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This pattern makes a GREAT set of contoured nursing pads. I have tried many styles of nursing pads before stumbling upon this one. It is loosely based on a commercial pad I had that was too small and too "crunchy" to even be comfortable. Being able to sew your own nursing pads means that you can customize it to meet your needs. My friend Kristin said to me, "One great thing about the bamboo is that it really keeps all odors at bay! With the pads I made that have velour or flannel in them I end up having that 'old milk' smell at the end of the day. The bamboo isn't like that at all! So, if you'd like to share some of your bamboo scraps with me, I'd really appreciate it."
The thing I love about this pattern is that you can use your smallest scraps. This is a great way to finally use up those favorite fabric scraps you were hanging on to!
First, cut 4 from each desired layer. The pads in my demonstration have 3 layers--an inner layer of Bamboo Velour, a hidden layer of Hemp/Cotton, and an outer layer of white PUL. Be sure to cut opposing pieces since the pattern is not symmetric (i.e.: cut 2 from each fabric, then flip your pattern over and cut 2 more from each).
Optional: cut two rectangle strips approximately 6.5" x 0.5" cut from the outer layer fabric (to cover the center seam on the outside). Once you see how this goes together, you may want to do this to the inside seam too.
There are all my pieces. Bamboo on top, hemp in the middle, and pul on the bottom, with the pul strips off to the side. I double check to make sure I cut the right amount facing each way by lining up the bottoms in a straight line. They should be mirror images of each other, 2 from each layer. Incidentally I laid these down the same way they are going to be sewn together. Remember that for a step coming up: When sewing them together, you want to hold them with the bottom across in a straight line and they will point away from each other (like your 2-year-old always puts on his shoes the wrong way when you're in a hurry)...if they point towards each other you've got to switch them around.
Next I layer the pieces together: PUL on the bottom with the shiny side in, hemp in the middle, and the yummy bamboo velour in the inside. Then I will baste around the edges to keep everything from slipping during construction.
If you want, you can trim around the edges to even things up.
Now with all four pieces done, I'm ready to put them together. The key here is to go SLOW. Like I said before, you are going to hold the pieces where they are facing away from each other. You are going to join these two pieces together along that inside edge. Using either a joining stitch on your sewing machine or a wide zig-zag, begin at the pointy top and stitch together all the way to the bottom. As you do this, the breast pad will contour. In my pattern the pieces don't really overlap each other. If you want, you can modify the pattern so that the inside of one piece actually overlaps the inside of the other, or you can just use the strips like I do coming up, except on the inside, or you can leave it like it is. I don't do anything to cover the thread inside--the velour stands above the stitches and is super-soft.
Now it is starting to look like a breast pad.
I made a mistake here and got my steps out of order on pad number one--but YOU'RE not going to do that, are you?
Next sew on the outside strip to cover the seam. It makes the pad look neat and it gives the center seam some stability. If you want, you can also cover the inside seam the same way. Lay the strip across the outside seam and while moving slowly again, straight stitch down both sides of the strip to tack it on. I did not finish the edges on it (being PUL, it doesn't fray).
Finally, serge around the edges (or use an overcast stitch on your sewing machine), and your beautiful new breast pads are done! (If you look closely at the pad on the serger below, it does not have the strip sewn over the outside seam yet--my mistake.)
Your beautiful new nursing pads...the ultimate in comfort and luxury.
**I have no idea what cup size these accommodate since they have not been widely tested. I am about a 'C' cup and they fit me generously. My friend suggests that these will fit most women except board-flat. She also said that possibly the pattern can be modified to fit "smaller" women by shortening the pattern piece.**
I welcome any thoughts and feedback you have regarding this pattern!