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Friday, April 3, 2009

Keeping it Clean with Matersum

The concept of Reusable Feminine Products, also known as Mama Cloth, can be quite intimidating and perhaps not what you'd consider something to blog about. Yet there is great talent involved in quality mama cloth and I have found it in Matersum's Mama Cloths! "Why toss when you can wash" is the mantra behind Matersum and creator Jenn.

You might be asking yourself WHAT in the world IS mama cloth? Well long story short, mama cloth is reusable sanitary pads. Yes, you read that right. Now, I admit, that when I first heard of this a year ago, when I began my personal journey into cloth diapering, I was not keen on the idea. But it has slowly grown on me! After all, I'm using cloth on the babies bum...why not use cloth for me? There is so much waste in this world, why not do a little something to eliminate it?

There are many excellent shops to purchase mama cloth from, but we are focusing on today! Her prints are GORGEOUS and her method of constructing the pads is slightly different than most. As a seamstress and firm believer in cloth diapers/cloth whenever possible, I appreciate the craftsmanship in her pads.

Her work is best described by Jenn on her Artfire shop, "Matersum is exclusively selling fold-up pads. These are AIO (all-in-one) fold-up cloth menstrual pads designed by yours truly. They bring the best of both worlds: the convenience of an all-in-one pad (no messing with inserts that can be lost!) with the quick-drying capabilities of a traditional folding pad. It's quick-drying, eco-friendly, and comfortable to boot! It's based on a pretty standard concept of fold-up pad but I've modified the outer shape to curve to your panties, and offer plenty of coverage without being bulky. I've attached the folded core to the main pad on the side of the fold, rather than on an end, I find this helps to keep the shape of the fold better.

I use a turned and top-stitched sewing method (instead of serging) for the top pad. This is for comfort, durability, and aesthetics. It is composed of a wonderfully cotton print and backed in CANADIAN-made 16oz bamboo fleece (70% bamboo, 30% organic cotton). The absorbent core is a 2 layer folded pad (making 4 layers) made from the same incredibly soft organic bamboo fleece, zigzag stitched and reinforced in a coordinating thread. (Please note the pretty freehand sewn "m" I decorate each core with! Just lovely!!)

You can wear the pad either side up as there is no waterproofing, but it was designed to have the print on top. The pad is surprisingly trim and incredibly absorbent. Remember that bamboo is 3 times as absorbent as cotton! I would consider this to be a heavy-flow pad, but everyone is different, so be sure to check your pad regularly."

That may have gone a little "stein" on you non-sewing fanatics, but believe me when I say they are very well made! What is most fantastic about Jenn is she is a self-taught seamstress who makes her mama cloth with love. She does not mass produce any of her wares, each pad is lovingly made one at a time from start-to-finish. There's no production-line. Anyone who loves handmade knows this is an important aspect of a well run handmade business!

How did Jenn get started with Matersum? She says, "I began making cloth pads (and cloth diapers, originally) as an extension of my green pledge which was motivated not by wanting to save the planet but by wanting to keep my home environment safe for my (then newborn) child. But since becoming entrenched in the cloth pad world, it's now the pads, themselves, that are are making me greener. Cloth pads and diapers opened my eyes to better ways of doing things and that is what I am most proud of."

While Jenn runs a lovely set of shops and a great blog , she is not without obstacles. one of the biggest obstacles she faces is "people's preconceived ideas about women and the menstrual cycle. Men are generally taught to be disgusted by it and women are taught to be ashamed of it. It's normal; it's natural; it's real; and it has to be acknowledged so we can just move on,"says Jenn.

And what better way to fully accept it than to use these beautiful pads? No, a woman's cycle is by no means entertaining, fun or luxurious, but perhaps one can feel a little more like the princesses that we are by using these lovely pads? Soft, eco-friendly and beautiful, what else do you need? (Besides a beach, daiquiri and a two hour nap....oh wait, that's just me.)

Another thing I appreciate about Jenn and her shop is her REALNESS! (I've decided that's a word, if it isn't.) She admits to perhaps not being the most fantastically organized business woman, because her love of sewing and eco-friendly handmade trumps her desire to do boring secretarial type things--something we can all likely sympathize with! Who wants spreadsheets when there is art to be made?

Jenn is real, her work is amazing and her belief in what she does and WHY she does it is something we should all look up to!

She clearly draws her inspiration from nature as evidenced by her fabric choices, and I think she may have a big of a fabric obsession like yours truly! But any seamstress will tell you high quality products start with high quality fabrics, and Jenn does a great job providing those.

Jenn doesn't currently belong to any teams, but does Twitter at
So be sure to check her out, send her a twitter and ask her about mama cloth! She'll gladly help you navigate your way if you need some guidance!!

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to do some window shopping......


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