I’ve been trying to reduce my single-use plastic consumption over the last year, buying in bulk and seeking out plastic-free options wherever possible (Lush is wonderful for this!), and generally trying to lessen my impact on the planet. But one area where I am just not ready to give up the convenience of single use plastics is my period products.
Let’s just lay this out there – I hate having a period. Hate. It’s a drag and feels deeply unfair, and if I could just magically make it go away, I would (oh, and I’ve tried). The thought of dumping out a mooncup in a public sink makes me gag, so there’s no way I’m giving up applicator tampons, but one place I could conceivably reduce my plastic is in panty liners and pads.
So when I saw that Sophie Hines was selling period panty kits, I was intrigued and ordered myself a black “mini” kit, which only contains the crotch materials, not the fabric for the body of the panties (I’ve got plenty of those!). The colour refers only to the exterior fabric of the crotch, which looks like regular jersey on the outside but with a fully waterproof coating on the inside.
I figured this was a good way to try out the concept without having to source all the materials myself! I also bought some of her wide, 1 in FOE at the same time, and I’m glad I did, because regular FOE would be almost impossible to stretch around those layers (as it was, I had to baste the edges together just to get it in the thick FOE).
So for those not aware, period panties are underwear that have special materials in the crotch to absorb blood and fluids, wicking them away from the skin and into an absorbent layer, but not allowing them to leak through to the outside (and potentially stain your clothes!). They’re advertised to be able to replace a whole day’s worth of period products, and are fully washable and reusable.
Sophie provides pretty comprehensive tutorials on how to layer and construct the crotch fabrics here, but the gist is that there are three layers: first, against the skin, is a breathable wicking fabric very similar to DriFit running shirts (this layer is always black so you don’t need to worry about ugly staining). The second layer is a quilted wicking jersey with bamboo wadding inside (always undyed/natural), and the outer layer is the waterproof jersey, which is where your choice of colour comes in.
Just like with my last few pairs of underwear, the pattern I used here is a slightly modified Runderwear brief from our Threshold Shorts pattern.
I made two pairs here, and I’ve just enough crotch materials leftover to make a third at some point (I could’ve made three now but thought it better to wait in case I need to tweak it). I used a thin FOE on the waistband of the kitties pair so I’d have enough of the wide FOE for a third pair around the legs, where you need the width more (you might recognise this green FOE from my recent workout tank!).
I’m really hoping that this will mean I’ve bought the last pads I’ll ever need, cutting down on costs but primarily to send less plastic materials to landfill (because it’s not as if they’re recyclable!). I think it’s important to cut down where we can and not stress about cutting out everything all at once. Make small changes often and make them permanent habits!