick the flow runs off.

Cloth menstrual pads made with removable inners or snap on pads with a holder are easier to wash and dry thoroughly so you can add layers as needed.

Terry Cloth or Sherpa makes a very absorbent middle layer. One or two layers is often sufficent.

Hemp or Cotton Fleece again, one or two layers is often enough of these very absorbent fabrics. Hemp is so absorbent it can take longer to dry so be careful about making it too thick.

Cotton Batting Sold under the brand name Warm and Natural this think cotton batting makes a good middle layer as long as it is stitched down sufficently to keep it from shifting.

Flannel requires several layers for a regular pad but can be used with fewer layers for a panty liner.

Waterproof Layer

You can choose to use no waterproof layer for a very breathable or organic pad or you can choose from a variety of fabrics for a waterproof layer.

PUL (polyurethane laminate) is most commonly used in cloth diapers. It is somewhat breathable, holds up well to washing and is completely waterproof.

Ripstop nylon provides a more breathable and very thin waterproof layer but is not much fun to sew with.

Felted wool interlock, jersey or crepe makes a natural water resistant barrier. However, this will prevent you from drying them in the dryer.

High quality fleece such as Polarfleece or Windbloc makes a very breathable layer that is also very moisture resistant.

Procare is a type of vinyl that holds up well to washing. Thicker and less flexible than PUL.