Last week I showed you how to design a paper pattern to sew your own cloth menstrual pads and today we'll discuss how to sew them.
The first step is selecting your fabrics. I prefer to use a combination of cotton flannel, synthetic fleece, hemp/cotton blend fleece, and polyurethane laminate (PUL). I think everyone is familiar with cotton flannel. You see it used in shirts and sheets. The hemp/cotton blend fleece is the sort of fleece that sweatshirts are made out of. It has a sort of soft fuzzy side and a smoother side to it. It's a very absorbent fabric and I use it as the center part of the pad. The PUL is a laminated fabric that is a combination of a polyester knit fabric and a polyurethane lining. It's a waterproof fabric and a strip of that will be used in the center of the pad to provide a leak-proof barrier.
Then you'll want to assemble your tools. For this project you'll need:
- sewing machine
- snaps (either snap press snaps and snap press or sew-on snaps)
- sewing needle (if sewing by hand or if sewing on snaps)
Then you'll pin your pattern pieces to your fabric and begin to cut them out. You'll want to cut out one top from the cotton flannel and one back from the synthetic fleece.
pattern pinned to fleece - this piece will be the back of the pad
fleece backings (several shown but only one used per pad)
Then you'll cut out your center layers. For a 14" overnight pad I cut out two layers of the hemp/cotton fleece. I generally measure out a rectangle that is about an inch to an inch-and-a-half shorter than the length of the pad and about an inch narrower than the width of the pad.
The final piece you'll need is your PUL barrier. For that I measure out a piece about 1/4" wider and longer than the rectangle used for the hemp/cotton fleece.
showing flannel top, hemp/cotton fleece inner layers, and PUL layer
Once all the pieces are cut out you are ready to start sewing.
First stack your middle layers together. Place your flannel top piece right side down (you'll be looking at the wrong side of the fabric). Then place on the center of it your hemp/cotton layer(s) and the PUL on the top.
Then you'll sew a seam down the center of the layers. Start about an inch down from the end and finish about an inch before the other end.
sewing center seam through middle layers and top piece
middle layers sewn to top - center seam finished
Then you'll sew an oval shape around the edges of the center pieces. Again, you'll be sewing through the top of the pad (the cotton flannel piece), the center layers of hemp/cotton fleece, and the PUL layer.
middle layers sewn to top - seam around edges finished
Now that your top piece is all finished you'll pin it to the backing piece (synthetic fleece). Pin right sides together. It should look like this:
top pinned to bottom
Then you'll begin to sew the top to the backing using a 1/4" seam. Start at one corner of an end like this:
sewing top piece to backing piece beginning at the upper right corner
and continue sewing all around the edges of the pad. Make sure to leave an opening at one end about 2" wide. This will allow you to turn the pad right side out.
sewing top piece to backing piece
top piece is sewn to the backing piece using a 1/4" seam
notice the opening to allow us to turn the pad right side out
Then you'll turn the pad right side out.
pad shown turned right side out - end still open
The final step is to top-stich around the pad. You'll carefully fold the open edges inside the pad and pin. I also like to finger fold the pad flat and pin the edges. Then I sew a very narrow seam (about 1/8" or so) around the edges of the pad.
Then you'll add your snaps. I use KAM snaps and a snap press for my snaps, but you can use sew-on snaps too.
Once the snaps are on your pad is finished!
Pad shown open and unsnapped - all topstitching is completed
Showing bottom of pad - wings snapped back
Pad shown with the wings snapped back
Pad all folded and snapped for easy transport
- A 40 something mama meandering through life with an eclectic 21 year old boy-man (the boy), an 8 year old girl (big girl) who is a ball of lightening, and a 4 year old girl (baby girl) who brightens our lives with her smiles. I'm grounded by my 40 something husband and partner (the hubster) whose quirky mannerisms brighten my days.
I've been a single mama, married mama, divorced mama, career mama, SAHM, and WAHM. There was a short time of my life when I wasn't a mama, but that was a LONG time ago!
I hold an AA, BS, and MA and most say I'm wasting them by devoting my intellectual capabilities and energy in the nurture of the wee ones that I've been entrusted to raise, but there is nothing else I'd rather be doing these days. :)
I love hearing from readers, so please share your thoughts and leave comments, too!