Hope you're not squeamish about such things... I used to be, but not so much anymore... This is where my feminism really shows - I see no reason why menstruation shouldn't be dinner table conversation if one has reason to bring it up... I think not only would it empower older women, but it would also help young adult women feel more comfortable with the changes they're experiencing growing up, and encourage dialogue and exchange of knowledge, instead of rumor, shame and superstition. I acknowledge, however, that not everyone agrees with this.
Anyway, on to the topic at hand...
Cloth maxi-pads... (Who came up with the term "maxi-pad" anyway... It seems a rather odd term to me...) I'd like to make some at some point... Maybe this summer. I'm really tired of contributing to land-fills, but at the same time, I'm *so* not feeling the idea of the "Moon-Cup" and similar products, both because I'm just not a tampon kind of person and they really haven't been tested for safety, as far as things like endometriosis goes. So - cloth pads are looking like a good alternative. I found a pattern here, a site which also sells organic fabrics, which are expensive, but since it doesn't take all that much fabric to make pads, I'm thinking of buying some for this project. I really like that not only is it organic, but it's also unbleached, undyed and hasn't been exposed to all the nasty chemicals that pollute the environment and our bodies like traditional maxi-pads and fabric do. (This site, NearSea Naturals, also has organic yarns and other assorted goodies - really a very dangerous place for someone like me.)
I was talking to Olivia about all this several weeks ago, and I'm thinking I'll throw a party at some point and any of my friends who are interested can get together with fabric, the patterns, and at least my sewing machine (if not others as well) and we can work some up while watching fabulous movies, kvetching and eating pizza. Perhaps we can even save money by chipping in together for fabric? I think it will be a lot of fun.
If one gets fabric from NearSea Naturals for these pads, they do provide guidelines. You need cotton flannel and cotton batting. As it says on the pattern page: one yard of 60" wide flannel should make your choice of 9 pantyliners or 5 minipads with 5 inserts; two yards should make 6 regular holders with 7 inserts, 5 maxi holders with 7 inserts... So I figure 5 yards would be more than enough to start with to make a variaty of pads. Natural Soft Flannel is what they recommend. So for a little more than $50.00, there's the fabric. There's also organic cotton thread and in addition to that you also need snaps. So I would guess altogether you can outfit yourself for less than $70 (much less, if you don't care to go the organic route, although I encourage you to at least consider unbleached cotton fabrics - check JoAnn.com or your local crafts stores). If you consider how much you probably spend on disposable products every year, I'd say that's a really nice savings over time.