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The Pads – History of Developing The Pattern

Our pads were designed in 2015 by Bec Torrens of Earthshine Luxe, an experienced pad maker. Bec and I were looking at cloth nappies (diapers) and realised that many of the brands out there were in two parts. My own mum used terry nappies on me using an origami-like folding method to create a triangle that’s pinned on the baby then covered in a pair of plastic pants.

plastic wrap and terry nappy (diaper) squares cloth nappies diapers
plastic wrap and terry nappy (diaper) squares

I used them on Ayla and Bastian (with a more modern wrap made of PUL prints and minky fabrics with KAM snaps) then moved onto pre-folds. Prefolds are thicker and smaller rectangles made up of many layers of woven cotton which we would tri-fold and stuff into a pocket wrap. The advantage of stuffing folded fabric into a wrap for me was that they’re easier to clean and dry than all-in-ones. They were always the most in-expensive option too.

prefold insert which is folded in on itself (tri-folded) for maximum absorbency cloth nappy diaper
prefold insert which is folded in on itself (tri-folded) for maximum absorbency

When we looked at taking pads to Tanzania in 2015 we needed to find the option which would be the least expensive to produce, the easiest to sew, the easiest to wash and dry and easy to use and understand. Although all-in-one pads are popular in the UK and the USA, they consist of at least three layers of fabric and are expensive to produce, difficult to sew and take a while to dry. We realised from the nappies that if we could unfold the fabric to wash and dry, it would be quicker and easier. The less time needed to dry the pads, the fewer we need to provide to each child for her monthly needs. They just look like squares and circles of fabric which could be cleaning cloths and they’re more discreet than all in one pads.

The edges are a long curve or straight lines rather than having lots of different tight curves to sew. There are fewer pieces to sew for two wraps and four inserts than there would be for four all-in-one pads. They make better use of the expensive Zorb with minimal wastage and the pattern is very simple.

The Pattern
There’s no official pattern to download but Bec has made it super simple for anyone to follow.

The Sewing
It’s designed to work with an overlocker. I’m sure it would be possible on a sewing machine, but an overlocker/serger will look more professional and achieve more pads in a shorter length of time.