Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

Mentioning Unmentionables #2: Cloth Pads (aka Mama Cloth) – A Sewing Project

It’s time to talk about another way to ride the crimson pony.

Don’t cover your eyes and walk away from me!    This is not a gross topic.    Menstruation is something that happens and everyone might as well try to make it as pleasant as possible.  The more the dudes know, the more comfortable they will be around the “lady products”.      Guys, do you know how sexy it is when a woman can trust you not to get all weird about the monthly gift?     Do you know how many buffs you get if you can actually go to the store and buy a box of tampons and plunk them on the counter like man?

As for my sisters.   You don’t have to sit on plastic that makes you itch and sweat.     Yes, cloth pads will require you to get more intimate with your body, but who of us hasn’t had to soak our pants (slacks, jeans and trousers) and underwear like we’ve just got back from the scene of a violent crime?     We might not talk about it, but we’ve all been there.   Laundering cloth pads won’t be any worse than what we normally have to deal with with the leaking paper products.         Although I am a big advocate of the menstrual cup (it will change your life), having pad alternatives as back up is just good menstrual practice.

There are many products to choose from out  there and many patterns you can view to sew your own.    Take a look at your favorite disposable products and use that as your cue for the type of cloth pad you might like.

You have:

  • The classic “all in one” that just lays-in like a thin Kotex pad (which, you’ve got to have good snug underwear to use)
  • The ones with wings that snap so they don’t shift
  • The ones that can be stacked or stuffed so you can choose your absorbancy
  • The ones that have a holding shell and top pad so you can change easily and protect your clothes
  • They even have circle ones!

Really, the hardest part of using cloth pads is deciding what pretty patterns, colors, and fabric types you like.     Styles range from badass Hello Kitty to abstract art to the practical skulls and crossbones.

What size is right for you?  What style?    Again, take a cue from the current disposables that you like the best.     A lot of people think that the shape of a pad is not a big deal, but they’d be wrong.      If you tend to leak towards the front you likely prefer pads that you can move more forward, if you are a middle-bleeder you probably like wings, if you tend to have issues with leaking further back you probably prefer more coverage at the caboose end.       If Aunt Flo tends to come on strong the whole cycle, you need pads with more holding power and protection.    If your needs are more modest you probably prefer different pads on different days.   No matter what your needs, there are pads out there that will suit you.

And I don’t want to hear anyone balking at the expense of building a cloth pad stash.   They last for a really long time, and I know that there are those of you who think nothing of spending five bucks or ten bucks for one pair of dental floss at Victoria’s Secret.

Got questions?   Comment below!


Here is project I completed in 2009, using the left over material from a project I was doing in preparation for the home birth of my first child (that’s for another blog).   I didn’t want to put my delicate post-partum lady parts on hot sweaty itchy plastic the size of a small aircraft.   Especially, not with my issues with contact dermatitis.  The last thing I wanted was to get a rash on my crotch.

Yeah.  I said it.    Crotch.

And by the way, the outer parts are called collectively the vulva not a vagina (I’ll rant about that another post just for you).

This is a medium to advanced project.    There are other much easier beginner projects that are considerably quicker, but I don’t tend to do crafty things the easy way.    You can even make no-sew cloth pads.    Why did I do this myself instead of buying some nice ones from Etsy or pretty one from Domino Pads?   I’m cheap thrifty and was in a crazy crafting mood.

The Materials




I wanted a two part system.  I used patterned flannel, black flannel, and an old bath towel, blizzard fleece scrap (not shown).   I used “Adahy’s cloth 11 inch pad pattern” modified into a  Luna pad style (not shown).



Adahy’s pattern in on the left.   I added a holding strip so that it could be used alone or behave like shell to hold an insert like the Luna Pads.    The two patterns could became a lay-in style or wing shell to suit my preferences.

Base:    fleece barrior, 1 patterned flannel, 1 black flannel
Insert:   towel scrap, 1 patterened flannel, 1 black flannel
Strip holder:  black flannel scrap

Easiest to cut all piece patterns first, layer, and pin them all before sewing.

The back side of the base of the pad has a strip of scrap fleece as a “water repellant” though it won’t be waterproof.   The scrap fleece was cut cut without wings to reduced bulk on the wings to make snap placement easier and reduce overall bulk.       The insert uses towel terry for absorbancy (Zorb is a very popular option).   The strangely trimmed pieces are for turning inside out so they look neater and can be top stitched.

Close-up of holding strip.

Close-up of holding strip.

I used a strip of fabric in the base holder prior to stitching which is not in the original pattern.   The tube is just a strip of fabric folding in half lengthwise, stitched, and turned to form a tube.   I put it on the black side, but because they are so close to the ends, they can be easily flipped (even sewn as they are) and used on the pretty side too!



Turned, top stitched, and snaps placed on bases.    12 inserts and 5 bases total.


Loaded up and ready to go:    inserts can be changed if base isn’t soiled or the inserts can even be piled up as high as you want for that phone book feeling.

Remember, don’t knock it until you try it!    A lot of people erroneously think cloth pads can’t possibly be hygienic or easy to use in public.   That’s not true and I speak from experience.        Unlike a menstrual cup, cloth pads do need more forethought — but if you carry a purse this isn’t going to be an issue at all.

Bree, a young lady who knows her stuff,  has an array of wonderful videos on the topic.

Got questions?   Comment below!



2 comments on “Mentioning Unmentionables #2: Cloth Pads (aka Mama Cloth) – A Sewing Project

  1. Josh Wrenn
    March 24, 2015

    “lady products”-HA! That is what I call them! I know, I know, I’m a 12 year-old at heart. But I will get the tampons for my wife when she needs them. I just call them lady products anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

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