Cloth Pads (free patterns!)

by Amanda Hearn · 89 comments

affiliate disclosure

Yesterday I was talking to a friend that was looking for a good cloth pad pattern.  I offered to help, and because I am frugal – I wanted free.  I was browsing the internet for free patterns to make cloth menstrual pads, and while there are some great patterns out there I wasn’t finding quite what I was looking for.  I decided to grab ideas from a few patterns and product that I saw to make my friend a pattern more like what I was looking for.

I woke up yesterday with a headache, so I was just begging for some distraction.  I ended up sewing seventeen pads and making two new patterns.  I thought perhaps some of you might be interested in using it as well, so I’ve uploaded them in PDF form for easy printing.  The patterns include seam allowance, just cut and sew!  I added extra stitching on the pads to keep the fabric from bunching.  Not sure if this is needed, but I also liked the way it looks.

I used flannel for the tops and fleece for the backings because it’s what I had on hand.  You can use PUL or wool backing if you prefer and higher end fabrics like bamboo or hemp for the tops.  If you need a thicker pad, use more layers.  If you just want liners, use less.

I used a snap press to apply the snaps. They are pricey, but can be found in smaller handheld versions for less. If you don’t want plastic snaps, you could always use the affordable metal ones.

(Click to view in browser or right click + save as to download the file directly to your computer.)

Click Here to Download the Regular Day Pad / Liner Pattern (free!)

View this file in Google Docs

 

Click Here to Download the Heavy/Nighttime Pad Pattern (free!)

View this file in Google Docs

Click Here to Purchase the Updated Cloth Pads Pattern Pack
including Postpartum Pattern! for just $5

 

Copyright © Amanda Hearn – TheEcoFriendlyFamily.com
All Rights Reserved. Reproduction is not permitted. Personal use only.
A license to sell products using these patterns may be purchased by emailing me.

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Amanda Hearn

Amanda Hearn

Founder of The Eco-Friendly Family, design geek, serial tanktopist, content creator, mother, coffee addict, & lover of fun. I am also a partner at Green Child Magazine & Put A Cup In It!
Amanda Hearn
Not Blessed Mama June 18, 2011 at 3:58 am

thanks for this! i am just getting ready to make some of my own.

miamihoney July 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Thanks! I have made some but I need to tweak it a bit, I hope this work for me.

Green Grandma August 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm

This is great! I just shared this with the Green Grandma community!

Meala September 19, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this pattern with us! I've got the fabric, all I needed was the pattern. I'll be making these later this week.

Megan May 2, 2012 at 2:14 pm

Thank you! I can’t wait to try this out.

Laura May 29, 2012 at 1:11 am

I just used this pattern and made 15 day/regular and 5 overnights. I am so excited to try these out! Uploaded a picture of them on my blog… just follow the link to my sight. Thanks for posting a great pattern!

Jane July 19, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I would like the pattern for the pads!!!!!!ok So please let me print it off so I can make these for myh 96 yir. old mother….Jane at Jackjbmrc@ligtel.com

Amanda July 22, 2012 at 9:15 pm

I updated the post with links to download the patterns!

Keisha July 22, 2012 at 9:05 pm

please i would love the err pattern to make these pads. i am a new mom and quite frugal these days myself :) ty

Amanda July 22, 2012 at 9:16 pm

I updated the post with links to download the patterns. Somehow my links got messed up, sorry for the inconvenience.

Erikka July 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm

How would you clean these? I am all for eco-friendly items but cleaning these seems like a nightmare.

Amanda July 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Toss them in the wash, let them have a light soak and then wash like any other laundry. Some people wash them separately, with towels, cloth diapers or with any old laundry.

Anonymous July 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

What is the best absorbent material and how many layers do you use? Sorry for the many questions. I am trying to go as natural as possible. I sew but like as many details before getting started.
Thanks.

Amanda August 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Cotton, bamboo or hemp would be great for absorbency. I used cotton flannel from scraps and even old receiving blankets for the ones I made.

Rachel September 13, 2012 at 12:32 pm

A lot of people on the diaper sewing board I belong to say that using Minky on top as a stay dry layer (wicking) is great because Minky doesn’t stain easily and feels nice against the bum. :)

Kathy February 6, 2014 at 8:58 am

What is minky? never heard of it?? I sew a lot but this is new to me

Agnes July 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm

I soak mine with a scoop of oxygen bleach (powder) for a few hours to prevent staining, and then wash them on hot with something else that needs a hot wash.

Rachel September 13, 2012 at 12:30 pm

You can also put a small (bathroom sized) trashcan in the bathroom with a bit of soapy water in it. When you change pads, just put the dirty on in the can to soak until you’re ready to wash.

Mary Connelly July 30, 2015 at 2:27 pm

that’s actually dangerous and makes for a medium for bacterial growth. I’d rinse then toss into a small covered can (what I do if bad, I use a diaper sprayer, also use family cloth)
The new thing is to NOT soak anything, and less to no bleach use. Look on a cloth diaper forum for help here.

Mi August 1, 2015 at 1:53 am

bonjour,
pour les laver, faut seulement le faire à l’eau froide et surtout pas chaude.
Après pour désinfecter, laver au savon et eau 60°C ou machine à laver et
surtout faire sécher à l’air libre au soleil
bye

Jen Leach July 27, 2012 at 5:16 pm

Thank you so much for posting this pattern! My daughter just got back from a mission trip to Haiti, and wanted to make cloth pads to take back to Haiti with her next year. We are going to sew up a bunch of these pads, and work on diaper covers and flats for her to take to the orphanage where our church youth group visited.

Amanda August 17, 2012 at 11:49 pm

That is so amazing, thank you so much for all that you are doing! I hope that the patterns work well for you :)

Rachel September 13, 2012 at 12:27 pm

PUL is great for a waterproof liner but if it’s exposed on the bottom, it’s slippery and shifts a lot. Using fleece on the bottom is definitely a good idea (and it’s water repellant) to keep it from shifting so much. Speaking from experience here.

Mary Connelly July 30, 2015 at 2:29 pm

PUL should face up with fabric side on bottom. I also cover with another fabric like a pretty cotton.

Amanda October 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Can you please explain to me how to cut a vertical line in the bottom layer and turn it inside out? I can’t picture this in my head how it would turn out like yours. Once you sew the soaker layers together you then sew them on top of the backing layer? Thank you so much for your help!

Amanda October 11, 2012 at 11:34 pm

For the soaker pad – if you are turning and top-stitching you’ll sew all of your layers together and rather than leave a hole in the outer edge you’ll just sew it all up. Then on one side of the pad you’ll cut a slit in the center of the pad (maybe 2-3 inches) through at least one layer and then turn the pad inside out. Iron flat (if you like) and then top-stitch it. The portion that was cut will be the bottom of the soaker pad which will be hidden when you attach the backing layer with the wings.

If that doesn’t make sense let me know and I’ll see if I can do a quick video when I get my sewing machine back.

Bekah November 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm

How much seam allowance is included in the pattern? 1/4″? 3/8″?

Amanda November 15, 2012 at 4:48 pm

I sew in approx 1/4″

Katie January 24, 2013 at 1:47 pm

Awesome pattern, I’ve never thought of doing the wings as straight tabs like that – that would bunch less :) Question though, couldn’t tell from your instructions – are you using two layers of fleece for the backing and T&T or serging one layer? Or — I suppose fleece won’t fray in the wash? Or will it with a lot of washing? Thanks :)

Michelle Lee February 2, 2013 at 1:22 pm

This post is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks so much, I can’t wait to get started!

Anonymous February 13, 2013 at 10:43 pm

Great, except what do you do when you’re out and about and need to change your pad? Walk around with a dirty one in your purse?

Anonymous March 8, 2013 at 5:23 pm

You can make a small “wet bag” out of pul to put the dirty pads in.

Victoria May 16, 2014 at 8:57 pm

I fold mine in on itself before I put it in my special bag in my purse. So if you are looking at the dirty pad, I fold the top down (mess on mess), bottom up, and bring the wings around and snap the ‘mess’ shut. Works like a charm!

Lesley March 6, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Going to try this now!!!

Robin April 1, 2013 at 5:38 pm

When I try to download the patterns I only get a blank screen. :(

Amanda April 1, 2013 at 6:19 pm

It may have been an issue with Google Docs, I uploaded them directly to my server. If they won’t work for you from your browser, try right click + save as to download them directly to your computer.

Please let me know if that doesn’t work for you.

Robin Ritter April 2, 2013 at 5:38 pm

I was able to download the overnight but the regular pattern URL still isn’t working. It’s saying it wasn’t found.

Rachel April 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm

Just made 8 of these this afternoon. I’d looked at mama cloth patterns online before and never really saw any I liked. I love these! I used old cloth diaper flats that I was retiring and old fleece liners. Perfect and very comfortable to wear.

Rebecca June 16, 2013 at 2:43 pm

I would love the pattern for this, but opening these patterns made my computer close down. Is there any other options?

shay June 25, 2013 at 5:04 pm

Just made 3 of the day time pads, SUPER EASY (I’m a beginner in the sewing world) can’t wait to make more!

Amanda June 25, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks for sharing :)

Nina Bean June 26, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Just purchased the $5.00 download with postpartum pattern what do I need to do to get the pattern? Will you send it to my email? Let me know, thank you!

Amy St Rose August 23, 2013 at 8:52 pm

Hi ! I bought the $5. pattern download but can’t find it on my computer anywhere. Do you email a special link to buyers??? I sew hundreds and hundreds of little dresses for Africa and Haiti and they are asking for these homemade pads, as well. Thank You for a great idea and pattern!

Danielle September 5, 2013 at 7:45 pm

Hi. Thanks for sharing the pattern. Do you cut the soaker layers a bit bigger or trim the backing layer once you put them together? After I turn the soaking layer inside out the soaker and backing are different sizes because of the seam. What have you find is the easiest way to match them up? I’m not sure If I’m adjusting them to be bigger or smaller than they should be at this stage. Thanks.

Alejandra September 28, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Thanks for sharing this beautiful and simple pattern, it is exactly what I was looking for

Lori October 1, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Thank you for this pattern! I’ve made 1 overnight and I’m about to make several more, this is the best pattern I’ve found yet on-line! The overnight pad could also be called the plus-size pad as it is a good size for us extra curvy women!

Mary December 25, 2013 at 9:48 am

Wow! You are really taleneted! I wish I could sew like this. I pinned this for my friend who is really good at sewing and interested in mama cloth.

Dawn January 21, 2014 at 8:35 pm

Is there a site I can buy these from?

Angela February 16, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Hi :) is it just me or do others find they have to add the seam allowance to the printed pattern. I printed it out as actual size but I find it would be too short and really skinny without adding the 1/4″ seam allowance to the current pattern? Can’t wait to give them a go!! :)

Lesley April 16, 2014 at 8:59 pm

Thank you for the patterns! I tried these and they have been great!!!!

Christine June 7, 2014 at 5:29 am

Can’t afford pads or sewing machine since diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis and have had multiple surgeries leaving me unable to have children of my own and broke… By the time I Dinah paying off one surgery its time for another. Will never use regular pads and products full of dioxins and harmful chemicals! Is there a way to buy these and not pay 10 plus bucks each?

Amanda Hearn June 9, 2014 at 8:10 pm

I’m not familiar with a cheaper pad option. Perhaps you know someone who could lend you a sewing machine? The materials to make these are very inexpensive, and you may even be able to upcycle garments you already own.

Liz April 26, 2015 at 1:36 pm

Christine – if you’re still without a sewing machine, here’s a great video on youtube that shows how to sew cloth pads by hand. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q5__L7makNA&index=27&list=PLqsmpUSgNwNzijTKjeMKDJcQkt_aHpWkw It’s very simple if you have any knowledge of sewing and even if not, it’s a great tutorial. I hope you’re doing better with your illness. God bless.

Stefanie July 25, 2016 at 10:59 am

Hey Christine,

Hi Christine,

I just downloaded this pattern to try. I have experience sewing cloth diapers and cloth pads for my kids and myself, and if you still need pads I’m willing to sew them for you free of charge . I could source materials locally in charity shops – bedsheets, duvet covers, bath towels, flannel pajama’s etc. Snaps for closure I do have. I’m not sure if I can find suitable fleece for backing fabric. Maybe fleece scarves would work but I wouldn’t know how water resistant it was.
Also, I’m in Europe, in the Netherlands. I’m very happy to ask around my family and friends for material and browse around my favorite charity shop. Shipping would be on you, I can find out what the rates are and tell you.
I’m simply offering because I’ve had my share of health problems and I have a sewing machine and time :-)

Let me know if you could use a bunch of ‘upcycled’ pads made from duvet covers, towels, pajama’s and stuff. I could email you pdf’s of the free patterns I have so you could choose.

greetings from the Netherlands,

Stefanie

Robin Barrett September 13, 2016 at 9:47 pm

Christine if your still in need of pads please private message me. It would bee my pleasure to serve you.

Maggie September 9, 2014 at 11:41 pm

if you’re using cotton thread to sew the middle of the pad so the layers don’t bunch you are creating a wick to draw moisture through the layers of fabric.

Raquel Lawson October 14, 2014 at 3:55 pm

Hi Amanda,
My name is Raquel, and I would to be able to print these pattern. Can I please? I tried and it wont let me so I am assuming that I need permission from your end. This is just for personal use :)

Stephanie October 20, 2014 at 9:48 am

I am having the same problem with not being able to print them.

Amanda November 1, 2014 at 3:06 pm

Also having a hard time with printing… I got mine to print, but they seem on the small side scale?

Amanda November 1, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Nevermind! I got it to work… had to actually download it first and open with Adobe. Thanks for the patterns! 😉

great sewing tips December 27, 2014 at 2:49 am

Hi to every body, it’s my first visit of this website; this webpage contains awesome and
genuinely excellent data for readers.

Trish January 7, 2015 at 12:10 pm

What is the seam allowance on these? 5/8th seems like it would take up too much fabric. tkx

Anonymous January 13, 2015 at 4:18 am

Earlier in the comments she said it was 1/4″ =)

Brandi April 9, 2015 at 2:02 pm

So upset, I really wanted to use this pattern to try out, but when I try to print it the paper comes out blank! I’m not sure what is going wrong…

Liz April 26, 2015 at 1:43 pm

Just curious what PDF reader are you using to open the files? I clicked on the links to download to my computer, then opened the file (my PC uses Adobe Reader).

Alina May 2, 2015 at 3:40 pm

Thank you for posting this tutorial! I’ve cut the inserts out of flannel but I’m not sure about the backing. Isn’t fleece to thick for summer? I’ve sewn cloth diapers for my son and fleece was not the best choice for hot weather.
Can I use 2 layers of cotton/ poly cotton for backing?

manacat May 5, 2015 at 10:40 am

I was wondering how these would work as pad for someone that has bladder problems. I have found that the older I get the more I have a leak when I cough or sneeze. Thank you for any help

Amanda Hearn May 25, 2015 at 11:48 pm

Absolutely, they can definitely be used as a liner for something like this.

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Virginia September 24, 2015 at 1:57 pm

This is great. Being a senior, I grew up using cloth pads made from old white cotton diapers which my mom made. She always soaked them in cold salt water, did a rinse or two, than washed them in hot water with another rinse. Of course, in those days having no dyer other than the good old outdoors, they were hung on the clothesline, in the sunshine – they were as white as snow and soft, too!
I cannot print the pattern for the heavy/nighttime pad.

Lisbeth October 19, 2015 at 5:57 am

Thank you for sharing your gold! This is what i need to show the women in Papua New Guinea that they can make for them self! Big need there.

giddygert October 24, 2015 at 12:46 am

There is a site where the lady makes these pads and sends them to girls in countries also receiving dresses. Nor sure but try “Dress a girl around the world”.

Hayley October 25, 2015 at 12:21 am

Is this your etsy listing? Just making sure no one is selling your pattern as their own. https://www.etsy.com/listing/107990017/pdf-cloth-pad-pattern-pack

Suzy November 8, 2015 at 4:59 pm

I have tried several ways to get these patterns…my favorite so far…but I can not get them to print. Please help. I really want to make these pads to donate to less fortunate women.

Tiffany January 20, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Love tgese patterns.

Jane May 2, 2016 at 10:18 pm

I just found this in May, 2016 and would like to try them for bladder leakage pads. Thank you for sharing your pattern and expertise with us! I read the other posts and I found it sad that there were people saying that they were making them for charity, but then a lady who was having health and money problems commented, I believe her name was Christine, said she needed some but has no way to make them. Not one of those, or anyone else offered to make some for her. Someone suggested handsewing some, which I imagine would be very hard with all of the layers. I think we need to remember sometimes that our help doesn’t always have to go to a big charity fund. I hope she found help somewhere.

Robin Barrett September 13, 2016 at 9:42 pm

Jane,
Stafenie replied July 2016 and offered to make them. And she’s in the Netherlands!
As I was reading Christine’s post I was urged to offer to make some for her as well.

Char July 2, 2016 at 10:07 pm

I would like to know what are the snaps used for? If I make some for bladder leaks, will see which side of velcro will stick to my cotton undies! Lol

LadyLeo72 December 1, 2016 at 8:28 pm

I rinse mine in cold water, lay out flat to dry, and wash them with my regular laundry. If they get an odour, I boil them in a pot I keep just for ‘yucky stuff’.

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