These towels are pretty
straight forward to make if you have sewn before and should last several
years. The use of a decent sewing machine would help, especially one
that will 'serge' but it is not essential.
They are a two part winged
design - a pocket and the inner liner - this helps increase absorbency
and provides for easy washing and fast drying. The wing part fastens
around your underwear. The flannel backing keeps it in place against
Links to the patterns are
at the end of these instructions. Print them, cut them out and play
with them to see how they fit together. Doing a trial with some scrap
material is highly recommended as you may want to modify for size
and shape to suit your own needs. The sizes provided here are regular
and mini. The exact location of the pocket opening makes a real difference
in the functionality.
What you need...
- Cotton - Cotton flannel
is probably the best choice for the pad and liner as it is very
absorbent without being too thick. People have used terry cloth
as well but you may find it too thick with all the layers. A six
ounce cotton is a good choice - this is slightly heavier than flannel
bedding sheet cotton, it is similar in weight to a cotton shirt.
A set of 8 pads will require about 3 yards of materials. Organic
cotton would be a good move as cotton is a very intensive crop and
normally uses a vast array of unpleasent petrochemical products.
- Nylon - Nylon is used
as a moisture barrier on the outer side of the pad. It is optional
- pads can be made without nylon, (for example all the organic pads
sold by Many Moons are made without the liner) you just have to
be sure to check and change them more often to avoid any leakage.
Only a small amount of nylon is needed for each pad - about 4 inches
wide by the length of the pad. Use good quality nylon otherwise
it will not provide a moisture barrier for more then a few washings
- cheap nylon loses this ability after a few washings. Some women
have tried GoreTex but this is probably overkill, especially given
the extra cost.
- Fastening - You will
also need snaps to use to keep the pads fastened around your underwear.
A button may also work. Do not use Velcro as a fastener, as this
can cause chaffing.
What you do...
- Cut out the patterns.
There are three parts to the pad pockets - the big winged form is
the pad back and will be the template that you sew to. The two smaller
half winged forms are the pad top and provide the opening through
which the liner is inserted.
- Cut a piece of nylon
four inches wide and as long as the pad.
- Serge both inner edges
of the pad top (the orange dotted lines on the illustration).
- Fold the inner edges
over about 1/2 inch and press with an iron so they will hold their
- Lay the materials down
in this order; nylon liner , large single pad back , two top pad
pieces with the inside edges overlapping about 3/4 inch (this provides
the access to insert the liner).
- Sew around the pad about
1/8th inch in from the edge.
pad is now sewn inside out, you will need to flip the pad (just
as if you were sewing a pillow and flipping it inside out). To get
nice sharp corners on the pad you should poke the corners out (a
chop stick is excellent for this job). If you don't do this, the
pads end up with little bunches of material at each corner.
- Press the pad with
a hot iron (not too hot or you'll burn the nylon)
- Sew around the top
of the pad opening to close off the winged part of the pad from
the pocket (red dotted lines). This is necessary as it helps the
pad keep its shape. Also note the black dots are about where the
snaps should go.
- Press snaps on the pad
- Cut the liner size
required. Regular are about 17 inches by 7 inches, mini are about
9 by 7. Serge around it. Fold it up and insert in the pocket.
- That's it. Wash your
pads before their first use - this increases absorbency.
Care and Washing
After use, separate the
two parts, soak them in cool water and rinse, then throw in the wash.
If you soak them
in cool water you will find staining to be minimal or nil. Machine
dry or hang to dry, iron if you want, then they are ready to go again.
If you soak them in cool water you will find staining to be minimal
The Patterns - Bottom
Pattern , Small
top part , Large
The links above are for
images of the patterns. Click on each (there are three separate files)
and then print them or redraw them yourself if you have no printer.
We found this information on the Many
Moons website and have edited slightly. The design comes
from Janet Trenaman who has been manufacturing and selling similar
pads since 1989. She is keen to have the information freely
distriubuted as the more cloth pads out there, the better for
the health of women and our planet.
period seems to be lighter and I haven't had a yeast infection
since I switched to cloth pads - they let your skin breathe."
- Anne, North Carolina
have cut down on my garbage & saved money! . . . like using
cloth diapers for my babies, it's my own small contribution
to the environment." - Jayne, British Columbia
skin was so sensitive to disposable menstrual pads...with Many
Moons I know exactly what is next to me, thanks for such a beautiful
alternative!" - Suzanne, California
really swear by these pads. I am rarely troubled by PMS, heavy
flow, yeast infections or any other problems. I could not believe
the difference. Now, if I have to use a store bought product,
I can feel it, immediately. The few extra moments it takes to
care for the pads is nothing compared to the benefits."
- Alicia, Ontario