Generally speaking, I'm not much for causes. But this one speaks to me. It's functional, I understand it, I do it myself, and I'm all for it. I volunteer for it. And it makes me happy. Days for Girls - check it out. Ask them, ask me, get involved if you can. Today, I helped my local chapter assemble 60 kits to send to Uganda in May. Hurrah!
Brace yourselves for TMI. However as most [eleven] of my [twelve] followers are my close friends, you already realize that TMI comes with the territory.
I make and use my own cloth menstrual pads. They're heavenly. Most of you think they're gross, but I assure you, they're not. I have been cloth diapering for four years, and using cloth toilet paper since June. So this wasn't a very big leap.
After the birth of my second child, I was unable to use tampons. Massive discomfort. I tried a menstrual cup, but with the same problem. I hate disposable pads. HATE. HATE. HATE. So I figured I had nothing to lose in trying cloth pads, especially since I had everything I needed in the house (yay for free and a project). And I am so very glad I did.
I searched the internet for patterns. I found the Days for Girls patterns here. I didn't find any one that was perfect for me - but this one was my favorite. I changed it to suit me - a bonus of making your own.... I also made myself some larger "night-time" pads. Whether making regular or overnight, I use terry cloth - old towels - for the absorbent part, and flannel or fleece for the outer layers. For my first ones, I didn't bother using a waterproof material for the backing, because I wanted to make sure I liked them, and I didn't have any on hand. Fleece has turned out to be my favorite material for the portion touching my skin. It wicks away moisture and is so soft! And I've found that except for the heaviest days, I don't need the waterproof backing. I put it on my overnights, just in case, and on a bunch of daytime ones in case I'm running errands and can't change as often as I'd like.
1. Print two copies of the pattern. Cut one along the outer edge and the other along the inner zig-zag edge. (If you print out the pattern from the above link, it comes out to size, about 9" long. I don't know how to do that, but from top to bottom, the overnight pad should be 10.125" and 8.5" from wing to wing.)
2. Using the outer pattern, cut two layers of flannel, fleece, etc. for your outer layers. *Note: if you want a waterproof back, cut one layer from PUL and one of fleece or flannel.
3. Using the inner pattern, cut as many layers of absorbency as you like out of terry cloth, microfiber, or cotton batting. I use three layers and like it - not too thick, but does the job.
5. Put your back layer down with the right side facing you (if you're going for waterproof, this is your PUL layer, and the shiny side is the "wrong" side). Place your top and absorbent layers on top, right sides together, and pin. Sew with a straight stitch, leaving a 3-4 inch gap to turn. *Note: It's easiest to leave the gap on a straight-ish part of the pad if you're using PUL. If I'm not using PUL, I leave my gap on the rounded bottom edge. Do whatever is easiest for you.
6. Turn right side out. Use a chopstick to fully round your edges and get the wings out all the way.
7. Top stitch all around the pad, and close your turning gap. I like to zig-zag over the gap, just to make sure it's caught, and prefer a straight stitch around the rest.
That's it! Easy as pie. It's like a cloud for your vagina.
When you're out and about, you can put spare and soiled pads in a Planet Wise mini wet/dry bag (mine is Chic Petunia). At home, put soiled pads in a lidded stock pot covered with an inch or two of water, and wash as needed. I've had no staining whatsoever, and the pot is hidden behind the shower curtain. They don't smell, they're super comfy, and I recommend them to anyone with girl parts and a washing machine.
And now, for you recipe gluttons who don't go for this tutorial, here's something fitting for my hippy ways:
Preheat oven to 300o.
- 7 cups rolled oats
- 1 ½ cups walnuts
- 1 ½ cups almonds
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 1 ½ cups sesame seeds
- 1 ½ cups sunflower seeds
- 1 cup melted butter
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
*You can play around with the body of your granola; don’t add sesame or sunflower seeds, add pecans. Do whatever you like!*