Here’s a (free!) printable pattern for two sizes of cloth pad — “heavy” and “light!” Plus, a tutorial on how to make — by a mom who has used cloth pads for over a decade!
Here’s a free printable pattern to make your own cloth pad!
I’ve used cloth pads for over ten years!
Some I have made, and some I have purchased!
Environemental friendly AND better for your body (and wallet!), I’ll never turn back!
But — cloth pads aren’t cheap to buy. And the cheapies made of bamboo/microfiber? I can’t stand them!
I’ve purchased and used the best and the worst. And I’ve been taking notes for 10+ years!
So, today I’m going to teach you how to make some reusable menstrual pads, very inexpensively!
Use for menstrual cycles, bladder leaks, or postpartum pads (my personal favorite — these would be any mama’s FAVORITE postpartum gift to receive!), you’ll never go back to disposable pads!
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- Flannel Fabric — just one yard will make you quite a few pads!
- PUL fabric
- Snaps (I chose metal — plastic is also an option)
- Needle and thread or a sewing machine
- My FREE cloth pad pattern, get yours below!
A Note on your cloth pad making supplies…
PUL fabric is your waterproof fabric. It does not absorb; it is there to prevent any leaks.
If you’re really on a tight budge, I imagine you could substitute this for a plastic dollar tree shower curtain, or perhaps even a vinyl tablecloth from the thrift store.
I haven’t tried either of these methods — but it might be worth a shot!
But — although PUL fabric is a bit pricier than either of those alternative ideas, remember that you use such a tiny amount of PUL for this project. A yard of PUL fabric will last you a LONG time!
Making Your Cloth Pad
Let’s get right to it!
The heavy and light pads are constructed the same way, so the following instructions will work for both style pads!
First, draw up your own pattern, or instantly print out my free one here!
If you choose to draw up a pattern on your own, great! Just make sure it’s even on both sides — if you draw half your pattern, fold it in half, and lay it over a sunny window to trace the other side, it should come out fairly even!
Next, trace out your patterns onto your fabric.
It’s helpful to fold your fabric in half and cut through two layers of fabric at a time!
You’ll want to cut out two pieces of flannel and one piece of PUL fabric with the piece that has “wings.”
For the “wingless” piece — cut out as many layers as you would like it to be thick. The more layers, the more absorbent your pad will be! Less layers = less bulky. For the “regular/heavy” pad, I used 6 layers. For the “light” pad, I used 4 layers.
When tracing the PUL fabric, you’ll notice that one side feels more soft and the other side feels like vinyl. You’ll want to trace on the softer fabric side. The vinyl side is VERY waterproof and it’ll be hard to get markings to show up!
I lined up the straight edges of my inner pad pieces right next to each other so I just had to cut out one straight line side per pad. You can fit the most absorbent inner pad pieces on your fabric this way, too!
Sew the Wing Pieces for your cloth pad
You should have 3 pieces of fabric for the wings: one waterproof PUL layer, and two layers of flannel.
Stack your pieces like this:
- PUL waterproof layer on the BOTTOM.
- Flannel piece in the middle, RIGHT SIDE UP.
- Flannel piece on the top, RIGHT SIDE DOWN.
Sew along close to the edge, making sure you’re sewing through all 3 layers.
Then, cut a slit going lengthwise on the pad — on the flannel fabric, not the PUL!
Be careful that you only cut through one layer! Pinch your fabric and move it around pinched fingers to feel that it’s only one layer of fabric!
Only make the slit just big enough to turn everything right side out. Not too big!
Turn your wings right side out.
You should have the pretty flannel on both sides, with the PUL layer in the middle!
Sew around the very edges of your wings to keep everything flat.
Sewing your absorbent pad pieces.
Stack your layers of flannel.
You can stack the flannel in any order EXCEPT FOR YOUR FINAL TWO LAYERS (and it’s helpful to turn your bottom layer a certain way, too!):
- The layer second to the top should be facing RIGHT SIDE UP.
- The layer on the very top should be facing RIGHT SIDE DOWN.
- It can also be helpful to make your bottom layer facing right side out, so that you can easily keep track of which is your top layer and which is your bottom layer!
Sew through all your layers of your inner pad layers, keeping track of which layer is your “top” layer.
Your top layer should be wrong side out. If you stacked your bottom layer right side out, it’ll be easy to tell which is your top layer!
Just like you did for your wings, make a slit on just your top layer of fabric, and turn everything right side out.
Now, sew along the very edge all the way around your absorbent layers of flannel. This helps keep this piece nice and flat.
Next, sew a long oval in the center of your pad. This helps “direct the flow,” but also keeps all these layers from bunching in the wash.
Attaching the Wings and Absorbent layers together on your cloth pad
Now, stack your absorbent layers on top of your wings. The slit you cut in the absorbent layer piece and the slit in the wing piece should be facing each other.
This way, the holes are no longer seen.
Now, sew a long oval between the line of stitches at the very edge of your absorbent layer, and between the center oval of your absorbent layer.
Remember — you’re sewing through the absorbent layer piece and the wing piece!
Your pad should be one piece, and mostly finished!
Button Closure for your cloth pad
Lastly, It’s time to attach some snaps to your pad!
Fold the wings together as if you’re going to snap them together.
Mark exactly where you want your snaps to go so they’re straight.
Now, for the purpose of this post, I used a budget set of snaps. But, if you want the fancy snap set, I’ve heard great things about a KAM snap set.
The budget set works fine. It definitely had its obnoxious moments where the snaps didn’t secure the way I wanted them to, but there are so many snaps included it didn’t really matter when I had to throw a couple ones out.
Snappin’ some snaps onto your cloth pad!
Lay out everything you need.
You need two spikey snap ends, one “male” snap piece, and one “female” snap piece.
Take your torture device looking snap pliers out.
One one side of the pliers, there’s a hollow hole. Put your “male” piece facing down in that side.
Take your spikey piece and put it on the other side.
Line up your pliers over one of your dots you marked on the wings of your pad, and slowly squeeze your pliers.
Don’t squeeze too hard on the first squeeze! If the spikes turn out wonky, you don’t want it to be too difficult to pull your snap apart and try again.
Once you see that your snap is straight, you can give it another squeeze to firmly attach it to the wing of your pad.
You also may have this little metal stick device. You can (use the hollow end on the snap so you don’t flatten the whole thing out!) tap (not BANG) the snap with this and a hammer to make everything super duper tight!
Next, we’ll attach the female snap.
Put your spikey end in one end of your pliers.
Note the two sides of the female snap.
The spikey snaps should bend OUTWARDS on the female snap, going UNDER the little divvit on the female snap to attach it.
Be sure you’re laying your snap with the smooth side AWAY from the spikes, and the “pocket side” TOWARDS the spikes.
Squeeze the female snap on even more slowly than the male snap as the spikey side is more likely to go haywire on this type of snap.
Lastly — make sure you do a “test fold” of the wings to make sure that your male snap will be able to actually snap into the female snap. Don’t attach the female snap on backwards
After your initial squeeze of the pliers, double check that your male snap will indeed snap into your female snap. You want to be sure before you permanently attach the snap to the pad! The snaps aren’t meant to come undone and are really difficult to take apart!
Another tip for the female snap: when attaching that pesky female snap, I find it’s helpful to do a tiny squeeze, release and check for crooked spikey prongs, do another tiny squeeze and release/check…. keep going in this manner until the snap is on!
There you have it! There’s your beautiful cloth pad!
A note on washing and caring for your cloth pad
What’s the fuss about blood?
Cloth pads are no big deal to use and clean!
After use, rinse with vinegar and then with water until the water runs clear.
Then, throw in your regular laundry, wash with a load of towels, or wash as a separate load — whatever you’re comfortable with!
These pads are heavy duty, and thanks to the quilting on them, they should be just fine going through your washer and dryer!
You can also wash and dry by hand, if you prefer!
More free patterns for a handmade home!
Do you love to nurture a handmade home environment for you and your family?
So do I!
I love sharing free patterns with you to help encourage you and your family to save money and increase meaningfulness by making handmade, practical things together!
Stick around a while — and check out my other posts!
Here’s a few:
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Until next time!