Making Your Own Reusable Cloth Pads

Finished and folded cloth padIf you didn’t see my post on why I love using cloth pads – check it out here.

If you want to try your hand at making your own, read on.  It’s really not terribly hard and I was able to sit down and whip up a month’s worth in one day.


The amounts needed are fairly subjective depending on how many you want to make.  You can make a few with 1/4 yards of fabric or quite a lot with 1 yard of fabric each.  You will need more batting per pad than fabric.

Natural Quilt Batting (I like the Warm & Natural brand)

Black 100 % Cotton Fabric

Flannel Fabric (in a fun print, of course!)

-Flannel helps to keep the pad from sliding when worn against your underwear.

Snap setting kit

Serger or sewing machine with zig-zag stitch setting

Black thread


-Print out my patterns for the outer fabric layers and inner batting layers.  Print them at the 8×11 paper size for the true pattern size.  Pattern Cloth Pads 1

– *Tip* Before cutting them out, cover front and back of layers with packaging tape to help strengthen your patterns for tracing.

-Trace the big pattern onto both your black cotton and flannel and cut them out.Tracing onto fabric

-Trace the smaller pattern onto the quilt batting in a tessellating pattern.  I found it was easiest to use a marker to trace on the batting.  Cut out.

Quilt batting for pads
See the pins? I folded the batting to create 2 layers so I could cut more out in less time. I pinned the layers to keep them from shifting.

-Each pad consists of these layers:

-1 Flannel layer for the outside bottom

-3 Quilt batting layers

-2 Cotton layers – one will be inside and the other will be the outside top.

Cloth pads
The quilt batting is stacked but there are 3 there. I also had left over white cotton from my original attempt so I used that for my other cotton layer instead of 2 black ones.

-Layer each pad with the flannel (right side facing down) followed by the quilt batting and then the two cotton layers on the top.

Making cloth pads
Make sure your flannel is right side down!

-Pin all four sides to keep all your layers from shifting!

-Serge (or zig-zag stitch) around the top of the pad starting at the left wing around over the top to the edge of the right wing. Cloth Pads-8747

-Rotate the piece around and do the exact same stitching on the bottom curve.  *The hardest part of the whole process is serging the inner curves.  The stitching tends to want to come away from the inner curved edge if you don’t swing it around close enough.  It took me several times to get the hang of it.*

-Finally, serge the ends of both wings to finish it off.Cloth Pads

-Using your sewing machine, topstitch through all the layers to help prevent leaks and keep everything in place.  I just lightly sketched an oval with a white tracing pencil and then stitched over it.Cloth Pads-8776

-Add snaps – making sure to carefully place them so that they attach properly when worn.Cloth pads with snaps

This tutorial is based on the one at  Jan Andrea has much more technical images on her tutorial than I have here if you need a better idea of what a tessellating pattern looks like, etc.  I originally made my first pads using her patterns but I found them to be a bit too small to fit easily and so I came up with a slightly bigger pattern.  I credit Jan with the original know-how for this tutorial!

Cloth pads

  1. I use the same pattern almost. I make one end longer and I have a snap machine and I use cotton towels that I get at the second hand store. Our local second hand store has half price on Monday and Tuesday some times they are in big bags but most of the time they are just single towels half price makes them about a dollar apiece. The store washes every thing before they put it on the shelves which is great but I still wash them when I get them home because sometimes they fall on the floor or worse, better to be saf., I wash with my homemade soap so I don’t have softeners that will make them less absorbent, in the rinse water I use a cup of vinegar instead of a commercial softener works great and no left over smells. I use polyurethan (PUL) on the bottom and it is cotton PUL you can get it in polyester as well I have bought that and use it for cloth diapers and a double needle works great to make ones that you don’t have to turn inside out and top stitch if you dont want to the bobbin thread makes it look like it was serged. I do make mine serged now because My Wonderful Husband bought a serger for me about two years ago but when I made my first ones I just used the double needle. When you serge them you have to remember to pull the curve straight and you are so right it is a pain to see all those loose stitches. I make three kinds one is with flannel the other is minky and the last is bamboo and I buy all of it from the owner is Sheila and she is great to work with.

    1. I’ve had great luck using the pads with the cotton quilt batting. The padding doesn’t seem to have come apart at all and is working well. However, I was very interested to read the article in your link and I think I’d like to try making some with terry cloth as the middle layers. I’m intrigued! It seems like that could be a fantastic material to use too!

    1. You can try using a close zig-zag stitch on your sewing machine. You can also try adding a 1/4″ seam allowance to the pattern and layering them a little differently: inside cotton layer, 3 quilt batting layers, outer cotton layer and the flannel outer layer (right side IN). Sew around the edges with a 1/4″ seam leaving a small opening at one end. Flip right side in, sew the opening closed and press.

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