Homemade Sanitary Pads

Category Reusing
Using reusable cloth menstrual pads instead of disposable ones is better for the environment and your pocketbook. This is a page about homemade sanitary pads.


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I'm looking for help in obtaining pattern/patterns for cloth sanitary napkins/pads. My group and I will be submitting the pads to different organizations that need help for girls in Africa.

We are nurses and social workers who are novice sewers, returning to the craft to help others!
We have been to donatepads, but some of the group say we need to find something simpler. Please advise! We appreciate your help!

By Cheryl E. Dimery,LPN from Fayetteville, NC


October 8, 20101 found this helpful
Best Answer

Homemade pads don't need to be too complicated. Keep them simple. An easy way is to take a facecloth, fold it into a long rectangle about 3" wide. You get about 4 layers out of a washcloth, then stitch edges on a sewing machine. Use scrap material (old tee shirts, towels, or old flannel pajamas work well) and experiment with folding layers into the appropriate rectangle shape., then sew into a rectangle.


These pads can be safety-pinned into your undergarment.

For a very heavy flow the commercial disposable pads are better (days 1-3 of your cycle). Homemade pads work better for a lighter flow. I made some that weren't too thick to be used as mini pads. These didn't irritate my skin the way the paper pads did.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

October 8, 2010

How do you make cloth sanitary napkins? I've seen them on the internet. I can't afford to buy the ones online, but think I could make my own.

Jan from Atlanta, GA


Homemade Sanitary Pads

Here is a very good tutorial if anyone still needs it:

craftster.org (03/04/2009)


By Becca25

Homemade Sanitary Pads

Here are a few links, both are great!


manymoonsalternatives.com (03/05/2009)

By Lisa

Homemade Sanitary Pads

Prewash and pre-shrink all fabric before sewing! (03/05/2009)

By Holly

Homemade Sanitary Pads

Artful folding can get you by without sewing, it worked for our great-great-great grandmothers. (03/05/2009)

By Kim Churchman

Homemade Sanitary Pads

Hillbilly Housewife has a good article on making your own pads.

hillbillyhousewife.com (03/07/2009)

By Kathy Gillmore

Homemade Sanitary Pads

Although I am beyond having a period in age, I do have incontinence and do so very much appreciate the ideas. I will also quilt the layers together because I have found them to be more absorbent for a liquid than the plain unquilted pads. I have in emergencies used old face cloths folded three times, which work fine, but it may not work for all women's fit. Good luck and God bless. : ) (03/08/2009)


By lynda

Homemade Sanitary Pads

If you fold without sewing they will wash cleaner. (03/14/2009)

By Kim Churchman

Homemade Sanitary Pads

When I was newly widowed around 20 years ago, without means and living alone, I simply got the wash cloths and folded them to a narrow strip, and when they were dirty, rinsed them thoroughly then threw them in a small bucket of hydrogen peroxide for a while before washing them. The HP eats the proteins and everything else washes away. This worked for while I was at home, I didn't try it out and about. (07/18/2009)

By Cornelia

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March 4, 2009

Does anyone make their own sanitary pads? I need to know what to use and measurements. If someone could help me I would greatly appreciate it.

Jenn from PA


Homemade Sanitary Pads

They can be very comfortable made from 100% cotton flannel. I used a safety pin to fasten rather than snaps to save sewing time and effort! If you change them often, they don't leak through, or you can buy a waterproof fabric or polyester polar fleece to use as the bottom layer. (08/22/2005)

By Betsy

Homemade Sanitary Pads

I make my own pads.

  • At the store find the brand that is the most comfortable fit, and the ideal size for you. Use that as the pattern/template.
  • Get some hand or bath towels and just literally draw round the pad onto the toweling and cut out (1 oblong shape).
  • Then cut out either one more or two more pieces exactly the same way depending on the thickness that you require.
  • Next get some waterproof material like a shower curtain (I personally buy cheap vinyl waterproof table cloths) and cut a piece from that the same shape.

  • Sew all pieces together around the edges. I either machine sew, (zigzag) or blanket stitch around the edge to prevent fraying.
  • Sew some little stretchy hair bands at each short end, and you can then use them with a sanitary belt.
It saves a fortune, and you can wash them with your usual washing in a machine. They last for ages! I did some about 5 years ago, and I've still got them. Mine are basic plain colors at the moment, but I'm going to do some stripey ones and patchwork ones, and put some embroidery on others. They are totally more comfortable that shop ones because they are natural fibers and they don't irritate. I really recommend doing it. Have fun and good luck. (09/23/2006)

By Jane

Homemade Sanitary Pads

I can tell you how I sewed mine simply and maybe it can help. I purchased a package (1 dozen) Gerber pre-folded diapers at the store, then I checked the remnants basket in the material section and bought 2 yards of pretty pink flannel material. For heavy days, I purchased 1/2 yard of POLY flannelet (for the backing). Now, not only is this cheaper in the long run, but it was easy to cut and put together at home.

Lay the diaper out flat. Place a disposable pad of your most comfortable size in the top center to use as you pattern. One end of the pad will be at the center edge, with extra at bottom and the thin section of the diaper that goes around the baby to be pinned will be on the edge. Leave about a 1/2 inch wide x 1 1/25 inch long oval at center of each side of pad if you prefer wings.

If you are using a pattern material, make sure before you sew it that you turn it inward first so when you turn it inside out your pattern shows. Next (if using wings, fold them in first) lay your diaper cut out on top of your flannel cut out and sew around the edges leaving one end open. Turn the pad inside out through the opening and then sew that end shut, and make a small stitch where your wings are to keep them snug.

Sew a piece of soft baby Velcro to the wings and you are done. You can get 1 maxi pad and one liner from each diaper giving you 12 pads and 12 liners or if you need extra absorbency, use the end piece as an extra layer for your regular pad. If you change your pad when needed, you should not have the use for any sweaty plastic liner. Cloth baby diapers come in some pretty pastel colors at some of the fancy baby stores, but you will pay a little more for them.

I bought mine for $12.00 basic white. I wash these in cold water after rinsing them well and dry them in the dryer and they have never failed me. Good luck. Sorry I don't have an image.


By Susan

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