Once upon a time, there was a young woman named Emília Keszey. She lived in Hungary during the Second World War and taught herself how to stitch her own cloth pads. Women gathered in female only circles, where men were not welcome. Rationing meant they were forced to be innovative during their periods. Fabric was scarce and it was difficult to find the right things to use at that time of the month, so Emilia and many other women made their own cloth pads.
Many years later, Emilia, now aged 90, told her granddaughter all about her wartime experiences, including how she used to make her own cloth pads when German and Russian soldiers were everywhere. The girl listened to her grandmother’s stories and thought how comfortable and eco-friendly cloth menstrual pads sounded. Then Emilia passed away, but her memory, her stories, and that brilliant idea of making cloth menstrual pads, all lived on in the mind of her granddaughter, Monika.
As a young child, Monika mispronounced her grandmother’s name and called her Emilla, which soon spread to everyone who knew her. Shortly after her death, Monika wanted to honour her grandmother’s long life, so she started a business, selling cloth menstrual pads, and named it Emilla Pads after her grandmother.
I began chatting with Monika a couple of months ago and she very kindly offered to send me three pads for review: one small sized Aphrodite pad, one medium sized Penelope pad and one large sized Athene pad. After using these pads for a few cycles, I can now review them fully.
Small Aphrodite pad (liner) – 20cm / 7” cotton top, TPU back
The Emilla Aphrodite pad liners have quickly become some of my very favourites. Measuring just over 20cm / 7” in length and 5cm / 2” wide once snapped up, they are so thin, trim and light that I barely noticed I was wearing them. The liner sat where it was supposed to sit and it was comfortable. I liked the liner Monika sent me so much that I ended up purchasing two more! I used these for both cup backup and as an everyday liner for regular discharge. If you wear cloth liners everyday then I really recommend the Aphrodite as you can’t feel them in your underwear. Perfect for hot summer weather!
Medium Penelope pad (heavy flow) 25cm / 9.8” cotton flannel top, bamboo fleece core, TPU back
I’m not a great lover of cotton flannel as a pad topper fabric, therefore my experience with this style was a bit hit and miss. I find flannel hot and I dislike how quickly the material appears to age. If this would also bother you then I would not recommend flannel as a pad topper material – this is something I have only learned through trial and error. Even so, I liked the size, width and shape of the Penelope overall. The pad held up very well on my heavy day, as in it didn’t leak, but I did use the wing extender (more on the Emilla wing extenders below) as I found it a tad too narrow for my underwear – 2” in width when snapped up. As I liked the size and shape of this style generally, I purchased another two but with cotton tops. In cotton, as I expected, they were a dream!
Large Athene pad (heavy flow) 27cm / 10.6” cotton top, bamboo fleece core, TPU back
Similar in size to the Penelope, but a slightly wider style – 2.5” snapped up. I absolutely loved using this pad. It was super thin for a heavy pad and the fabric really tickled me. Each time I went to the toilet and looked down, there was a giant eye staring back. It held up brilliantly on my heavy day when I was at work and felt thin and breathable. Whilst the choice of fabric may not be to everyone’s taste, I’m a huge fan of the Emilla eye pad. It’s like having a piece of modern art in my knickers!
Because of the TPU backing, these cloth pads have a tendency to naturally bunch a little once snapped up. This may not sound ideal, but it wasn’t something I especially noticed when I was wearing them. It affected neither the wear-ability nor function of any of the pads I tested.
In a nutshell, Emilla pads are made from high-quality materials, are very neatly stitched together, do not leak, come with a detailed information booklet and are very comfortable to wear. The heavy Emilla pads are some of the thinnest heavy pads in my collection now and I would recommend anyone wishing to add a great quality cloth pad to their stash to buy some from Emilla.
What else does Emilla offer?
Emilla also sells a brilliant stain stick in two versions: regular and vegan. I was sent a sample of the vegan stain stick and it worked really well on my soiled cloth pads.
Cup spots / cup coasters
These are sold in an array of cute fabrics. Here are two examples of Emilla’s adorable cup spots.
The wing extenders are incredibly useful for tailoring any Emilla pad to your style of underwear. I didn’t use the extender with my Aphrodite, but I did with the Penelope and Athene styles.
Travel drying strap
An innovative new space-saving design from Monika at Emilla pads finds its way to you in the form of a travel-drying strap. A simple concept made from cotton and a few metal snaps, but incredibly useful for anyone who shares living space with other people and would like to dry their cloth pads discreetly. I will be using mine whenever I travel. While this has yet to launch on the Emilla website, it is happening soon so watch this space!