Cloth Pad Tutorial

As promised, here is our cloth pad tutorial:) I have taken plenty of photos so you can see exactly how Jen made her cloth pads. It was lovely to work together on this project with my Jen. She drew the designs for this pad herself and is so happy to share her creative process with you:)

Flannel material (we recycled some pyjamas that are no longer worn)
Towelling material for the inner pad
Sewing machine
Metal press studs and gadget to attach the press studs

These are the drawings for the towelling inner pad on the left and the outer flannel pad on the right. Jen drew both of them on an A4 size piece of paper. The left pad is 8 inches from top to bottom and the right pad is 8 and a quarter inches from top to bottom (slightly larger).

This is the pad base diagram, 9 inches from top to bottom and 8 inches from side to side at its widest in the middle.

Cut out cardboard templates for the pads.


Trace around the templates. You need 2 pad bases cut out.

And two of these pads covers cut out in flannel.


Trace and cut out 4 of the smaller towelling pads for the inner pad.


All the pieces cut out.

Sew all the 4 toweling pads together.


Then zig-zag around the edge.

Put the two right sides of the pad bases together and sew all the way around.


Just cut a straight line opening through one side of the pad base and turn onto the right side.


Zig-zag around the outer edge of the outer pad.


Put both of the pad cover pieces right sides together and sew all around the pad cover.

Cut a straight opening on one side of the pad cover.



Turn onto the right side.

Put the towelling inner pad into the pad cover.


Zig-zag all around the pad edge.

Finished pad base with sides and pad. Place the cut pad openings together so that they will not be visible when the pad is finished.

Cut pad openings are placed together and are not visible.

Sew two straight lines either side of the middle of the pad to secure the pad to the holder. The cut openings will also not be visible if you lift the pad on the sides as the pad has been sewn on either side of the middle.
Attach press studs to either side of the side flaps.

(Update, we have found that it’s probably better to sew around the pad edges to secure the pad instead of sewing the two straight lines in the middle of the pad as these lines may cause leakage)

And you are finished!!

Jen and I have spent wonderful mama daughter time together by making this tutorial, having many conversations about the menstrual cycle and all the other changes that are taking place too… I really feel that this is a wonderful way for her to transition into womanhood, slowly and mindfully… Have a lovely day,
xo xo
Linda and Jenna

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


74 Responses to Cloth Pad Tutorial

  1. Elizabeth July 2, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Jen and Linda, thank you so much! We will be making a bunch of these soon.

    Blessings, Elizabeth

  2. JenMun(a) July 2, 2011 at 10:52 pm #

    This isn´t “only” a great tutorial, it is a great idea! thanks so much Jen (!) and Linda!


  3. Baa-Me Kniits July 3, 2011 at 6:56 am #

    Nice and comfortable and breathable too….lovely job Jen and Linda, great tutorial 🙂

  4. The Handmaden July 3, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    Excellent tutorial – thank you ladies!

  5. Lindsey July 6, 2011 at 12:11 am #

    I’ve been thinking about making some of these! I love your tutorial. How do you like them? I started using the Diva cup but I like the reassurance that a pad gives.

  6. Fiona July 6, 2011 at 12:39 pm #

    Hi Linda, lovely tutorial. I’ve been using my homemade cloth pads for a few years now and mine are a little different, I include a layer of thin waterproof fabric inside the top pad, which you cut a little smaller and squish in last through the turning hole, it all seems to hold in place with no scrunching inside. Mine are made of flannelette and no toweling.
    Also I have found that any stitching across the bulk of the pad leads to leaking, you might like to redesign a little if that happens! Once I have the layer of waterproof fabric and no stiching except around the edges I have a very secure pad, and oh so comfy compared to any disposable product.

  7. Fiona July 6, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    PS because I use the thin waterproof fabric rather than toweling my pads are not too bulky …Which is nice … 🙂

    • Shtiya April 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

      Hey Fiona,

      Waterproof fabric is great, but on warm days and in really hot countries with regular pads you get too sweaty,uncomfortable and your skin gets irritated. So I’m wondering, because I’m just looking into this waterproof fabric breath the same way as regular pads?

      • Jennifer Ikelman August 22, 2015 at 9:09 pm #

        What if the waterproof lining just went in the “wings” that snap under the the pad. That gives the “wings a little stability and offer one last li e of protection.

  8. jenna July 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    What a great bonding experience!!

  9. Deanne Stewart-Mills August 18, 2011 at 4:43 am #

    This is such a wonderful idea. I doubt I could use it cos I bleed too heavily. Wonder if my 11yo would like these? Her menstral cycle is very close to starting now.
    Thanks for the excellent step by step tutorial.
    Sydney, Australia

    • Anonymous March 23, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

      Hi Dee, I too am a HEAVY bleeder and if you make these out of washcloths or terrycloth material it works better than any store bought pads.. No cramps from tampons and no stained clothes from leaks, love them!!

  10. charlotte August 26, 2011 at 10:03 am #

    I can not untill I have the time to have a go and make these. I have been thinking of using a moon cup but I prefer this by far. Well done you and Jen. I’ll let you know how I get on!

  11. Bunda henny day's December 28, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    thanks for your tutorial, i love it, if i can save it.

  12. Shtiya April 20, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Girls, I think what you’re doing is great. As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t done this before. What fabric is best used? I’m reading about organic cotton, does it make a difference? Can I just use old cotton and fleece clothes at home to recycle.

    Another thing, Linda and Jenna, I love your style, it seems very convenient and looks similar to regular disposable pads. this is also the first time I see that the pad is stitched on top of the pad base. I was just wondering, why don’t you place velcro on the areas you cut open and have extra pads on the side to change? Wouldn’t that be more convenient?

    • Jane on Whidbey April 20, 2015 at 7:11 am #

      Shtiya, I was thinking the same thing. How great would it be to have a pad with an outside with waterproof lining, and removable pads? I love velcro!

  13. Karrie Rutherford April 26, 2012 at 4:35 am #

    What a well laid out tutorial. Thank You for sharing. @Shtiya what a great idea about the velcro I’m going to try that when I make these 🙂

  14. Anonymous April 26, 2012 at 6:12 am #

    I love this idea! I mean, we use cloth diapers for our babies, so why not use cloth pads too? I don’t know why this hasn’t crossed my mind until I saw this!

    How does the cleaning go? Do they seem to clean each time pretty well? Or do they stay stained?

    I’m prone to YI, so this should be great… allows more breathing room!

  15. Anonymous May 9, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    I’m going to be making some of these soon, and am reading different tutorials and comments to find all the different elements I like best. I love the idea for Velcro, but am wondering how it would hold up… Would a snap near the end of both ends work without causing leakage?

  16. Kreasi dari Bunda May 23, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    the idea is very nice but I want to ask how to wash the stain is difficult and certainly many are left behind

  17. Tobi-Dawne Smith May 25, 2012 at 7:25 am #

    Keep a cold water basin near the toilet. When you take off a soiled pad, soak it in the cold water for several hours, wring it out, then put it in with your other dirty laundry. It helps to pull out the blood so you avoid staining. 🙂

    • suzanne June 5, 2018 at 2:11 am #

      Cold water yes and I used to put salt in the water as well. Leave to soak, rinse well and wash like normal. You never have a pristine cloth again but it will be clean and serviceable for a long time to come. Before commercial sanitary pads came into being cloth was always used for pads. They were called rags. Nothing new really. Just a lovely design to make them up these days.

  18. Anonymous June 19, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    Is there anywhere to get a printable pattern for these?

  19. Jamie August 18, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    I LOVE this idea! I am SUPER sensitive to store bought pads and think this is a great solution. I am going to change it a little and use Velcro for the padding to attach. That way throughout the day all you have to change (hopefully) is the padding. I also like the idea of having a container of water to put them in, in the bathroom. I think it should have a lid and I am going to put some hydrogen peroxide in to help take out the stains (this works wonderful on blood) and to keep it more sanitary. I am going to make tons so I NEVER am without a pad. This is great for food storage too for all of you who do that. Thanks for this wonderful idea!

  20. jlpbowen August 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Pour hydrogen peroxide over used pads, let soak 15-20 minutes & wash with towels. The stain comes out. Love these, thanks for the idea!

  21. Stephanie August 28, 2012 at 5:28 am #

    I just made one tonight using your directions (with some tweaking to fit my needs). What a wonderful tutorial! I am about to have my third baby and am so excited to try these out postpartum. I react terribly to disposable pads and tampons and have been looking for clear directions to make my own. Thank you for sharing your talent!

  22. Caroline Cooper August 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Thank you for this post. I have a daughter who just started her period earlier this year. When I was young, no one told me about the mountain of garbage I would produce in forty years of menstruating. Presently, I use a Diva Cup myself but my daughter finds the idea of even tampons horrifying at this point.

    I want to suggest something “safe” for my daughter but also avoid the mountain of garbage. I really like that you “recycled” old pyjamas for this project. I would like to have your family as neighbors! My girls would never feel “weird” with you as our neighbors. Wouldn’t it be great to have our new young women get together and make their own pads to celebrate their passage into young adulthood?

  23. Monica September 3, 2012 at 3:23 am #

    I have been using cloth pads for five years now. I used flannel, with warm and natural cotton batting for my “core”. I tried terry, but wasn’t thrilled with the absorbency. I’m a very heavy bleeder. I have some AIO like yours, and they are fabulous. For my overnight/crime scene days, I have some that tri fold, and are just smaller than face rags. The easiest, and the ones I have the most of are like your topper, but they have wings just stitched to the bottom. I can slide an extra “booster” in (sides are stitched but the missile part is not) If needed.

    If I had daughters, we would do this together. I have a niece, and will be giving her a few to try when she starts her monthly. If she likes them, I will teach her how to make them.
    BTW, my first ones still work great! I have a large Tupperware bucket with seal and handle. I use tea tree Castile soap ( a squirt or two of the liquid) in the bucket of water by my toilet. Used pads go in to soak until I am done bleeding. Then the entire bucket gets dumped in the wash with towels and other no fabric softener laundry. It all goes through with my normal soap. I have very few stains. The stained ones are from a camping trip without my bucket.

    Great post!

  24. Anastasia September 7, 2012 at 10:17 pm #

    Thanks for this tutorial! It looks so easy. I’m going to try it. Can’t wait to have some pads in my favorite colors.

  25. Marla B. September 12, 2012 at 4:27 am #

    Nice tutorial. I have wondered what I would use in case of emergencies. It is a good way to use old torn towels. I am sure it is more comfortable than the sticky taped disposables. Thanks for sharing

  26. Jen Ikelman November 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm #

    This is a wonderful idea. I will make a few and try them out at home before I wear them out and about. What a great way to save some money while saving the planet.

  27. Christina December 13, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    Thanks for tutorial. I will definitely be making some of these for myself and my daughters.

  28. Cindy A December 24, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    Thank you for the wonderful tutorial . I made these using PUL fabric for myself and my daughter . It is comfortable and no leaks ! You see Iam menopausal and have slight urine leakage only once in a while and this pad gives me the security I need to stay active . My daughter has very heavy periods and swears these pads have eased here cramps and she has lighter periods. The store bought pads contain some kind of absorptive chemical that can leach thru the skin . I am glad we can save money while helping the planet and ourselves . Thanks for sharing with us !

  29. Dena January 3, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    So far best tutorial ive found on how to make them I’ve even bought a pattern of etsy and it wasn’t as nice as this one 🙂 I’m going to start seeing a few 2morrow I’m going to just add PUL since I’m bleed so havey(like change overnite disposable every 30 min to an hour I even sometimes have to use the Always Super overnite -purple- they like postpartum pads kinda on reg. days) hope they work…

  30. February 28, 2013 at 4:11 am #

    For the ladies with heavy periods I make mine with pul. I get it from You can get cotton or polyester pul there. I don’t have heavy periods any more because I don’t use disposables any more I also don’t have cramps and I don’t have to wear diapers yes I had to wear a diaper every time I had my period. They are easy to clean I run peroxide on them and a little soap ivory bar soap works ok. Then I soak them in a bucket of cold water in my linen closet. I got my bucket at the dollar store and a dish tub that is supposed to go in the sink as a cover. I empty the water every other day and refill with cold water. At the end of my period I run them in the washer on cold with half the soap I normally use and do a second rinse with vinegar I don’t need softener that way it also takes care of static and any soap residue then I put in the dryer I have to dry them a little longer then most because mine have hemp in them and bamboo on them. Bamboo velor against your female parts feels wonderful compared to paper and plastic and glue on a disposable.

  31. Terra Lynn Jenkins April 12, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Just wondering. Why do you cut the two parts in the middle? What does it do for you?

    • Linda April 12, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

      The two pieces are cut in the middle so that you can turn them inside out when you are finished.

  32. Kyla June 3, 2013 at 6:32 am #

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been looking into cloth pads for a while and wanted to make one first to try it out. I used my current brand of disposable pad as a template, a scrap microfibre towel for the absorbant pads and an old flannel recieving blanket. It turned out pretty good but I ended up putting the finished top pad inside the base as my sewing machine would not go through all the layers of fabric. I also had difficulty sewing the absorbant towel pieces together so they didn’t turn out as nice as yours. Must be my old sewing machine lol! I haven’t tried it yet but I’m hoping it works great. Thanks again for the easy to follow guide.

  33. Elise June 5, 2013 at 11:34 pm #

    Fabulous pattern, I’ve seen numerous patterns online, but LOVED the simplicity of this one. Sacrificed an old hand towel and pair of pajama bottoms that no longer fit to make 3 of these.
    I use a Diva Cup during the day, and I hated using disposable pads at night due to the waste and the yucky plastic backing blocking airflow. These are much more comfortable! I am hoping that there aren’t any leaks (so far, so good).

  34. Katie September 8, 2013 at 1:08 am #

    I am expecting my first child, and I know I will be needing more then a few of these. The pattern was easy and great, but I did make some changes. I used birds eye fabric along with some some cotton batting I had laying around from making burp cloths and a the blanket for my crib for the inside or toweling part. I also used an old jursy knit t shirt I had laying around for the outside as I knew it would be cooler. One thing to keep in mind, it is a simple pattern and no one will being seeing how “wonderful” of a seamstress we are are ( joke), but do allow for seem width or allowance as they can get small quickly. And thank for your handy work on this sight. Great job and thank you.

  35. Kara November 12, 2013 at 1:24 am #

    This may be a silly question but why do you need to cut a slit in them? Does any towel work? Have you notice any changes in your cycle for the better since using these?

  36. Marjorie May 6, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

    I was think one incontinence issues that is why I am looking to making these, I buy a lot of pads and throw a lot out, this is good pattern we can also custom make these pads bigger or smaller, I was thinking a using a lite weight soft water resistant fabric on bottom layer TY TY TY for this

    • Jaylin April 7, 2015 at 1:57 am #

      PUL, is a good water resistant fabric that are commonly used!

  37. Mrs.Nix June 19, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

    THANK YOU!!! I am new to this, but I knew I could make some for less than the prices online for the manufactured ones. This pattern is perfect for what I want to use, and my daughter is learning to sew and at an age where we are preparing for her own feminine hygiene needs. This is perfect, and I thank you.

  38. Ronda August 1, 2014 at 3:21 am #

    I want to try this…..l don’t have a snap tool, would Velcro work?

    • Linda August 1, 2014 at 11:32 am #

      Hi Ronda, velcro could be a little uncomfortable.

    • Jaylin April 7, 2015 at 1:31 am #

      Velcro wont always be unfomfortable, as long as it is small and away from the outside of the wings. If you don’t have a snap tool you can buy snap buttons that you sew on. These snap buttons have gaps on the outsides which tou would hand sew around a cupple of times to attach it.

  39. Susan LeMay August 24, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    I saw a video about a 99 year old woman who makes a dress a day for African girls. I visited the website Little Dresses For Africa and saw that they need Sani-pads for young women so they can continue to go to school when they have their period. They don’t have stores to buy pads, and are made fun of if they get blood spots on their clothes, so most girls stay home from school when they get their period. I plan to make some using your pattern for this:

    Your pattern is the nicest looking one I’ve found! Thank you for the instructions!

  40. Donna Castillias August 31, 2014 at 5:42 am #

    I have used a version of this for about a year now. Since I am 57 years old it was for more of a incontinence issue. My question is, mine( both liner type and longer pad type) shift alot, how can I deal with this issue. I love using them but the shifting has got me going crazy. Should I put a snap on front and back also to snap to panty that I will put the other side of snap to?
    Also, to the reader who asked about using velcro, not a good idea as it is very uncomfortable down there. Snaps are way better, you dont even feel it. Love your tutorial. Do you have just a written printable one?

    • Susan R May 1, 2015 at 3:43 am #

      Use velour fabric (at least 70% cotton, think old track suits) on the bottom, the friction caused between the velour and your panties helps to keep them from shifting as much.

  41. Enid September 25, 2014 at 9:25 am #

    Hi, this pattern is beautiful and one of the best constructed I have seen. I have posted a link to this pattern on our intentional community meetup forum:
    We are trying to get people together to build an off-grid intentional community in Ontario, and this is fantastic information for the ladies.


    • Linda October 1, 2014 at 9:31 am #

      Hi Enid,
      Thanks so much and you are welcome:)

  42. Kristafee October 17, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

    Ok this is such a great tutorial and these look easy to make. Not to make changes to your design, but perhaps food for thought and maybe you or a subscriber has done this. I see you put snaps on the sides to hold the pad to the undies. Have you thought of adding snaps to the absorption pad itself so that those can be changed out and washed rather than the entire piece (unless one has a very heavy flow of course.) I’m just wondering if its possible so that more material could be used for the inner pads.

  43. Jaylin April 7, 2015 at 1:54 am #

    These are awesome for both us and our environment, are these thin or very thick and seen easily through yoga pants?

  44. Valarie August 1, 2015 at 8:51 pm #

    Since you live in South Africa do you think many rural South African and rural African women would benefit from this? I think this will change things for many girls and women who can not go to school because of their periods.

  45. Myrna October 5, 2015 at 8:10 am #

    Thank you so much for coming up with this homemade pad for our young girls.
    I have wondered what we could come up with for my grand daughters. This is just
    the trick to make life off the grid a lot better…I will start right away on sewing them
    up. Thank you so very much.

  46. Angela November 1, 2015 at 5:35 pm #

    Hi Linda, how effective is this pad? Because I’m a HEAVY bleeder and I wanna know if this pad’s design is effective before I make one 🙂

  47. Amber Delorme November 28, 2015 at 2:48 am #

    I am so Glad that I had come across this free “How to make a Cloth-Pad Tutorial” I cannot wait to try and make my very 1st cloth-pad..I have finally gotten all of the items that is needed in order to sew a cloth-pad..Hopefully my finished pad will look somewhat like how your does in the above photo..I’ll be needing to make my own stash, then onto making a stash for my oldest daughter, then onto making a cloth-pad stash for her 2 younger sisters..So again I am very grateful that you have made this tutorial and you have taken some really great photos of the process along the way..

  48. SD JoJo January 22, 2016 at 12:02 am #

    I just made my first menstrual cloth pad using your tutorial! I can’t believe how excited I am about it… I’m not even cycling, but I’m wearing it just to see how it fits. Honestly, the wings are too big for me, but I love that all I have to do is cut the cardboard base pad to fit my needs for future cloth pads. I think I’ll take it from a 8″ to 7″ width to begin.
    Also, I used items I already had around the house that would have become garbage. My husband and I bought new flannel sheets and they came with a “holder” and that was turned into the base pad and pad covers. The “holder” also had a velcro strip on it and I used that instead of going and buying snaps and the gadget to attach them. I can’t feel the velcro but I’m curious about how it will hold and feel after a few washes. Finally, for the inner toweling I used part of an old towel.
    This tutorial was so easy to follow. Thank you so much. I am seriously considering holding a workshop where I can share this knowledge.

  49. Melissa May 7, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

    thank you so much Jen and Linda for the ideas…this encourages me to make this reusable napkin for it can help us in our daily need and the ministry that we have, but first, i need a durable sewing machine. Hopefully i can have one…God bless you all!

  50. Monica October 31, 2016 at 2:13 am #

    Thank you Linda for your tutorial it’s very easy to follow, made mine(just tweaked a little) to ship out for a girl internationally thru the Christmas Shoebox, you inspired me so thank you for what you’re doing 😍

  51. Mary Ann Anderson May 22, 2017 at 2:34 am #

    Linda and Jenn, thank you for this tutorial.I plan on making some this week. I will be making theses too goo in Operation Christmas Child boxes for 10-14 girls.

    Since I will be making these for girls. Should I decrease the width of the wings.
    Also I have some PUL I would like to use . Do you think making the base out of the PUL would make it too hot? I probably could decrease the pad to 2 layers of toweling ? . Very excited !!
    I am post menopausal. But I might make a thin one for urine leaks for me.

    • Linda May 22, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

      Hi Mary,
      Thank you for your message.
      What a wonderful gesture.
      I think the wings should be fine, I’m not sure about the pul, we used toweling and cotton.
      Happy stitching 🙂

  52. Leta smith June 14, 2017 at 6:15 pm #

    What keeps them from leaking onto your clothes?

    • Linda June 17, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

      Hi Leta,
      If you have quit a few layers of fabric it shouldn’t leak but if your periods are a little heavy you can add a layer of waterproof material amongst the layers of fabric.

  53. A J Walker June 13, 2018 at 4:34 am #

    Very user friendly pattern. I especially like the sewing, sliting, turning, stuffing technique…very time saving with a nice smooth finished edge 👍. We are sending enough for 25 girls with our missionary to an orphanage in Kenya. May you be blessed for your contribution to the future of these young lives 😊 tried to add a picture 🙁 no luck…

    • Linda October 4, 2018 at 8:34 am #

      You’re welcome and thanks so much 🙂

  54. Rosemary December 7, 2018 at 9:32 pm #

    Would you make any adaptations to these if I wanted to use them as incontinence pads?


  1. crunchier every day « Love from the Project Room - February 15, 2013

    […] Naturally, there are tons of sites out there that provide tutorials to make your own (I like this one). And, as with diapers, if you type in “cloth pads” inside the Etsy search bar, […]

  2. Moon Cycles and Female Body Awareness «not your average vagabond not your average vagabond - March 3, 2013

    […] amount of absorbancy and type of fit you want.  The site I used to construct one of mine was  It has detailed pictures to show each step.  I made some adjustments to the design, such as […]

  3. Moon Cycles and Female Body Awareness «not your average vagabond not your average vagabond - March 3, 2013

    […] amount of absorbancy and type of fit you want.  The site I used to construct one of mine was  It has detailed pictures to show each step.  I made some adjustments to the design, such as […]

  4. Make your own pad in 5 easy steps | Momma Mentor - November 24, 2015

    […] I have been working on some super cute, comfy, snuggly cloth pads using some ideas from different patterns, especially this one from […]

  5. Tutos SHL/PS (serviettes hygiéniques lavables/protèges slip) | Nanouch - March 7, 2016

    […] – […]

  6. Healthy Household: Precocious Puberty, Menstruation and Garbage - November 15, 2016

    […] blood meal when you have menstruating women in the household? For people who like to sew, here is a Cloth Pad Tutorial. I was so impressed that they recycled old pajamas for the rags. I would love to have these people […]

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes

Hit Counter provided by Los Angeles SEO Company