Homemade: Cloth Menstrual Pads (My Apologies to Any Male Readers)

I’ve been meaning to make these for my daughters for quite some time, and I finally went ahead and did it. I gave them as Christmas gifts, which you would think would be weird, but all three girls were very excited to receive – and use! – them. I’ve had some purchased ones for years now, and my girls know that cloth is better than disposable any day. 🙂

These are super easy to make, though a bit tedious. Thirty should be more than enough, and if you’re only making for one lady, it shouldn’t take too long. If you’re making for three, and you’re looking at close to a hundred, well, that’ll take a bit longer. 🙂

Regular size pads should be about 3 1/2″x11″ finished. Heavy or overnight pads should be about 4″x11″. Be sure to plan for a seam allowance when you cut. You’ll need about a yard of anti-pill fleece for the bottoms, an array of double-brushed flannel prints for the tops, and something absorbent for the middle. I used two layers of recycled cloth diapers, but people also use recycled towels. I suspect a couple of layers of any sort of cheap cotton fabric would do. You might want to wash the cottons first to shrink them.


Just layer your fabrics – fleece and flannel right sides together, middle fabric on top of that. Clip or pin them together. I used these clips because they keep thicker stacks from shifting, but are easy to remove while sewing.

Sew around the edges, but leave a hole on one long side for turning. Turn, poke out the corners, and press, then top-stitch to keep everything in place and give it a more finished look.

If you have a serger, the sewing will be really easy. Just remember to stack them in their finished positions, instead of for turning like I did.

Pretty soon, you’ll have a nice little stack of menstrual pads! These actually wash very easily, too. No need to soak in advance. Just put them in the washer on a cold-water rinse cycle. Depending on your level of squeamishness, you could then wash them alone on a hot water cycle, or, if you’re like me, you’ll just wash them with your regular laundry. They’re mostly clean after the rinse anyway.

They don’t slip around in use and they don’t leak at all. And the girls were greatly surprised by how much more comfortable they are. Would you believe they look forward to their monthly cycles? As for me, I appreciate their frugal aspects, too. Once made, they should last for years, saving all sorts of cash in the feminine hygiene aisle! Not to mention those last minute, “Mama, I’m all out,” pleas.

7 Comment

  1. You don’t make attachment wings? How do they not fall off (into the potty, gasp!)? I used cloth for years before my hysterectomy. They are awesome. I made mine a little less beautiful — layers stacked and zigzag (tight) edges and then frays trimmed. Yours are very pretty! I did add wings and a snap or even button hole for securing. And I made some for a friend not long ago and found some of that fabric diaper covers are made of — essentially waterproof without being plastic — and I used that for the bottom layer. I use all flannel, too, because I have no old diapers.

    We are so alike, Jennie!

    1. They pretty much stay where they belong. Never had a problem with falling in the potty. 🙂 Also, there’s a lot less fluid than it seems and the fleece is sufficiently water repellant to prevent leaks. I tried zigzagging my first few samples, but didn’t like the unfinished look. Hence, the turning.

      Peas in a pod, we are. I think you and Faith want to go on a road trip this summer, don’t you? 😉

  2. Hmm. I have heard of these but I’ve never actually seen them. Well they certainly are very cute and I guess I would kind of be excited to get my period every month if my pads looked like that. My second daughter sews but I am not sure I could get her to make these. I am going to show her though and see what she says. She’ll probably look at me funny. But they really are so cute!

    1. More than cute, fabric pads really are 100 times more comfy. I know some women keep a soaking bucket similar to a diaper pail, but I just kept mine together in a mesh washing bag and washed them with a load of towels every day. We always have a load of towels to wash!

      And, Jennie, you never know. I am in a visiting mood this year. I have decided that I should never put off meeting friends, because we never know when we might not be here any more!

    2. I’ll help you plan your trip by looking up when our calves are due this year. Bottle feeding calves is a favorite job around here and Faith would love it!

    3. You won’t be sorry! I don’t have any particular sewing skills myself – just basic, beginner stuff. So if you wanted to make these yourself, they shouldn’t be too hard at all!

  3. I have a couple that I made for myself and I LOVE them. Yours are much prettier! I used left overs of weird odds and ends I had lying around! lol I think I might treat myself to a little fabric and make up a stack of them. Yours are so pretty! Did I say that already?? lol And yes… I used old torn towels that were not really usable elsewhere for the middles. Great project and great post. You have lucky daughters! ♥

Comments are closed.