Make reusable period and bladder leak products at home and ditch the single use scourge.
Ok, it’s a super cringy subject for some people, but let’s face it, life is full of uncomfortable truths. Most female bodies menstruate, and as aging sets in (coupled with the childbirth experience), bladder leaks become an issue. There is a need for products to protect us in public from sudden leaks that can happen at any moment. Sneezing, anyone?
Period products, and disposable underwear are both expensive on the wallet and the environment. Disposable products are stressing our natural environment because they contain synthetic fibers and plastic packaging that is not quick to decompose. The plastic of a tampon applicator can last for generations! And if we are talking about the average use of 11,000 tampons in a lifetime, that’s a lot of potential beach trash for our grandkids.
A couple years ago I began my journey to a more sustainable period and cut off the single use products. I saved money and discovered that it isn’t as gross as I thought it would be. My journey began with a Diva cup and continued with period proof underwear that I bought; eventually I made my own. I recently decided to give cloth pads a try, and I have found them to be more convenient than the other options I’ve tried. The pattern is easy, and I was able to make 4 with just a $2.99 yard of flannel fabric. Each one took less than 15 minutes to stitch together. There are a lot of free patterns online; click here for the pattern that I used.
Begin by choosing the fabric – flannel works best, but make sure it is 100% cotton. One of the reasons I do not like my store-bought period underwear is because synthetic materials cause them to stink, and are sweaty. Wash the fabric (and padding) in a hot wash and dry on high. This will shrink up the fabric and prevent twisting later. Cut 2 of the pad, 2 of the base and one of the absorbing layer.
Fold one piece of the base layer in half and make a cut in the middle. This cut will be used to turn the base layer right side out. Pin the base layers together, right sides facing, and sew the perimeter using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Slash the curves without cutting the stitching and turn right side out. Press well with steam.
Fold one piece of the absorbing layer flannel in half and make a cut in the middle. Make a sandwich with the absorbing layers. The chamois, towel or stacked flannel pieces will be on the bottom. The two absorbing pieces of flannel on top of the chamois. Make sure the piece with the cut in the middle is on the very top, so the piece can be turned. Pin the pieces together and sew the perimeter using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Turn right side out and press well using steam.
Pin the absorbing layer to the base layer with the cuts facing. Sew around the absorbing layer with a straight stitch. I added another layer of stitching to “direct the flow of traffic” in the absorbing layer.
Sew a small piece of hook and loop tape to one wing with the absorbing layer facing up. Sew another piece to the other wing, with the absorbing layer facing down.
That’s it! Rinse after use and/or soak in a bucket until washing.