The journey of making cloth pads and liners started a few years back. A group of women from church worked with an organization called Days for Girls to make feminine hygiene kits for girls in other countries. In the past, these girls had been sent disposable pads but without the garbage service, as we have, they were rolling up used pads and shoving them in the fences at school. I’m not going to lie; I really hadn’t thought about the fact that so many girls still stayed home for around a week each month due to their period or lacked resources like a place to put used pads. It was a sad reality to face.
A couple of years ago when the news of the coronavirus started coming out here in the US and people started panicking, I was in the store with my husband when I heard a mom say “do you need anything?” I turned my head to witness a mom and her two young teen girls standing in a nearly empty aisle. Most of the feminine hygiene products had been cleared from the shelf. The look of concern on the girl’s face made me sad but it also made me think of the kits we made for girls who were not as fortunate. I never wanted my daughter to be in the situation of having to worry about what she would do if she started her period and there was no access to feminine hygiene products when needed.
Since I didn’t know if this was the direction I wanted to go, I started collecting up different patterns, most of which were free or inexpensive to start with. I cut out a bunch of the patterns in varying sizes and absorbencies and then I put them in bags and set them aside. There they sat for a good two years before having the prompting to get them done. One night I pulled the tote out and sorted through what I had and what I would still need to cut out. Again. I set it aside because….she’s young and if she’s not going to start, why do I need to do it now? I talked to a friend about it, and she suggested that maybe by the time my daughter will need them, I will be busy, and I won’t have time to make them…or maybe it’s just an obedience thing. If Heavenly Father asks me to do something, will I do it?
I decided to get busy and do what I was asked, even if I didn’t understand why. It’s taken a lot of work and patience to get them done and while they are not perfect, they are functional and ready to go into my daughter’s butterfly box along with a journal, books, and a calendar to learn about her cycle and charting when she’s ready. Below are the patterns I used.
The Luna Wolf was one of the first patterns I ever made. I had made myself a liner as a backup to my sea sponge tampons or cup. I really liked the wide wings that easily overlapped and snapped together without causing a lot of bunching. This pattern comes in five sizes including pantiliner, 8”, 9”, 10.25”, and 11.75”. I like the variety because it gives a narrower size for daytime and a wider size that would work well for the nighttime while on your period as well as liners for when you just need that little bit of backup. I had made a couple of these for myself the month before we found out we were expecting baby #4. I knew we’d be traveling when my period should start and wanted to have enough backup while on a long drive.
Rocket Bottoms was another favorite. It’s not free but less than $2.00 was totally worth it. This pattern is a bit trimmer than the Luna Wolf while still having wings long enough that they don’t cause bunching. It comes in 8”, 9”, 10”, 10.5”, and 11” pads.
Kaituna Creations are designed by Ruth. She helped me find just the right size to make for my daughter. Being that younger girl’s underwear tends to be narrower through the center, I needed to find something that wasn’t super wide and bulky. We went with the 11”x 2.5” spherical pattern. I made one of each wing pattern to see which one she would like the most.
The Eco-Friendly Family has two sizes of pads for free. It looks like there is an updated design that includes the postpartum pads for $5 if you wish to go that route. These pads were a little bit harder for me to figure out as I’ve never successfully made a pad with an exposed core, but I finally did it and love it. I will say that the overnight pad is probably not going to be the best fit for her right now because the wings are so wide that they cause a lot of bunching, but it may be a good fit for later.
Patterns by Flo had a 6” and 9” pattern for free on their Facebook page. I made three of the 6” as liners but I’m questioning if the wings are too narrow. If they end up being too narrow for my daughter, I will just make a little extender for now and make the wings wider in the future, otherwise, they seem to be the perfect size for younger girls. I made a couple of the 9” pads as well and I like the design of them.
Blue Dinosaur pads were pretty basic and easy for beginners but the night pad would be good for a back bleeder or back sleeper. I’m having trouble getting the links for the pads to work but I have contacted the owner of the blog and hope they will be able to resolve it soon.
I did have the Days for Girls pattern still from making them with the ladies from church. I decided to make a couple of shields and some of the liners for each of our emergency backpacks as well as some to throw in our vehicle for moments when we’re out and about. I like that multiple liners can be used for heavier days or a single liner for lighter days. I also like that they unfold and can easily be hand washed and hung out to dry when you don’t have access to a washing machine. Unfortunately, I don’t know that this pattern is available unless you are working with the Days for Girls organization.
While it would be easy to walk into the store and grab a box of tampons and pads right now, will it be tomorrow? We just don’t know. Many people think about food and water when emergency preparedness is brought up, but we often forget about other things like feminine hygiene, toilet paper, and other non-food items that are a necessity. It’s worth taking a month to look at all the things you use and could not live without in an emergency and start grabbing a couple of extra things each time you go to the store, so you’re stocked up on them and not panicking when crap does hit the fan.