Making your own cloth pads is easy and smart. You not only save on money, you also do your part lessening plastic production and waste. Everyone I know who wears cloth pads say they are so much more comfortable than store bought disposable pads. For those of you who prefer tampons over pads see: The DivaCup
Flannel is the best fabric to use for cloth pads because it is both soft and very absorbent. You can find flannel sheets at the thrift store or bargain bin flannel on most fabric sites such as: Fabric.com I look for darker colors, especially pink or red for hiding any stains. Unless of course you bleach you pads, then lighter colors are fine. Bleaching is not necessary if you are drying them in a sunny spot.
I make two types of pads, some for light days and others for heavy days. The light ones seen below with snaps are made from just two layers of flannel. I put Velcro on each end to keep the thicker pads stationed on top. For the inner liner in the thicker pads I use a baby waterproof crib pad/liner found at either Walmart or Target. For more than 25 pads, I used about 2/3 of the crib pad. My friend uses a different type of pad found at Target that does not have plastic inside, it is just made of very thick cotton. I place the thicker pads on top of the thin pads, attached with Velcro. This is mainly for ease in changing just the top pad and leaving the bottom snapped to the underwear. Surprisingly, this does not feel too thick. But if you like very thin pads try making just one variety, the lined type that have wings to hold on to your underwear.
After pre-washing your fabric, cut them to your desired size and shape. I used a disposable pad for a pattern while cutting. You may want to make a few extra long ones for wearing at night. Remember to allowing a seam allowance.
For the thicker pads cut your inner liner about 1/2 inch smaller all around than the fabric allowing space for the liner to lie flat after being sewn inside the fabric (imagine a pillow being slightly smaller than the pillowcase). I sewed my liner onto my fabric because I didn’t want it to be swimming around in the pad. Once the liner was sewn onto the top fabric layer I sewed the bottom fabric layer to the top layer (back to back). I sewed right next to the liner without actually sewing it. Remember to leave a part to flip right side in. If your sewing machine can handle it you can sew another stitch about 1/4 inch in from the edge to make it nice and flat. Sew on two small pieces of Velcro by hand (or better yet sew them on to the bottom layer of fabric before attacking to the top layer and liner). Be sure to make the Velcro sit at equal distances on all your pads so they all sit well on any thin pad you make.
For the thinner pads with no liner, cut your fabric with wings. And sew the pieces back to back leaving a section big enough to turn right side in. Add snaps or Velcro to the wings. A snap setter is very cheap at Walmart or other sewing store and pretty easy to use with a hammer and some patience. Add two pieces of Velcro (the same distance apart as the top pad’s Velcro).
After using, wash in washing machine and add vinegar to your rinse cycle. Air dry in sunny spot.