DIY CSP – Featuring Ngozi Eco Textiles
My latest sewing project and new challenge has been to create my own Cloth Sanitary Pads – also known as CSP. These are just one of many options available if you’re considering reusable sanitary products. If you’d like to learn more about Cloth pads and other reusable menstrual products check out Eco Fluffy Mama’s Blog here.
Whilst I’m a keen sewist, I’d never worked with a lot of the various fabrics used in the making of CSP and so was keen to find out more about them. Luckily I found that Ngozi Eco Textiles was offering a CSP making sampler kit. The kit includes a whole range of fabrics, including core fabrics for your pads as well as backing fabrics. In the kit you receive fat quarters of Zorb 1, Zorb 2, flannel and 400gsm Organic cotton and bamboo fleece (HOBF) plus half a metre of polar fleece for backing. All you need to add is your choice of topper fabric and fastenings.
I was really pleased (and a little intimidated!) when my parcel arrived! Whilst I’d sewn with flannel and polar fleece before, the others were completely new to me. Following advice from Nina at Ngozi Eco Textiles, I made sure to prewash the fabrics as follows (details taken from the Ngozi Eco Textiles Facebook page):
PREWASHING RECOMMENDATIONS (at your own risk – but this is what Nina suggests and what I did)
* Zorb 1 needs no prewashing, you can sew with it straight away. It does take a few washes (in the pad) for it to gain full absorbency.
* Zorb 2 shrinks up to 20% when washed at 60 degrees. I recommend prewashing at least twice, and tumble drying on hot if possible.
* Heavy Organic Cotton and Bamboo Fleece needs to be prewashed several times for shrinkage. I wash it at least twice at 60 degrees.
* Flannel shrinks a bit. It would probably be fine to prewash at 40 degrees. If you’re prewashing other stuff though, you might aswell add the flannel in too!
* Polar fleece is not necessarily colourfast, so you should wash it with similar colours, or separately if it’s a dark colour. It should not shrink.
Once all the fabrics were washed and dried I was ready to go! After reading a few CSP making Blogs and browsing a few Facebook Groups I’d decided to make the pattern for my CSP by tracing around one of my favourite pads onto a piece of paper and just adding a seam allowance. You can find patterns to purchase on Etsy and in lots of other places and there’s always the possibility of designing your own from scratch, but as this was my first time, I went with an easy option!
For my pattern pieces I made a larger pattern piece which I used to cut out the topper and backing fabrics and then a slimmer piece which would just be used for the core fabrics (to be sewn inside the pad). I went with a variety for my first three pads, to get a feel for how they were to sew and also use. I chose – 1/ cotton top with zorb2 and flannel core, 2/ jersey top with HOBF and flannel and 3/ jersey top with zorb1 and flannel.
If you’re looking to make your own pads, I really recommend the YouTube Channel by Amy Nix (find it here). She has lots of really informative videos about their construction, the different fabric options, frequently asked questions and lots more!
Following Amy’s advice, I first sewed my core fabrics together, then sewed them to my topper and then attached my backing fabric. (I know this sounds super simple but if you follow her video here it explains it all in much more detail). I found using lots of pins to keep the pattern pieces together and lined up accurately to help get a nice shape to the pads. (As a side note, I know that lots of CSP makers use Wonder Clips or Sewing Clips instead of pins, you can get those from our shop too here and here) Once the top stitching was finished I then added a set of press fasteners (also known as snaps) to the wings using a handy set of pliers. They were then complete! Definitely not too tricky and I was really pleased with the final product!
I found the Zorb 2 particularly slippery and fiddly to sew with, mostly because of it’s thickness which was squashed by the sewing machine foot and altered it’s shape. Sewing slowly was definitely the best remedy!
I was pleasantly surprised to see that even after cutting out multiple layers of core fabrics from my selection in the Sampler Kit, I still had loads left! Obviously, the number of pads you’ll be able to make out of the fabrics depends on the size of the core’s you make but I could easily make another dozen (plus!) pads of similar construction to those I made before I ran out. If anything I would need to purchase additional polar fleece for backing (plus I might want different colours for a bit of variety!) but that’s really easy to come by and a lot cheaper to purchase than the core fabrics.
I’ll certainly be making more pads soon and experimenting with different core’s and shapes. I’ll be sure to share pictures! In the meantime, I’ve put together a set of all the haberdashery you might need to make yourself some CSP. It’s a great addition to the CSP Making Sampler Kit I used from Ngozi Eco Textiles and I thoroughly recommend you give it a try. Once you’ve decided on which fabrics you like best, you can buy them individually in larger quantities from there too!
Buy the CSP Making Sampler Kit from Ngozi Eco Textiles here
Find our CSP Making Haberdashery Kit here