Things to Consider
Types of pad
Pad Making Instructions - Base + insert pads|
A "Base and Insert" pad is a 2 part pad system where there is a "base" (usually a winged shape), that you place the absorbent part, an "insert" ontop of. Which allows the absorbent part to be changed while leaving the base on. The "insert" part can be a contoured/oblong shaped insert or a rectangle of fabric that folds up.
The inserts can be held in by "pocket" ends, where the insert is kept in place because the ends are tucked into little flap/pockets at the ends of the pad, or bands/straps of ribbon or other such thing (see below example), where the insert is placed under the bands to keep it in place.
Where an "All-in-one" pad set would need to be at least 5 pads per girl/woman to be useful, a waterproofed base + insert style pad can allow the inserts to be changed frequently while the same base is worn, meaning less bases are required (2-3), which reduces the amount of waterproofing fabric (which is often expensive) needed. Which is why I believe waterproofed versions would be more practical, as they can be worn longer.
Benefits of this style are:
We also created an instruction sheet, giving information in picture form of how to wear and wash Insert pads. This is useful for areas where instructions given in English may not be understood. The instruction sheet can be downloaded below, in both a single .gif format, and also as .doc file, with 6 to an A4 page.
Making Base + insert pads
You can download basic pad pattern templates below. 2 sizes are provided and 2 different shapes. A set might include 2 longer and 3 shorter pads, to give the recipient different length pads should they find they need longer pads (while sitting in class or overnight etc.). These are provided as an image (.gif) with a size indication guide so you can check they print at the right scale. You can insert the image into a word processing document file and drag the image to resize it if you would like to make any alterations to the size or shape. These patterns do not include seam allowance.
Waterproofing - PUL, ripstop nylon or other waterproof or semi-waterproof fabric
Topping - Microfleece, polarfleece, suedecloth or other synthetic fabric
Inserts - anything absorbent, such as terry, natural fleece or flannel/flannelette
Straps - Ribbon, cotton "twill" tape, strips of fabric, bias binding etc. (Some people use rickrack, while others complain that this can curl and be uncomfortable)
This shows a white PUL backing, Orange fleece top, with 2 pocket ends
Sewing them up:
Cut out a layer of the backing fabric (eg PUL/ripstop nylon) and a layer of the topping fabric (eg microfleece) and measure and cut 2 straps or 2 pocket ends. If making the pocket ends, duplicate the end of your pad pattern, to the line marking where the straps go. Pin the backing and top layers together and prepare the ends you plan to use
To make the Inserts
If you want to make pocket ended bases, you will want to make the inserts so that they can easily fit into the pockets. To do this, you need to cut 2 pieces of flannel in different sizes. Make one about an inch shorter than the other one. Overlock/serge or edge the shorter piece, then sew this onto the bottom piece.
Then you can overlock/serge all around the insert to edge it
This means that when the insert is folded, it's only single layer in the section that will be slipped into the pocket ends, yet double layer where it is needed