Making Cloth Pads
Which Style?
Underpants

Fabrics
   - Tops
   - Core
   - Waterproof
   - Backing
On a Budget

Patterns
Design your own
Pattern layout
Pattern Resizing

Construction
   - AIO Hidden Core
   - AIO channels
   - Pocket Pad
   - Base+Insert
   - Fold-up pad
   - Boostable pad
   - Belted pad

 
About Cloth Pads
(At www.clothpads.org) About Cloth Pads
How to use them
Cloth Pad Washing
Pros & Cons
Cloth Pad FAQ
Tips and Help
Where to buy Pads
Starting a Stash
Selling Pads
Cost of Pads
Pad History
Styles and Types of Cloth Pad

 
You can pretty much make your pads however you like, but there are some geral types of pad listed below. When deciding on what type of pad to make, think of your needs and lifestyle. If you want something easy you can put on, take off, chuck in the washing machine - then you'll want an AIO pad. If you want something that allows you to increase or decrease the absorbency as you need, then you might want to look at a pocket or base+insert style.
 
First decision - winged or not....
This is a question to ask yourself. many women assume you need wings... not true, you can have a wingless cloth pad. With all cloth pads, you need to have snug fitting underpants to wear them - even a winged pad can move about if you have your saggy baggy undies on. The one main disadvantage of a wingless pad is that if you just pull down your underpants while hovered over the toilet, you can have an unfortunate pad incident.... But its just a case of remembering you have a pad on, and taking a bit of extra care. So it really is personal choice...
 
    Non-Winged pad ("Wingless", "hourglass", "contoured")
    This type of pad has no wings to keep them in place, and relies on a contoured shape and/or snug fitting underpants to keep the pad from moving about. Sometimes these use fleece or other slip-resistant backing.

     
    Advantages
     
    • More comfortable when riding a bike etc. as there are no snaps to add bulk to the crotch
    • Don't need to attach fasteners (buttons, velcro, snaps)
    • Contoured shape can mean more coverage at front/back without being too wide in crotch. This contoured shape is harder to achieve with a winged pad.
    • Uses less fabric
    • Easier to sew up

     
    Disadvantages
     
    • Can shift about in your underpants more than winged pads
    • Can slip out into the toilet if you are not careful!
    • May leak off the sides if you're prone to that, as there are no wings to catch the flow
    • May bunch sideways and shift about
    • Need to wear snug fitting underpants!

 
Winged pad
These have wings that secure around the crotch of your underpants like a winged disposable pad. May do up with a snap/press stud, velcro, button or other closure. May also have features of the contoured style of pad, having wider back and front than the crotch area, or may be a standard straight shape with wings.

 
Advantages
 
  • Less likely to move around in your underpants (though they can slip forward or back)
  • Wings give extra leak protection for those who leak off the sides of pads.
  • Wings can help keep the pad from bunching sideways

 
Disadvantages
 
  • Can feel bulky in the crotch due to the extra layers of fabric.
  • Leakage onto the wings can travel onto clothing.
  • The wing position will generally find the smallest point of the crotch of your underpants, and that may not be the best position for where you need coverage (A wingless pad might be able to be brought forward or back as needed because there are no wings to keep it in position)
  • Needs some sort of fasteners to keep the wings together (buttons, velcro, press studs etc.)
  • Can be more difficult to sew

 
Type of Pad
Now you've decided on winged or not - think of the type of pad. It's probably a good idea to make at least one of each style you think you might like, and give them a test. Then you can see which ones seem to work better for you and which don't - then go back and make more of the ones you do like. Don't make too many before you test them out though! Nothing worse than sewing up some pads, sitting back and admiring your handywork, then trying them on and finding they aren't quite right and you've wasted all that time and fabric!
 
    All-in-one (AIO) pad
    This is a pad (of any shape) that has the absorbency and waterproofing built into a pad that you use as a disposable - just put it in your underpants and you are good to go. No adding anything.

     
    Advantages
     
    • Quick and easy to use
    • Little chance of leakage through the pad, due to the waterproofing
    • The waterproof layer means the flow can be distributed through the pad more, so less layers are needed in the pad - allowing the pad to be thinner and can be less bulky than non-waterproofed pads.
    • Wool can be used as a leak resistant layer to give an all natural AIO pad.

     
    Disadvantages
     
    • Can take longer to dry than pads with removable parts, as all layers are sewn into the pad and are not removable.
    • No ability to adjust the absorbency.
    • May have to be more careful with washing and care, as some chemicals and heat can damage the waterproof fabrics.
    • Waterproofing is generally synthetic, and some women prefer to avoid synthetics.

    Non-Waterproofed AIO ("Non-waterproofed pad")
    This generally considered to be a pad that has all layers sewn in, but has no waterproofing. (Some argue it's not an "AIO" if it's not got waterproofing). Can be winged or non-winged, of any shape.

     
    Advantages
     
    • Quick and easy to use
    • Can be made from all natural fabrics (for health and environmental benefits)
    • More breathable

     
    Disadvantages
     
    • Can take longer to dry than pads with removable parts as all layers are sewn into the pad and are not removable.
    • No ability to adjust the absorbency
    • Does not contain waterproofing
    • Often these need more layers to achieve the same protection as a waterproofed pad.

    Pocket/Envelope pad
    This is generally an empty pad shaped shell/pocket/envelope with an opening on the underside, into which you place separate removable "inserts" or "boosters" that form the absorbency of the pad. Usually contains no waterproofing, but some styles do have waterproofing on the under side of the pocket part or on the inserts.

     
    Advantages
     
    • Quicker to dry as the inserts are removable
    • If the pad comes with more than one insert you can adjust the amount of absorbency so you aren't using a thick pad when you don't need to
    • The one pad can see you through light flow to heavier flow by putting less or more inserts in.
    • Can use anything as the inserts (folded handkerchiefs etc.)

     
    Disadvantages
     
    • Have to assemble the pad prior to use (and disassemble to wash)
    • Usually not waterproofed.
    • Not all come with inserts that extend into the wing, so you may have only a thin layer of fabric on the wing that you can leak through.
    • The whole pad needs to be changed when soiled (you can't just replace the inserts).
    • Some Pocket pads are provided with one insert, which may be too thick or not thick enough for your needs.
    • Can be bulkier than an AIO pad

    Base + Insert pads
    These are generally a winged pad shaped piece that has little to no absorbency itself, and comes with absorbent inserts that are placed ontop of the base (unlike a pocket pad where inserts are placed inside the case). Sometimes these inserts attach on by way of a snap, button or velcro located at the ends of the base and the inserts, some have the inserts slide under strips of ribbon/rick rack/twill tape on the ends and some have little pocket like ends on the base that the inserts fit into.

     
    Advantages
     
    • Quicker to dry than an AIO as the inserts are removable
    • Can change the inserts while leaving the base on, so you can change more regularly to have a fresh pad on.
    • Styles that use pocket ends or tape/ribbon straps can usually be used with more than one insert together, and you can make additional inserts or use face washers etc. to add absorbency.
    • Can be an economical use of waterproofed fabric, as the one base can be used through the day with several inserts.

     
    Disadvantages
     
    • Have to assemble the pad prior to use (and disassemble to wash)
    • Some styles do not have waterproofing.
    • Styles that have the inserts attach to the base part with snaps will only allow one insert at a time, and only work with their own brand (unless you find other brands with the same size inserts with the snaps in the same position). If you have a style that only works with its brand of inserts you may not have enough inserts to last all day.
    • Inserts usually not suitable for heavy flow, so you may bleed through them quickly, making a non-waterproofed base soiled quickly and losing the advantage of being able to keep it on.

    Fold-up pads
    These are pads that include a section that folds out for quicker drying. Some may have waterproofing built in, some may not. The idea is that when folded up you have a pad shaped pad, and the absorbent part will be folded up to give several layers of fabric, that can unfold to allow it to dry quickly. Some styles may have the folded part on top, allowing for refolding to expose a clean surface, to make the pad comfortable for longer.

     
    Advantages
     
    • Quicker to dry than an AIO as the absorbency is in a thinner fabric that folds up to make it more absorbent.
    • Can refold the pad to have a clean surface
    • In some styles you may be able to add additional boosters to the folded section to increase absorbency

     
    Disadvantages
     
    • Have to assemble/fold up the pad prior to use
    • Trickier to use than an AIO due to the folding.
    • Often don't have waterproofing
    • Can be bulkier than an AIO pad

    Boostable pads
    These are pads that generally have no waterproofing themselves, but come with a booster (that may be waterproofed), that is attached/slipped into or somehow added to the pad to increase its absorbency or give waterproofing. Generally the boosters fit under the pad, and the pad itself has absorbency (which makes them different from a pocket pad or holder & insert pad which are generally not absorbent without the inserts) but the boosters add extra absorbency.

       
      Some example of these are:
       
      • A pad that comes with a booster that snaps onto the underside of the pad
      • A pad that comes with a booster that sits under the pad (held in place by the pad)
      • A pad with bands/pocket or other way of holding a booster on the under side of the pad.

     
    Advantages
     
    • Quicker to dry than an AIO as the absorbency is in separate parts
    • Can adjust the absorbency you need with the optional boosters
    • Often includes waterproofing, or the option to add waterproofing if needed

     
    Disadvantages
     
    • Have to assemble the pad prior to use if using the booster
    • May not include waterproofing
    • May have a greater chance of leaking off the booster than you would have if using an AIO pad


 
There is also the option of a belted pad
 
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