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Jilly Offline OP
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Hey Ak! I think the thing that people assume is that dark colors will hide the stains. I was originally thinking that white cloth (diaper cloth) was not the best idea for my pads, but that is how the seamstress decided to make them. Now i realize that white is really the best, since you can really work on cleaning whites in a way that you can't with darks. Well, you can, but then you get muddy colors, as you experienced. smile

Not that anyone is going to be seeing these but you. smile

Can you share what company the cloths are made by? And what do you think of them - smooth, absorbent, durable? Itchy, leaky? Do they have wings?

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They were Glad Rags, they had wings that wrapped around the center of the panties and snaps to hold them together and in place. They were smooth and absorbent, and durable. They come with a set of flannel inserts, so you can adjust they thickness and absorbency. I bought them more than 6 years ago. I think they cost about ten dollars each back then, so it was kinda expense to get set up for your whole period. I would still use them but I am happier with my Diva Cup. No laundry with the cup!


Lisa Linnell-Olsen
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Jilly Offline OP
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I looked up the Glad Rags and they seem thoughtfully made. I wonder if they might be too overdesigned, though? It seems like a lot of pieces to deal with - cover, snaps, inserts, more inserts. Although it's nice to have functional choices for how severe the period is at the time. Do you find you need to add and subtract inserts?

My pads are just diaper cloth with serged ends. Pad shaped. The larger ones that overlap the undies stay in place without needing snaps. The narrow ones aren't as useful and slide around. If i had these made again I'd just get all wider ones.

I love that i got a huge stack of them (15?) for ten dollars cash from my local seamstress. I'd like to support websites like Glad Rags, but couldn't afford to shell out enough money to cover an entire cycle. Also, i do feel good giving work to my local seamstress. she enjoyed the project, too. smile

If anyone is thinking along these lines, look in your phone book or at your chamber of commerce to find a sewing person and just go in and talk to them. Ask if they have ever made them before. There are free patterns with wings you can print off the internet if they are new to the idea. Bring your own soft absorbent cloth (from old clothes) or use whatever they have. Or cloth diapers!

Lisa, the cup sounds really very convenient and probably is the cheapest way to go in the long run. Probably the simplest to clean too. Tampon users really should look into it. Is it best to start with a small training-type cup, or just go for it? What is the cup learning curve like?

Last edited by Jilly; 05/29/12 06:07 PM.
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Most of the time with the Glad rags, I didn't use the inserts at all. I used the inserts separately as pantiliners a few times, and that was about it.

To answer your questions about the cup specifically with appropriate detail, I need to get detailed (warning to any super squeamish out there!) Tampons are inserted pretty much all the way in. The cups sit lower, so that they are supported by the tighter entrance band muscles. If your cup is inserted properly, you don't even feel it. That sling of muscles right past the entrance is like the cup holder, supporting it perfectly. If the cup is inserted too deep, it leaks. Not deep enough and it leaks and feels weird.
The learning curve is small for any woman who is comfortable using tampons or who has done Fertility Awareness where she has examined her own cervix by feel. The pictures in the pamphlet really explain how to use it well. I think I read the instructions and got it seated properly only first try. My friends who got them all figured it out within a day. To clean it, you dump it out in the toilet and rinse in water. If you really need to you can use a mild soap ( I have down this only a few times).
There are two sizes of cups, one for younger women and the next larger for woman who have had children and/or are over some age in their thirties. So you just by the recommended size and that is it!
It is really easy to dump out, clean and reinsert a few times a day. I think it is cleaner and has fewer chemicals than tampons.


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Jilly Offline OP
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AKlisa, this is an awesome discussion! And i agree it's not for the squeamish. Although it IS clearly about menstruation and has over 1000 views already, so someone is reading along. smile

Here is a very brief article on what women used to use before pads, and it mentions the Museum of Menstruation. Sounds like a neat museum.

I hear them on the using of rags, leaves and whatever is at hand. I've been known when camping to try almost anything but poison oak. smile

Really i usually have tampons in the first aid kit, but still. smile Leaves are okay in a pinch.

Do you have to bend or stand a certain way to get the diva cup in? Do you fold it outside and then unfold inside? We may as well bare all. smile

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For the cup it is better if you are in a squatting position to put it in. I found it easy to do while sitting on the toilet. It does need to be folded - since it is circular you sort of squish in one side and squeeze until it looks folded - it unfolds once it is in position correctly. The pictures in the pamphlet that come with the cup explain it well.

I like the idea of getting cloth pads made by a local seamstress. Doing sewing out of a home is a really great small business for women, even those with children under foot. Wedding dresses, alterations, repairs and custom work is what keep these small businesses going. Mother Earth News has an old article from the 70's about running a sewing business out of home that largely still applies today. Cloth pads would be an awesome thing to add to services, and maybe even have some sewn up already to go if the owner does craft shows or web sales. These are also businesses I would like to support. The Glad Rags were/are great, but I wish I had though of this more affordable option when I was using cloth.
My daughter is interested in sewing, and she cares a lot about sustainability. I showed her cloth pad sand what my cup looks like. Her school did a small lesson on self care and periods, where they gave out little booklets, an underarm deodorant sample, and a disposable pad to the girls. All of the stuff was "generously" donated by the big corporation that makes almost all of the different disposable feminine products. Yep, check those labels closely, it is pretty much all one corporation. I wanted to make sure she got the full story before she picked which products she wanted to use. Knowing she can sew her own pads if she likes is one more option for her.

had your seamstress made many of these before? Is she interested in adding them on as a more advertised service? has anyone else joining in made their own pads? What were your experiences? What advice would you have for sewers?


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The cup is really the best!!! I have used it for the last 5 months and I have become more than a fan. I tell everybody about it. I am really mad that it is so little known that I only heard about it at age 41. It is so easy and so little messy that I forget that that I have it on or even forget when my last period was, because it is always so stressfree and uneventful. And you can use it no matter on which day of your cycle you're at, regardless of how much flow. No need for big or small tampons, no pads, no pantyliners... So much more place in bathroom cabinets or in my suitcase when I travel... Love it.

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Jilly Offline OP
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@Solalux, i hear you on the regret for finding these things out late! Stressfree and uneventful are great words to associate with your period!

I've been reading that not using chemical-laden pads and tampons actually makes your periods shorter and less crampy. As far as I know this is anecdotal evidence. But i know from this last period that I was so comfortable and never once felt chafed...and I regret all those years of monthly chafing! I had no idea it could feel so comfortable. I would have wanted to never used disposables had someone mentioned their smooth comfort to me. smile

I've read the average woman spends $4 a month on menstrual products. So for a small outlay for a diva cup or a few pads, there is assuredly money to be saved over half a lifetime!

@AKlisa, I really hope your daughter decides to go with one of these resusable options, and save herself some serious discomfort. smile I'd love to know what she decides.

Last edited by Jilly; 05/31/12 02:58 AM.
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I have to give props for this article from the Hillbilly Housewife about using reusable cloth period pads.

First of all, the article is informative, provides links to lots of design ideas for sewing your own pads/buying them, and is just downright funny. I had to laugh loudly at the comment that the bathroom bucket is sneaky and suspicious!

I appreciated that this writer is not some crunchy granola type like me. She seems like a conservative, no nonsense Christian. So it's not just tree huggers loving the comfort, frugality and ease of the smooth, soft reusable pads. It's just smarter!

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No, not everyone looking into frugality is a bunny hugging tree hugger. I like to compare Backwoods Home Magazine with Mother Earth News. A lot of the same types of info, but two totally different audiences. We are all a lot better when we can set our emotional stuff aside, and focus on what we all want together - a frugal, sustainable, independent life.
It is a well written piece, and I like the design she used for her pattern!
hmm, if I din't like my cup so much......

Last edited by AKLisa- Knitting Editor; 06/02/12 02:58 AM.

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