Welcome back to part two of this pad making tutorial. We will get into the sewing and the closures and then you will be able to give this a try!
If you look closely at the picture above you will find each pad a bit different from the other. Let's look at the lavender pads first starting on the left. You can click the pic to see it larger and closer. In the first pad you will notice the edges are pinked. I thought this would be quick to just sew wrong sides together on the stitching line and pink the edge and be done with it. I then did a zigzag on the edges as well. It's a bit rough but made it through the wash OK. I did not like the look. Lavender pad number 2 from the left has the separate pad on top and is double stitched all around. The pad is double stitched as well. It had the Warm and Natural in the pad. All of this made a very nice pad but a little more bulk than needed. The all pink pad in the center has pinked edges and one line of stitching. There are several channels stitched into the pad to attach it to the base. Lavender pad second from the right is double topstitched and the pad is triple zigzagged to the base. The first pad on the right is one line of topstitching and the same as it's neighbor on the left. The difference with the purple pads is that one is triple zigzagged for topstitching. I didn't like that. The following construction has the features I liked best from all the experiments above. It is what I felt gave the smoothest finish on the pad to go against the body with the least amount of bulk and effort. Let's Sew!
We'll make the Base first. If you look at Pad#1 again---it is overkill and took too much time. I found 90 % of the instructions out there have you sew the Base right sides together leaving a section of the seam open to turn the Base. Then you stitch the Base closed. You do the same with the Pad and stitch it on top. Too much time. Also, all that extra row of topstitching adds bulk. My goal was to make this easy and quick so steps have been changed and/or eliminated. You have lots of leeway in making your own so again, do what feels right for you and experiment.
Place your two Base pieces right sides together. With all the curves on this critter, I found it wise to use a few pins to secure the pieces from stretching. Stitch your Base pieces together right on the stitching line you drew from your template. This is where those big awkward seam allowances come in handy. Hold on to them and STITCH ALL AROUND THE BASE. Give it a press. Trim the edges down with your pinking shears or scissors to a little over an eighth of an inch. Give one or two clips into the inside curves as well. Be careful snipping there. Now, grabbing your center of the base, separate the two sections from each other. Pull them apart in the middle. Pinch the center of one side and fold the Base there. Give it a little clip vertically. Be careful to ONLY CUT ONE SIDE. Lay it down and go into your little slit with your scissors and cut about a 4 inch slit down the center of the Base and use this to turn the base right side out. This slit has to be small enough to hide under the Pad.
Stick your fingers in the turned Base and push out the edges. I find rolling them helps. Press them nice and flat. Your Pad will cover the slit nicely if you kept it centered. Once neatly pressed you will return to the machine and topstitch once around the base between an eighth and a quarter of an inch from the edge, just one row. Press again.
Take your Pad sections, two layers plus a PUL layer at the bottom if you are using it, and center them on the Base. Your really need the three pins as this will want to shift, even with a walking foot. You will sew the channels first on the Pads to secure it down and give it body.
The way this pad is sewn to the base became my favorite. It makes a totally smooth transition on the edge and feels very comfortable with no sense of feeling an edge of any kind. The cross channeling helps it hold up in the wash as well. Stitch your channels with a basic straight stitch. I draw the cross on with a Frixion pen. I do the straight channels half an inch from the edge. I sew them first and the cross last. Then I go around the Pad with a triple zigzag 5.5 wide and .7 long. Once that is done on all your pads, give them a press, clean up any stray threads and get ready for the closure.
I have chosen to close my pads with Kam Snaps. I did a review of this product two posts back but you can click here to see it again. There are many ways to close your pad. You can use snaps. They will require machine or hand sewing them on. You can use little flat buttons, also requireing more sewing. One tutorial I saw suggested safety pins but the thought of that gave me the shivers and that was totally out. The Kam Snaps require buying the tool and snaps, about 20.00 on Amazon with loads of snaps, and it is easy to use.
Your KamSnap kit will come with a sharp awl as you see above. Turn your pad, outside facing up. Overlap your two wings and about a half inch or so in push your awl through the two wings completely. Be careful not to go through the pad itself. I then rub the awl back and forth to make a big hole. Take it out.
Install the snaps per the directions remembering there are male and female snaps and that you are overlapping. If you did it right, looking at the bottom of the pad, it should look like this above to function. That is a female stud on the right. Here is what it looks like on the right side, the side that touches your body. That shows a male stud on the left.
Those wings wrap around the crotch and then snap. I have found that I do not feel them AT ALL. Once installed the snaps are quite thin. I have also found that the pad does not move around. This may be a feature of the flannel being more grabby. I don't know.
It you put your snaps in wrong, no problem. I did two wrong. You just cover them with a piece of fabric and give them a bang with a hammer. They will fall apart and you can pick them right off and try again, in the same whole, an advantage over metal type snaps installed the same way. Other than that, they are really in your pad or garment tightly. They are going nowhere!
If you are looking for really deep info on all the options available for fabric in making your own pads, including heavy period pads, as well as other insights and links, here is one link I have found the most informative: Cloth Pads 101. I thank Danielle for all the knowledge she has shared. Let me know how your journey goes and if you have any questions.
I have worn and washed and dried my pads. The flannel was well preshrunk. It did not shrink further as a pad and measured exactly the same as the ones I had not washed yet. Of course, flannels can vary, so protect your self and prewash your fabrics 2 or 3 times. The pads do come out of the dryer wrinkly, like any cotton. I just stretched them a bit and they were fine. I am going to just let my next batch line dry and bet they are a lot less wrinkly. This did not effect their comfort or function at all.
ETA: I worn and washed these a fair amount at this point. I've gotten the best results washing on WARM, not HOT. I then take them out of the wash and stretch them out and smooth them and either hang them on a hanger with clips or just flatten them out on the top of the dryer and let them dry flat. They come out quite nice this way. I've had one pad shrink but it went into a hot wash and dry and with other pads that didn't shrink at all so it is specific I think t the flannel. These were all well washed before making, two or three times.
I am really glad I took this journey. Thanks to all the women who have told me they have been making and using their own pads for years. Who knew? My opinion is this is easy, inexpensive sewing that more than pays for any effort involved. It helps save the planet, save a few dollars, and just feels so much nicer than the alternative. Happy Padmaking!............Bunny