Sew and Grow, Save and Recycle Your Way Into Preparedness – Part 1, by S.T.

As a society, we all rely upon a vast amount of manufactured products every day from canning jars and lids to dishes to pots and pans to toothpaste and dental floss. This list goes on and on. However, we can not forget that gasoline and diesel fuel and electricity are the most important manufactured items. Without these there will no longer be any other mass produced manufactured items made or delivered to a store near you.

Every disposable item that you can now replace with reusable items will put you well ahead of the sheeple, save you money, and make you more prepared. Do you want to save from $25,000 to $100,000 per year and become better prepared?

On average each and every woman will spend over $7,500 from puberty to menopause on disposable feminine hygiene products. Now add to that cost of toilet paper, kleenex, paper towels, paper napkins, paper plates, and other disposable products that people purchase every week and month that are thrown in the trash or down the toilet. Just check out the other shopping carts next time you are in line at the grocery store. If you have two daughters that is over $22,000 for the three females in the house to purchase just the disposable feminine hygiene products over their lifetime. Then add to this the cost of toilet paper.

Ten dollars per month may not sound like a lot of money. However, if you spend just $10 per month per person on toilet paper, then the $10 x 12 months = $120 per year x 50 years = $6,000 per person x a 4-female family = $24,000.

The most important simple disposable manufactured products that we reply upon everyday is feminine hygiene products and toilet paper. How many rolls of toilet paper does your family go through each month? I know I used a whole roll of 1,000 sheet Scott toilet paper in just six hours when I had a bladder infection.

I know I do not have the storage space to store five or 10+ years of these products, and I do not want to waste money to purchase this amount of products. Although I do have a good supply, and these are now being used only for visitors and future barter. So, I have decided to not only produce the reusable versions of these important items but to incorporate them into our everyday life. I have never used paper towels or paper napkins in our house, as I made washable ones so the transition was an easy one for us.

Just as important as the money savings is the health benefits of producing needed items yourself. We all remember reading about the Chinese toxic toothpaste and we hear about contaminated food recalls nearly every day. There are so many other items we can produce on our own from food to medicines.


With just some simple planning and just a few hundred dollars and some of my time, I produced not only enough for my family for 20 plus years but enough for future trade or sale of washable toilet paper and feminine hygiene products.

My own fabric supply was limited to cotton ticking, cotton duck, soft solid color pale cottons However, after my step-mother died, my father asked me to clear out her sewing room and gave me all of the fabric. This equaled five moving boxes full of fabric. This was all 100% cotton print that she used in her quilt making. This has been put to good use by me in making washable toilet paper and feminine hygiene kits, not only for my family’s use today and in the future but also for future barter or sale.

Items need to produce reusable products:

  • Patterned fabric for each female in the house
  • Cotton batting for each female in the house
  • Patterned fabric for each male in the house
  • Plain non-patterned colored cotton fabric
  • 6” quilting square
  • Pens
  • Empty cereal boxes (for patterns)
  • Empty Kleenex boxes (for bathroom storage)
  • Thread
  • Sewing needles
  • Peri bottles for each family member (available from Amazon or at Precious Arrows)
  • Empty cat litter buckets (to place next to the toilet to hold soiled items)
  • Sewing machine (optional)

Note: Fabric of a different pattern for each family member should be used, to avoid confusion and to maximize hygiene.

Instructions; For washable toilet paper

Mark and cut each fabric selection into 6” squares, I used a 6″ quilting square, take 2 of the non-patterned fabric pieces sandwiched between 2 of the 6” patterned squares of fabric. Pin and sew a zigzag stitch 2 times around the fabric. Fabric is tactile and will move under your pen and quilting square, so after sewing if you may want to trim all 4 sides with pinking shears if you desire. I do this for ones I intend to sell but not ones I use at home.

If a sewing machine is not available a simple blanket stitch around all 4 sides works well. If you do not have a sewing machine trim with the pinking sheers before sewing.

Instructions for washable feminine hygiene products:

  1. Take one of the disposable items and trace onto an empty cereal box to make a pattern. Then trace and cut your fabric and also your batting. I purchase this type of batting. (On eBay)
  2. Place a piece of the batting between two pieces of fabric. This can be sewed with a zigzag stitch on the sewing machine or with a blanket stitch by hand. I love hand sewing (over a sewing machine), so I sew these by hand in the evening while watching the news. I can sew one in less than an hour by hand while watching the news. I make two sizes. The daytime size is 8” long and the nighttime is 12” long.

    If need be, you can increase the batting to two or three pieces. Now, if batting is no longer available, increase the fabric pieces to six or eight layers thick to replace the batting.

    I do not make ones with wings, because not only do you need a fancy machine to attach the plastic snaps but the plastic snaps are manufactured in Asia and will not be available in the future. If you feel like you need it, you can secure the pads in place with good old safety pins.

Instructions for washable dish towels:

  1. I use cotton ticking fabric and cut the fabric 17” X 12” in
  2. Just hem the fabric on all four sides.

Instructions for washable cloth napkins:

  1. I use cotton duck fabric in black and cut fabric 15” X 15”
  2. Just hem the fabric on all four sides.

Post-SHTF Business Ideas

Learning to make things yourself will not only help you become more prepared but these supplies and skills can become a future post-SHTF business, if you desire. Other items that a family can to add if considering making products as a post-SHTF business venture or just want to become more prepared include:

  • Clutch to hold clean menstrual pads. (Use just two pieces of fabric, see the picture below of the template I made and the picture of the completed clutch.)
  • Clutch to hold used menstrual pads. (Use just one piece of fabric and one piece of plastic. For the plastic, I purchased from IKEA cheap plastic bags that are used to cover suits in the closet. However, as a warning, note that ones with plastic can not be put in a clothes dryer.)
  • Aprons.
  • Kitchen hot pads.
  • Cloth diapers. (There are a lot of different patterns available in .pdf on the Internet. Most of the patterns show using the fancy machine and the plastic snaps from Asia. However the old fashioned safety pins still work well. For ease and cost savings, get a one-size-fits-all pattern. I like this free downloadable .pdf pattern.)
  • Washable face masks. (Shoe strings from the dollar store are used for the ties.)
  • Wonder ovens. (These can not be put in a dryer, so add a loop to hang on the clothes line.)
  • Clothes pin bags. (I use a toddler size three or four button down shirt with the bottom sewed shut.)
  • Needle books.
  • Draft dodgers.
  • Window quilts.
  • Templates. (The 6” quilting square is used for the washable toilet paper; the white card stock template is for a clutch to hold washable pads.)
  • Yards of fabric and batting pressed and marked with the templates, waiting to be cut.
  • Stacks of fabric, cut and waiting to be assembled and sewed.
  • Stacks of completed pads, waiting for their their new home.
  • A completed needle book filled and ready for use. (The pattern that I used was just an 8 1/2” X 11” piece of card stock and three pieces of fabric for the book. Then, I used three pieces of smaller white fabric for the interior pages. This makes a perfect sewing kit for use while traveling or in a bug out bag. This is my needle book and I use it every day to hold sewing needles and sewing pins.
  • Completed clutches, waiting for their new home.