Making your own cloth pantyliners

Ok, folks. Anyone squeamish about women’s bodily fluids, look away now. You’ve been warned.

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Hello, those of you, who don’t mind thinking about women’s bodily fluids. One thing that’s always annoyed me, is that, even though I try to reduce the amount of waste I produce all the time, there are a couple of products that I’d not been able to cut down on: tampons and pantyliners. Or so I thought. And then I saw that someone in a Sewing Group I follow on Facebook had made her own cloth pantyliners. Really? I thought? Are those things absorbent? How about washing them? And how would I get rid of tampons as well as disposable pantyliners?

First things first. Tampons. The answer is simple: use a Mooncup or similar receptacle. I was sceptical at first but then watched this tutorial. I just love how this young women so confidently explains everything there is to know about periods & how to cope with them sustainably. She also has a few videos on cloth pantyliners, but she seems to buy hers.

Not me. If I can do anything is sew. And pantyliners are very simple to sew. Very simple. Basically, all you need to do to create a pattern is to trace around your usual disposable pantyliners, and add flaps (or wings), which are closed with kam snaps or other buttons. That’s it. Make sure that the wings overlap slightly around your pants, but don’t make them too large, otherwise they will move & you will feel uncomfortable. But there really is nothing much to it. Here’s a handy video tutorial. The tutor uses a slightly more complex way of making the pantyliners than I did, but it’s worth watching. She’s also got a tutorial on upcycling pantyliners.

Mine look like this:

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I used ordinary 100% cotton fabric and cheap, but absorbent dishcloths as lining. Other people use low loft bamboo or cotton wadding – the kind that is used in quilting. I’m sure there are other options: key is that the stuff absorbs fluid and is made of natural fibres, so you don’t sweat. Given that mine are 100% cotton (plus whatever material the dishcloth is made from), the pads soak through pretty quickly, but then they’re not meant to be the only thing that’s between my pants and my period. They’re more of a backup plan in case the cup leaks, and to catch stray drops. I also don’t wear pantyliners every day.

Some more of my pantyliners:

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Funky, huh?

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But do they wash well? Well, given that I’m basically wearing a covered discloth – yes they do. Basically, follow what our young woman does in her tutorial on handwashing your pads or this one. I just prewash mine under running water, and soak them with baking powder before throwing them in the washing machine. Job done.

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This is my collection! They didn’t take very long to make at all. And they’ll hopefully be with me a long time & I’ve managed to cut my waste to zero. Yay!

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About alycevr

Academic, translator & maker of things
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