Aug. 31st, 2012 @ 08:28 pm Advice for a first timer
Hey Lovely Menstruators!
I'm thinking about making my own cloth menstrual pads. Can you give some useful advice from things you've learned making your own?  Thanks.
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joy1989:
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From:rearranged
Date:September 1st, 2012 01:52 pm (UTC)
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I tried lots of different patterns to find something I liked, and I drafted a few of my own. I played a lot with different sizes and thickness - for overnights, I need something longer, wider and very thick/absorbent. For day wear, I want something more comfortable.

I use pads as a back-up to a menstrual cup, so my daytime pads can be thinner. I even made some that are more like panty liners for lighter days, when I don't want to wear the cup.

So... my main advice is experiment! Try lots of different sizes, shapes, thicknesses. Fabrics, too. I made some of my own cloth diapers, so I had a bunch of scraps and flannel receiving blankets that I used for my pads. Some of my heavy duty pads have a waterproof layer of PUL. I used flannel and bamboo fleece for absorbent layers, and my top layers were usually flannel or bamboo velour. I bought a cheap metal snap kit that I used with a hammer to set my own snaps, too, so I could have wings that snapped together so the pads wouldn't move.

Hope this helps! :) Have fun! They are a blast to make.
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From:joy1989
Date:September 1st, 2012 11:15 pm (UTC)
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Thank you very much. I think I'm going to see if I can find a metal snap kit for cheap somewhere too. It seems like the best option. I haven't sewn since I was in home ec class in high school, so I'm a little apprehensive, but also excited. I'm going to maybe have my mother help me because she's been doing it forever and still does it. I was thinking a simple pattern like a circle pattern would be cool. Or a square one.
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From:joy1989
Date:September 1st, 2012 11:21 pm (UTC)
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Also I was thinking of doing a fleece bottom layer that would have the snaps on it. Then a couple layers of flannel on top for the absorbant part.
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From:rearranged
Date:September 2nd, 2012 01:47 am (UTC)
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I made some circles! And some plain rectangles with "wings". If you don't go the snap route, velcro works, too... but where I cloth diapered, I liked the idea of snaps better. :)

No problem! I had a lot of fun making mine, so I hope you enjoy! Just dive in and go for it... since I was the only one seeing mine, I didn't mine if I made mistakes. :D
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From:oceansolitude
Date:September 2nd, 2012 01:34 pm (UTC)
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I made my first batch of pads with flannel I had in my sewing stash and older terry cloth towels, you can buy fancy fabric, but you definately don't have to. I made them over 4 years ago, and they still work just fine. I also used buttons on the wings instead of snaps. Buttons were what I had and I was trying not to spend much money. I have used the metal snap kit more recently to make some baby clothes and it is not too complicated or expensive.

Foldable style pads are simple to make and have lots of strait lines so are easy to sew. I also like that they unfold for easy cleaning, but since it is attached it is easier than pocket/insert pads. ecomenses dot com has lots of good advice and some patterns too.

I had not sewed much since I was a kid, and hand sewed my first set as I didn't have a sewing machine yet. Beginners or out of practice sewers can definately make pads. Sewing pads actually got me into sewing other things and I have now made baby clothes, quilts, purses, curtains, simple dresses, and tote bags, and pads for both my sisters. Just take it slow, and remember that cloth pads are about function, so if the stiches are crooked it doesn't really matter.

My drier doesn't like to dry anything with more than two layers of terry cloth sewn together, so AIO patterns were not for me. I second or third the advice to try a variety of patterns to see what works for you and your situation.

Good luck!
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From:rosencrantz
Date:September 4th, 2012 06:15 pm (UTC)
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Let's see. I was a sewing novice when I made mine, so here's what I learned:

1. stay away from terrycloth. Sure it may absorb well but you will break needles like crazy trying to sew it.

2. If you use new store-bought flannel, wash it at least 3 times before you sew it into a pad. You can wash your pad 3-5 times before you use it to soften up the flannel too, but the pads are so thick they take forever to dry. So wash your cloth lots before you even sew it together, so the flannel will be more absorbent.

3. Microfibre is your absorbent thin-cloth friend, but sandwich it between something natural so it won't be next to your skin. Otherwise, OUCH

4. When I used them (I'm pregnant now), I preferred a removable absorbent insert wrapped in a casing of natural flannel. That way when I had to wash, things dried faster. Also that way, if I had a freakishly heavy day, I could also insert a really waterproof single layer under the microfibre layer to be sure there were no leaks.

5. When you have your period, you need to wash you pads - if necessary by hand - every single day. Some people say you can store them in water and do your laundry as per usual at the end of the week or whatever, just put some vinegar in the water or some other magic trick. No. Just don't. Wash every day, or your laundry will really, really smell!

I'm sure other people who were better sewers than I have more useful tips, but these are the ones I would say I learned the hard way. Good luck! :-)