This is a topic that could make men uneasy… scratch that, this is a topic that generally makes men run screaming. It has many names: “my best friend”, “my aunt Flo”, “that time of the month”, “a moon-week”… I was watching a comedian on TV last week and he said that “women are like oceans: beautiful, deep, mysterious… and once a month is shark week!”. My husband just calls me “broken”, as if I’m damaged goods. Anyways, whatever you call it, as freaky as it is to men, it’s quiet important to women.
When my sewing buddy G told me that she wanted to try using reusable menstrual pads, I thought she was insane. I listed off the reasons that I thought that was a bad idea, at least for me:
- I work all day, where the heck would I “store” these?
- How many times a day would I have to change them?
- My high tech name-brand-ers leak CONSTANTLY, how could a measly little homemade one do better than that?
- How the heck much would it cost?
- Do I have to do laundry every day?
But as many problems as I had with the idea, she had benefits:
- Just think of all the garbage you’d be keeping out of the landfill!
- They’re pretty, and cute, and soft!
- She reacts to the bleach or something they use in commercial products
That last one was the biggy for her, and the driving force for her to try them out. She found a website that sold the finished products AND patterns to make your own: ***insert link here when I find it***. But I still wasn’t totally convinced that this was a good idea… I decided to give it a whirl on my own.
I found this website: http://clothpads.wikidot.com/patterns with many MANY free patterns in almost every style you could possibly imagine and started reading. What they seem to indicate is that a few layers of an absorbent fabric, optionally with batting quilted into the middle, with a waterproof layer underneath will do the trick. So away I went… this is what I did:
- First, I grabbed a “real” pad to get an idea of the shape. Then I fixed everything that is wrong with that shape (ie, everywhere that LEAKS!)
- I used some cute, soft tinkerbell flannel. I cut about 6 inches with the entire width (like 42 ish inches?) and folded that into thirds (conveniently giving one piece facing one way and two facing the other, just like this layering diagram I’m about to give you
- I stacked the flannels (the purples above) and sliced a slit down the middle of ONLY the top one (there’s a picture a little further down).
- I cut another few inches of the flannel with the entire width and folded it into quarters – this makes 4 pieces for the wings, two facing in either direction. Actually, I folded it into eighths to make them symmetrical, but that starts to get pretty thick!
- Sew right sides of each wing together on the curve, leaving the flat side open, then flip and top stitch that seam.
- Slide the wings into your flannel sandwich facing in so when you turn everything, they end up facing out. Here’s a picture… you can see the wings coming up through the slit in the middle so that I could align them properly and not sew over top of them. The entire thing is sitting on the waterproof fabric but NOT PINNED YET!
- I pinned just a teensy little bit very very close to the edge of the flannel, just to keep the waterproof fabric from sliding around. You don’t want to pin too far into the flannel because you’ll poke holes in the waterproof fabric and it won’t be waterproof anymore!
- Now that we have all the fabric stacked up like the layering diagram, sew once all the way around the outside of the flannel. This will attach all the layers in one go, but it’s still inside out.
- Turn the piece right side out through the slit you made in the top piece of fabric. This will put the slit on the bottom, underneath the waterproofing, with two right-side up pieces on top and wings right side out on the sides, like this: