When I heard about cloth pads I was pretty squicked – who really wants to deal with that? Ew, right? I’ve heard about them for years, some of my friends use them, and I have been told time and time again that I needed to change over to cloth.
As always, click the jump to read the rest of the article. Nothing explicit or gross, just wanting to cut this for uninterested readers.
I put off trying cloth pads for a long time. My periods were never heavy – it just made more sense to buy a 100 pack of liners and be on my way. But, as a lark, I decided to make a few cloth pads and try them. A couple health reasons helped push me over the edge here, too.
I AM NEVER, EVER GOING BACK.
There are a huge variety of fabrics you can use for making cloth pads – flannel, fleece, cotton, hemp, etc. But I decided to try good ol’ flannel, because it is soft and they have cute prints. I bought 2 half yard pieces – so a yard of flannel, and it was $3 total, and a pack of twelve snaps, which were $1.22. I printed out a few patterns online and dug out my sewing machine.
I tried three different patterns, and I was able to cut NINE pads out of this. This comes out to 47 cents per pad! On most pads I used two inner layers for absorbency, but on a few I used three or four for heavier days. I used three different patterns to try them out, but if I was only using one I could have probably gotten more out of the fabric I had.
Fabric and patterns laid out
I am really, really impressed with them, and they are very comfortable – you can’t even tell that they are there. And there is something about not having to be reliant on a disposable product, and using something that I made, with my two hands, to take care of myself. Plus, I feel like I’m screwing over “the man”, because pads are expensive as holy hell! These are a one time cost, and a pretty low cost at that – and the product I am getting is so, so much better than the plastic-y disposable pads.
I started with this page, which has a good amount of links and info concerning cloth pads. I used the 11 inch pad and pantyliner pattern from this page, and I also made a few of these - they are the simplest to sew, and the most economical for fabric use.
There are also two very good communities on LiveJournal that you can get information out of: DIYPads and Clothpads. Make sure to check the memories in each community – there is a *lot* of info dealing with washing, construction, use, storage, etc.
I have had a lot of questions concerning washing the pads – especially since I don’t have dependable access to a washer and dryer. I plan on handwashing them, using hot water and a scent and dye free soap. The blood issue *does* squick me out a bit still, but I know that I will get used to it over time. Plus, the benefits of cloth pads far outweighs me going “ew ew ew” for a few seconds, and if you take care of them quickly, the staining is minimal (or none at all). I typically get to a laundromat or other laundry facility once every few weeks – that’s enough to get them a good, hot wash. And (as you quickly learn when you don’t have access to laundry) I plan on making a large number of these to get me through the no-washer times. Plus, they are fun to make. Quick to sew, but fun fabrics, and you will actually use them!
Here are a few of the pads I made today. As you can see, they don’t have to be perfect.
This is a pad folded and snapped closed – so easy to throw in my purse!
And as to that “What will you do if you go out?” question I am bound to get – I plan to make a small bag, possibly out of a water-resistant fabric. Used ones will go in there and get washed when I can get to it. Also, the chance of leakage with these are very, very low, so I am not over-concerned with that.
I am really happy that I decided to make the leap to cloth pads, I wonder how I messed with the disposable ones this entire time! If there is anything I’ve left out that you’d like to know, or anything I can help my readers with – please let me know! Making the change to cloth is a lot easier than it sounds – and it’s healthier for the body, and saves a lot of money!
Also – flannel is on sale at JoAnn Fabrics for $2.49 a yard till February 21st! It would be a great time to stock up, it’s usually $5.98 a yard.