What you need:
- An absorbent material e.g. cotton towel or material, fleece
- A piece of light flexible plastic like a shower curtain
- A piece of fabric
- A needle and thread
- A button or fastening pins
- A pair of scissors
- Sewing pins
- Marker, pencil and A4 paper
Step by step instructions
1. Create the pad template
Draw the pad template on the piece of paper, you can use the shape of your favourite pad
2. Cut the pad template using a pair of scissors
3. Use the pad template to cut three piece which are from the absorbent material, plastic and fabric. You will have the topper part of the pad which has to be made of a material that is soft to the skin, breathable and wicks moisture away, plastic which is supposed to be strong to avoid leakages and the absorbent material.
4. Fold the absorbent material at least 2-3 times to ensure its thick enough. Then fold the wings of the template, then use it to cut the absorbent material. Ensure you cut that the fabric shorter than the previous absorbent material.
5. Pin the absorbent materials together and pin also the plastic with the exterior part of the fabric.
6. Sew the plastic and the fabric together
7. Sew the absorbent materials together
8. Pin the two pieces together, ensuring the back fabric and top fabric face each other.
9. Sew around the pad but leave a space on the corner to allow you to turn it inside out.
10. Turn the pad inside out, and saw the opening. Ensure you fold the fabrics
11. Once you’ve sold the opening, add the buttons or fastening pins to the pad. Add one on the outside of the wing and the other on the inside.
Your reusable pad is ready. To wear it, you place base on your pant and pin it under like the picture below.
To pack it after use or wash , fold the top and bottom part of the pads and close the wings over it. You can easily put it in your bag or purse.
How to take care of the pad?
- After use you simply soak it in cold water for 30 minutes with the top facing down.
- After soaking you rinse it in water until the water becomes clear
- Hang it, and ensure it fully dries. Never wear a wet pad it might cause fungal infections.
- Preferably hang it outside on the line, in African context it is a taboo so ensure you cover a wrapper over it. Its been researched sunlight acts a as sanitizer.
- If you’re not home and cant wash it immediately, sprinkle some water on top and fold it as illustrated above. When you get home was as described above.
- Near soak them in bleach, you can soak them in salt.
- Wash them once in a while in detergent but ensure it fully rinses off
- If properly taken care of, reusable pad can last up to 2-5 years that’s if you have 2 or 3 pads.
Written and illustrated by Exildah Bwalya Mubanga – TheALI Programs Associate.