Sewing your own nursing pads is such an easy and satisfying project! Fabric nursing pads are so much better for the environment than disposables, plus you can make them out of fun fabric scraps. Scroll down below to check out the pattern I adjusted to be no-show and non-slip. I love seeing these colorful necessities lined up in my drawer each morning. Let me share how you can make your own today!
You’ve got a lot of options, but don’t stress too much over which ones you use. Make a pair out of what you have on hand and then decide if you want to splurge for specialty fabric.
The Top Layer
Many people use flannel, cotton lycra knit, cotton woven, sweatshirt fleece, or bamboo velour depending on what they have on hand. Some people recommend specialty fabrics that have wicking properties such as stay-dry suedecloth or athletic wicking knits. Full disclosure though- I used a polyester wicking fabric that came in a pack of diaper making materials and I could NOT tolerate the feeling of it against my skin so I went back to my cotton lycra scrap toppers.
The Absorbing Layer
You can go simple with 2-3 layers of cotton flannel that you may have on hand. Or you can use a specialty absorbing fabric usually used in cloth diapers such as Zorb or microfiber terry soaker fabric. Cotton and bamboo french terry work well as well.
If you want your pads to remain breathable go with another layer of cotton or bamboo cloth. I need mine to be more leakproof so I’ve backed mine with polyester fleece or PUL, depending on what I’ve had on hand. PUL is less bulky and more leakproof, but less breathable as well.
Nursing Pad PDF Pattern
Most patterns online will recommend a circle with a dart wedge cut out. I’ve also had ready-made ones that were heart-shaped or simple ovals with no dart and I’ve read great things about teardrop-shaped pads. I previously used the typical circle sewing pattern and found that they would migrate so that their edge was visible and poking out of my shirt, and that is NOT the look I’m going for this time around. The pattern I used this time was an oval with a dart cut out. It’s basically the circle pattern, but without the extra side bit that would poke out of my bra. After several months of wear, they are still staying in place well. Yay! Click HERE to download the Free Nursing Pad Pattern
Instructions to Sew Nursing Pads
Cut out a topper, absorbent layer, and backing layer.
I went with cotton flannel or cotton lycra scraps for the topper, zorb for the absorbent layer. and PUL for the backing. My first ones years ago were made of flannel or CL scraps for the topper, more flannel for the absorbent layers, and polar fleece for the backer. The pattern I’ve provided has 2 versions of the pattern so you don’t have transfer marks as below, sew and then trim. You can instead cut out the patterns as provided.
Sew the dart on all nursing pad layers.
For the inner layers, I didn’t cut seam allowance on the dart portion and sewed them together by butting up the edges together and zig-zagging over the seam. This helps reduce bulk, For the PUL backer and top layer I cut seam allowance and sewed the dart the normal way. When I used polar fleece as a backer I zig-zagged the back together as well to reduce bulk and I never experienced leaks.
Assemble the layers and Sew your Nursing Pad Together
Smooth out any wrinkles and clip together with the right sides facing out, matching the darts. Because this design is an oval, you cannot stagger the seamlines of the darts like in the circle design, but I have not had any issues with leakage at this weak point or noticed extra bulk. If you feel uncomfortable sewing/ serging curves then you’ll want to stitch them together with a straight stitch first.
Next, serge the edges if you have a serger, overlapping the beginning and end stitches and cutting off the excess. If you don’t have a serger use a zig-zag stitch on the edges, making sure to catch all the layers and then cut off the excess fabric for a cleaner look. You could also stitch together with a straight stitch, trim the edges, and use an overcast stitch.
Reusable Nursing Pads are such an overlooked necessity for the new mother, so comfortable and so easy to make at home with scrap materials you already have on hand. Save the shirts from milk! Make some today 🙂