Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Craftiness for your unmentionables

This year I wanted to try some earth and pocket friendly projects. This will be the first of a series of DIY projects that I hope to complete in the next few months. So here is the background for this particular project.
  It all started around 6 months ago when I decided to try something called the Diva Cup. Some of you may have heard of it before, but for those who haven't this is the scoop.
  Its a reusable cup that you insert into your girlie parts and it collects your menstrual flow. Its made of healthcare grade silicone and can be worn for up to 12 hours at a time. You simply empty out the contents into the toilet..rinse it...and put it back in. I wash mine with mild soap once a day.

 It does take some getting used to. Its a bit messy at first and not for the squeamish. After having four children I can handle just about anything. I purchased mine off of Amazon for around $25 dollars. The first cycle that I used it was a little bit of a challenge. You have to insert it just right and figure out how often to check it. That will be different for everyone. I emptied mine every 3-4 hours the first day or two. By my third and fourth day I left it in for 6-8 hours before checking it. My last day or two I left it in for 12 hours at a time. I did have to wear a pantyliner though if I was going to be out for a long time in those first couple days and I liked having the security of a full pad at night or at work. Lets face it nobody wants to be having middle school flashbacks in the grocery store. So I was still spending money every month on things that I was throwing away and filling the landfills with. Not to mention all the chemicals that my body was absorbing while they were pressed up against my skin. So this is where some of you might think I've completely lost my mind if you haven't already. I started researching reusable pads. Yes I said reusable. Fifty years ago it was all they had and yes that WAS fifty years ago and we have come a long way since then but they didn't have to deal with cancer causing chemicals in everything back then either. So after a few weeks of researching, this is what I came up with. I made two overnight pads and five pantyliners.

First you need to gather some materials. This is what you will need:

  • Minky fabric (you don't have to use this if you don't want to. I chose it because it doesn't stain. You can use cotton or another layer of flannel in its place)
  • Some flannel fabric (flannel is very absorbent. The more layers you use the more the pad will absorb)
  • Some fleece fabric (fleece is also very absorbent and naturally waterproof)
  • PUL (this is optional. It will make your pads waterproof though)
  • Snaps or Velcro
  • Sewing pins
  • Clothes pins
  • Sewing machine

I went here and I printed out my two templates and I traced them onto cardboard. One was for a pantyliner and the other was for an overnight 11in pad. Your going to use the same method of sewing for both pads.

First cut out 1 square piece each of flannel and of the PUL. The PUL I used was the same kind you would use for reusable diapers.One side is fabric and the other is like a rubbery plastic side. It was all my local fabric store had. You can find it online too. Make sure the square is big enough to fit your pattern piece. Then pin your pieces together with the print sides facing each other.

 Now trace your pattern piece onto the fabric with a fabric marker or pen.

 Now sew all the way around the line that you just traced. When your done cut off all the extra fabric being careful not to cut your stitches. I used pinking shears because they work best when your working with curved seams.

Now turn it over to the flannel side and cut a 2 in slit in the middle. Be careful that you only cut the flannel and not the PUL.

 Now flip it the right side out by pulling it through the hole. Then flatten it out and smooth out your seams. Now set it aside.

Now for the soaker part of the pad. Grab 1 Piece each of the minky, flannel, and the fleece. If your making the panty liner you only need a piece of minky and a piece of fleece. Your going to do the same thing that you just did with base part of the pad except you'll have a layer of fleece in between. Make sure that the nice side of the Minky and the print side of the flannel are facing. Pin them together and trace your pattern

Now when your sewing with the fleece in the middle your going to leave a section open to flip it on the side instead of going all the way around. If this soaker is for the pantyliner you should go all the way around.

Then cut off all the excess fabric just like in the steps above and flip it the right way out. It should look like this.

 Now place the soaker onto the base of the pad and use a clothes pins to hold it in place while you sew all the way around the edge of the soaker making sure to close the hole that you used to flip it.

Now for the hardest part. Add your snaps. Make sure you line them up right and test them out before you move on to the next set. If your using Velcro make sure you round off the edges. You don't want any sharp edges down there.

Washing and care of these is simple. Rinse out well after you use them and then throw them into the wash with the rest of the laundry. Don't use fabric softener because they wont absorb well and I would dry them on low or hang dry them if you used the PUL.

That's it. Now enjoy your next visit with Aunt Flow.

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