I never use tampons or disposable pads. They are seriously disgusting to me: the weird smell (is it supposed to flowers or baby powder?), the health risks (TSS from tampons, god knows what chemicals/bleach), the environmental impact (those things don't break down in landfills), and let's be real: neither pads or tampons are even remotely comfortable. When you bring in cost (I've invested a ridiculously low $75 on lady products in the last 10 years) and convenience (my Diva Cup is always available, no dodgy emergency runs to the store for tampons), it was a no-brainer switch for me. So being without for a couple cycles is hurting my heart a bit. But, I have a solution!
I made my own (beautiful) cloth pads!
|Oooh la la!|
The first step is to gather materials. I got everything from Walmart, because low prices really appeal to me. I chose cotton fabric for the tops because cotton is nice and absorbent and feels good against your skin. I picked busy patterns in browns and pinks because sometimes I'm lazy about scrubbing set-in stains, and this way if any staining does occur, it will be camouflaged by the pattern and colour. For the inside lining, I bought the cheap cotton terry hand towels (2 for $4!). When selecting a fabric for the backing, it is best to use something that is non-absorbent so that it keeps your undies clean. I bought a microfleece throw for $5, because it doesn't absorb fluids, and its fibrous texture helps hold the pad in place. You will also need thread in a complementary colour, and snaps for the wings. For the snaps, you can get either the sew-on metal type, or plastic snaps. The plastic snaps require a special tool to attach them, so if you decide to go that route, make sure to get the kit. Also, print this pattern and cut out the pieces.
Next, layer your pad front and back pieces with the right sides together and pin them in place. Sew along the perimeter of the pad with a straight stitch (remember to back stitch to lock it in!) leaving a quarter inch seam allowance, and leaving one end unsewn.
|The scissors are showing where I left the pad unstitched.|
This is so you can turn it right side out, which you should do now. Smooth out the seams from the inside using your fingers or a pencil. Hand sew closed the opening you left, turning the seam allowance to the inside.
After you secure your hand stitches with a couple knots at the end, bury your thread, and trim the ends.
|Poke your needle in between the layers and up through the top to bury your thread.|
|Tacking down the layers keeps the wings looking neat|
Last step is to attach the snaps. I used plastic snaps because I hate sewing in metal snaps. The plastic ones are super easy to use. Figure out where you want to place them by folding over the wings to the back and seeing where they overlap. Typically, they will be placed close to the end, near the seam allowance.
|Fold over to test snap placement|
Using the awl provided in the snap pliers kit, puncture a hold in the fabric where you want to place the snap, and poke the pointy ended snap piece through the hole.
|Using the awl|
|Squeeze it tight!|
|The snaps need to be able to meet in order to work|
|Ooooh la la! Front and back, snapped and unsnapped!|
|The whole collection|
If you have any questions about cloth pads or the Diva Cup, I would be happy to answer them. If you are interested in using cloth pads, but aren't very handy with a sewing machine, there are many shops on Etsy that sell them, including mine, TheHomemadeHeartShop !