Reusable Breast Pad Sewing Tutorial 8


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Sewing Bee Fabrics Tutorial

How To Make Reusable Breast Pads

How to make your own breast pads - step by step sewing tutorial by Sewing Bee Fabrics

When I first started breastfeeding, I tried a couple of brands of reusable breast pads, but there were a few things that annoyed me about them. The bamboo ones I had seemed to stick to my skin with leaked newborn milk on them which was not pleasant to unstick when things are a bit sore. I didn't like the large flat circle shapes either as they just seemed to look bulky and creased up in my bra, making my post partum shape look even worse. So, I decided I would make my own, and since then, I have ended up being asked to make breast pads for several friends and their friends! So here is how I make them.

What you will need:

Fleece fabric

Terry towelling (cut up an old towel) or use cotton bamboo fleece or charcoal bamboo fleece.

PUL fabric

Thread

How To Make It:

To make your pattern, draw a circle on paper *************************

Fold it in half, then fold again so it's in 4 sections, then fold again so its in 8. Unfold it then cut out one of the circle segments.

Make your own breast pad sewing pattern
Make your own breast pad pattern by cutting 1/8th out of a circle

Cut this shape out in PUL, your absorbent fabric and fleece. You will need one of each per pad.

Cut out your fabrics for your breast pads from absorbent fabric, fleece and PUL
Cut out your fabrics for your breast pads from absorbent fabric, fleece and PUL

Fold each layer lining up the edges where you cut out your 1/8th wedge with the right sides inwards. Stitch together making sure you go right to the edges - you may need to start further in then backstitch towards the edge to avoid a birds nest type of mess in your sewing machine. It is also easier if you can chain stitch all your pieces (not cutting the thread between pieces, simply stitching one after the other by lining the next fabric up to sew just after the current one).

Chain stitch the 1/8th opening closed in all your breast pad pieces
Chain stitch the 1/8th opening closed in all your pieces

Snip all the threads between to separate out your pattern pieces.

Snip the threads between all the pieces of fabric
Snip the threads between all the pieces

Stack your fabrics so that you have the PUL at the bottom with the right side facing down, the absorbent fabric in the middle and your fleece on top with the right side facing upwards.

For the next step in making your breastpads, Layer your fabrics with the PUL face down, absorbent material in the middle then fleece face up
Layer your fabrics with the PUL face down, absorbent material in the middle then fleece face up

Using an overlocker (serger) or an overcast foot on a normal sewing machine like I did, sew a zigzag stitch around the edge of the breast pad. I personally find it easier to start off with a wide zigzag stitch length to tack all the layers together first then I reduce down the stitch length to go around again to give it a prettier finish. You could also do a zigzag stitch near the edge instead but this wont look quite as professional.

Sew your breast pad together by using a zigzag stitch with an over edge (aka overcast) foot
Sew your breast pad together by using a zigzag stitch with an over edge (aka overcast) foot

Then just clip your threads and they are done! Quick and easy eh?! They might look a little fat and puffy to begin with but they flatten out quickly in your bra.

How to make your own breast pads - step by step sewing tutorial by Sewing Bee Fabrics

Or pop some ribbon around a set, and it makes a lovely little present for a baby shower gift.

How to make your own breast pads - step by step sewing tutorial by Sewing Bee Fabrics

Have you used reusable breast  pads or had a go at making your own breast pads? How did you get on with them? What were your favourite fabrics to use?

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8 thoughts on “Reusable Breast Pad Sewing Tutorial

  • Fiona

    What a great idea,
    I am looking for practical presents to make for a mum to be, re-usable nappies being on the list, so this will use up the small pieces of PUL, which is even better.
    I might make a little 2 sided carry bag for used/ fresh ones when mum is out and about!

  • Norma Ritter, IBCLC

    These contoured pads are a great shape 🙂
    It would be better not to use a PUL layer because the waterproofing effect holds in moisture, which can lead to thrush (yeast infection/candida.) Yeast thrives in warm, wet, dark places. Instead, you could use a couple of layers of flannel, or even cotton toweling, to soak up leaking milk. Be sure to change pads frequently.

    • Sewing Bee Fabrics Post author

      PUL would indeed hold the liquid in, however it is also an air permeable – breathable fabric. The fleece top layer also wicks moisture away from the skin. I’ve seen several comparisons done between cloth nappies and disposables, and those with fleece tops kept the skin drier than disposables, so I would argue that PUL backed and fleece topped breast pads is still a better option than disposables with the added peace of mind of not leaking through to clothing. If anybody wanted to avoid the PUL layer, then unless plenty was used, making it unnecessarily bulky, flannel and cotton towelling tend to hold liquid, and so will soak into the bra if the outer layers become damp. A better option would be to put fleece at the back, as this would only then leak with either large saturation or a bra which was causing excess compression on the pad.

      On a personal note, I know of several people who’s babies had recurrent yeast infection problems while using disposable nappies which resolved on switching over to the same fabric combination in cloth nappies, and I’ve read the same story several times again with people switching over to cloth sanitary pads, so I’d be very surprised if a proven link to PUL backings and yeast infection was found.