So, what's all this fuss about? Well, it's about periods. Yes, menstruation and all its paraphernalia. This all started off in very unlikely way for me. Years ago, I was very into couponing and freebies, and one of my favorite blogs to follow for deals was Hip2Save. One day (about 3 years ago now), Collin posted about a freebie from Party In My Pants (yes, you read that right). Party In My Pants is a small company that make and sell cloth pads. At the time, the thought of women using cloth pads and washing them had never even crossed my mind and I was a bit blown away to be honest. Because of our "throw it away and get rid of any evidence" culture toward any bodily function, the thought was kind of gross - which is the reaction I get from 95% of the people I mention this to. I had to admit though, I was pretty curious about this concept. Would it actually work?
Here's where my personal TMI comes in. I've always had issues with the apparatus of that time of the month. I can't use tampons for legit medical reasons, and even though I used the "expensive pads", I was always very uncomfortable after a day or two of using disposable pads. I live in Florida, so the already humid region is even more so, causing things to stick and rub and just not feel very good at all. Even more TMI - I have a very heavy flow. Much more than average, apparently. I never knew this until a few years ago. I have to use overnight pads all the time or I have embarrassing problems. So, this freebie offer hit me at just the right time when I was wondering if there could be any thing better than just suffering through a week each month. I've used the same set of about 6 Party In My Pants pads each month for almost 3 years now, and I've been extremely happy with them. What a difference! I really wish that I could say I turned to this option because I was some kind of eco warrior or something, but I am only a believer due 100% to comfort and thrift. It was a strange concept to get used to at first - washing out blood soaked pads and reusing them - but in the end it's really no different than washing cloth diapers, or a rag you used to wipe down the toilet, or even a shirt a kid threw up on. Yes it's a gross mess, but that's what the washing machine is for! I throw my pre-soaked pads in the washer, and out they come clean and ready for use again. The cloth pads are also ridiculously cheaper than the throw away variety, especially if you use the ones I used to (Always Infinity or whatever their latest and greatest is now).
Up until now, I've only had about 7 or 8 pads. Two years ago I decided to try making my own, and I had one that was successful then, plus I won a free one on Party In My Pants' Facebook page (they have giveaways every time they introduce a new fabric collection - I highly recommend friending them for this reason). This was a fine amount since it was really all I could afford - I have a few different sizes and levels in my collection and all these cost me somewhere around $50 to $60. Not bad for 3 years of periods, amiright? The pads I have are all cotton and have a water-proof nylon backing, and they are only just starting to show signs of wearing out. They aren't leaking yet, but the water-proof layer is looking a bit more soaked in if that makes sense. I'd rather preemptively refresh my collection before leaking becomes an issue, but to be honest I just don't have $50 laying around to buy a few pads with - even though I love supporting such a great small company and I feel their products are certainly worth the price. At the end of the day, I have the ability to sew ... so why not make my own?
|My stash of pad-making-materials.|
Take A Seat Dress, Skewed Flowers Dress, and Margot Pjs. It's projects like this that help me justify keeping every reasonable sized scrap I end up with, lol. All of the fabrics I chose for tops are good quality quilting cotton or cotton flannel = highly absorbent. Since grain is not so important in a pad, I just laid them out so they looked straight, and cut them all in one go. I made the pattern myself by tracing my favorite PIMP pad and adding 3/8" seam allowances. This free pattern is really similar just with square ends, but you could easily round them to make the same pattern as me.
If you decide to try making pads yourself with the same materials, it's recommended you wash the finished pads before you use them. I didn't know this so I just used one immediately and I could see a bit of seepage around the stitching holes on the bottom of the PUL fabric. It wasn't enough that anything leaked out, but washing apparently will fluff the fabric back up around the holes from the stitches and stop this problem. I will also mention from my previous experience using the zorb core - the zorb is susceptible to "compression leaks", meaning if it's really full and you sit on it, it can basically squeeze the liquid out the sides. Trust me, I know this. So just be aware and don't let them get completely saturated (they are not so comfortable that way anyhow). Other than one time with a little side seepage, I've had no problems with the zorb. I'm hoping that the moisture wicking layer will suck the liquid down into the zorb faster and leave the top drier - we shall see.
Fabric: 1/2 yard of white PUL fabric from Joann's - $6.50, 1/2 yard of Stay Dri Wicking Fabric from Joann's - $4.50, various cotton and flannel prints - scraps from stash = free, 1/2 yard of Zorb absorbent fabric - $4.00 (I think - I bought it years ago)
Pattern: Self drafted from PIMP pad, but this pattern is similar - free
Notions: snaps - $5.00, thread - stash
Hours: 2 nights, so about 6 hours total
Total Cost for 13 pads: $20.00