In our pad making process we use two main types of waterproof fabrics, waterproof/water resistant fleece and PUL.
The water’proof’ fleece we use is always, and only, Polartec (formerly Malden Mills) fleece and 99% of the time, it is windpro. Why? Because, although it is a very expensive fleece, 99.99% of the time, it has never, ever, let us down. They do not classify it as ‘waterproof’ but instead it is classified as water ‘resistant’. However, in my years of experience with this fabric and women’s menstrual cycles, unless you make a mistake in bleaching it, or abusing it some how, for cloth pads it behaves 99.99% as waterproof as any other barrier fabric I have ever use.
It is also soft, durable, and very dependable.
All fleece(s) are NOT equal.
My only dislike about the fleece we use, is it’s hard to get at a decent price, especially in a large variety of colors, unless you are able and willing to buy very large bolts. If you’ve seen my sewing studio, you’ll know that I do not have the space for many very large bolts. I also do not have the funds to be buying more then 2 or 3 bolts at any one time, so I try my best to be wise each time I buy, and rotate the colors I can add as often as possible to give our customers some variety. 🙂
Within the windpro ‘family’ of fabrics, there are several different styles/types. Our favorites here at Homestead Emporium are mid weight, light weight and shirt weight. If you’ve purchased several pads from us, you may notice that some fleeces are different from others. The ‘weight’ of the fabrics is the main difference.
-Mid weight is thicker then the other two, yet still soft. It is very durable and ‘solid’. Snaps hold very fast to this weight of fleece.
-The light weight fleece is a favorite. It’s still fairly ‘solid’ yet trimmer then the mid weight. Perfect for those who want that ‘solid-ness’ in their pads yet don’t want more ‘substance’. If that makes any sense?
-Shirt weight is SUPER trim, almost as trim as PUL. If you’re not familiar with pul, then I can best describe the thickness of this fleece as being almost as trim as a thick piece of construction paper but much more supple and has a really nice drape to it. However, as with anything, there is one drawback. It’s not as ‘solid’ for snaps, BUT, windpro is such a durable fabric that this usually is not a problem if care is taken not to ‘yank’ the snaps open. Just as you are careful in unsnapping/unbuttoning a blouse, care must be taken when using the shirt weight windpro. For those who really love a super trim, barely there pad, it’s well worth it.
When creating each of our pads, I keep the different types of fleece in mind for each style. The main issue we have with the fleece, and the ONLY reason we are not able to always offer every individual pad, in every type of fleece we carry, is often simply due to color matching. Because of our limited supply, we have limited colors of fleece, but we have endless colors of top fabrics. Sometimes this means either the fabrics won’t look 110% perfect with one another but will still look good. My dream is to one day have a rainbow of windpro, but unfortunately I don’t see that happening any time soon. 😉
Our other waterproof fabric is PUL.
PUL is a knit fabric laminated on one side with Polyurethane. The laminated side is ‘hidden’ within the pad and the knit fabric side is what you see/feel on the back of our pul pads.
My three favorite things about PUL are:
1. it is VERY leakproof
2. it is SUPER trim, if you’re not familiar with PUL, I can best describe it to be almost as thin as paper, but MUCH MUCH more soft and has a very nice drape to it.
3. it comes in a HUGE array of colors
In my own personal stash, I have about as many PUL backed pads as I do windpro fleece backed pads. These are my ‘go to’ pads for when I am wearing jeans and I’m on my way out the door. I feel our pul backed pads are almost as trim as a store bought disposable pad.
Here is a photo of the wrap wings on a mid weight fleece backed pad, and a pul backed pad.
What are the negatives about PUL?
Some feel pul is too ‘slippery’. Personally, I find if I am wearing well fitting undies, this is not a problem. My favorite undies with my PUL backed pads are my dundies. They are wider in the crotch area, and fit really well. There is no ‘wiggle’ room for the pad, and I think this makes a big difference. If the crotch area of your undies are too narrow for the size of pad you are using, or your undies are fitting a little ‘baggy’, then there can be the potential for a PUL backed pad to slide around. This is something to keep in mind. However, if you’re wanting a SUPER trim pad, especially in a nice fitting pair of jeans etc., PUL is really the way to go.
You just can’t get much trimmer then that when working with cloth!
To recap in short form:
Our main two water’proof’ backing fabrics are windpro fleece and pul.
Both are great barriers. Windpro is limited in colors, PUL has a huge array of colors.
Windpro fleece comes in various thicknesses. PUL is almost paper thin.
Windpro fleece, for some, stays put better. PUL can be ‘slippery’ but not if wearing well fitting undies.
Both are durable and dependable.
I hope this entry in my series “All about cloth” helps you to better understand each of these fabrics, and the differences between them. 🙂