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It's a fact: as we get older, bladder control declines. This can be a disheartening fact of life, but there are ways to get around this problem. One of the best ways to keep your bladder in control is to wear incontinence underwear. Incontinence underwear, also known as period panties, offers protection to people who have difficulties holding their bladder, or they can be a great option for women on their periods.
These underwear have a hidden layer of absorbent material that can be worn discreetly under regular clothes. But not just any old fabric will do. Some types are better than others. We have partnered with AKAS Textiles, Lycra, CoolMax, Cotton Inc & Silvadur to design & create the best fabrics for making incontinence underwears or period panties.
Incontinence Underwear (or Period Panties) generally have two sections – the shell and the gusset. In regular panties the gusset is a single layer of a thin fabric like cotton jersey. But for accommodating periods or incontinence the gusset will need to have the features usually present in cloth pads:
There are several ways of accomplishing this and it depends on the design of the underwear and your personal preference. (We have no recommendations for patterns - if you have a pattern and would like to share it with others, please send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll post it up here)
The most popular and comfortable material for the shell is Cotton Stretch-Fit Jersey. There are several other options depending on how light you would like it to be, but any soft fabric with Stretch-FIT will ensure it fits well, has good recovery from stretch, and feels great against your skin. The addition of Lycra in these fabrics ensures good recovery from stretch. There are several options for elastics also. There are latex free elastics in the Fold Over, Mobilon and Knitted elastic categories.
When it comes to incontinence underwear, or period panties, it’s vital that you’re comfortable and the easiest way to stay comfortable is to find a fabric that is moisture wicking so you can stay dry.
A moisture wicking stay dry layer of fabric will ensure that your underwear is comfortable all day long. All our Stay Dry fabrics are manufactured in the USA in quality-controlled facilities without using toxic chemicals and finishes and have been specially designed for using in reusable period panties.
The benefit of a moisture wicking stay dry layer is that it will quickly move moisture away from your skin and bring it to the super absorbent layer to leave you feeling dry.
Though we have a wide variety of options our top three recommendations for this layer of your gusset are our ProCool TransWICK Supima Cotton Jersey, ProCool TransWICK X-FIT Sports Jersey, or our ProCool TransWICK Jersey LITE.
All three of these fabrics are engineered to quickly pull moisture away from your skin. They are uniquely engineered from premium hydrophobic and hydrophilic fibers. The hydrophobic yarns push the water away from the skin and the hydrophilic ones pull the water to the outside of the product. Make sure to use the mesh side against your skin!
If Zorb Original is used for the absorbent core ProCool Performance Jersey or Performance Interlock are also great choices for the skin touching layer.
The absorbent layer of fabric in your incontinence underwear of period panties is vital to ensure that you do not have any unwanted messes. When choosing an absorbent fabric you want to ensure that your layer is going to evenly disperse the liquid to maximize comfort, while also being confident that the fabric is going to absorb all the liquid.
Our super absorbent fabrics are manufactured in the USA in quality-controlled facilities without using toxic chemicals or finishes and have been specially designed for making incontinence/period wear!
Unlike other absorbent fabrics, our Ready-AbZORB™ fabrics don’t require pre-wash, which means you can use them the instant they're delivered to your door. Plus, our Zorb® Fabrics absorb 10 times their weight in under 2 seconds and soak up 20 times faster than other imported fabrics. Whether you’re out and about, or lounging at home you’ll be thankful that our fabric absorbs quickly and effectively to keep you feeling fresh longer.
Zorb Original or Zorb 3D Dimples LITE are our top recommendations when it comes to choosing an absorbent fabric for your underwear.
Zorb 3D Dimples LITE is our best option because it is thin yet super absorbent and does not need to be interlined between fabrics. We have 3 different styles available in the Zorb 3D Dimples (Bamboo, Polyester, and Organic Cotton). You can use any of the 3 materials as the absorbent layer in your period panties or incontinence underwear depending on your design preference. Each style of fabric is going to be equally absorbent.
Zorb Original is an interlining type of material, so it will need to be stitched or serged between 2 layers of fabric before use. Our Zorb Original fabric is the most economically absorbent option, as long as you’re willing to do the extra step to ensure that it’s properly layered.
Incontinence underwear and period layers need at least three layers of fabric to ensure that you’re left feeling dry, confident, and mess free. You need a moisture wicking stay dry layer to keep you dry, an absorbent layer to keep you from messes or discomfort, and a waterproof layer to ensure that you don’t leak!
When choosing a waterproof material for your underwear, we recognize that you’re going to want something that is comfortable and reliable. Our collection of waterproof fabrics are manufactured in the USA in quality-controlled facilities without using toxic chemicals or finishes and have been specially designed for use in reusable articles.
Our Waterproof fabrics are available in a wide range of colors and styles including bamboo and organic cottons if you prefer a natural fabric layer. The Cotton Jersey Stretch-FIT PUL is the most preferred choice for using in period panties, along with our 1 mil PUL. If you’re looking for a more durable and stronger fabric, try our collection of 2 mil PUL fabrics, which are very popular for heavy duty needs.
Each of these options will provide you with a material that you can be confident won’t leak. Our fabrics are also gentle on your skin so you don’t need to worry about potential skin irritations from any harsh chemicals.
For optimal performance, period panties require a combination of multiple fabrics, but our all in one fabrics combing the stay dry, waterproof, and absorbent features into one fabric.
This prevents you from having to cut multiple fabrics, serge material together, sew multiple layers, and it saves you money! Instead, you only need one fabric to create the desired shape and style for your underwear.
Save money and time on your period panties and incontinence underwear by purchasing absorbent, stay dry and waterproof features in one layer with these Zorb 4D and ProSoft EcoPUL + ProECO fabrics.
All of our fabrics are free from any harmful chemicals, and they are proudly made in the USA. As always, we do recommend you purchase a swatch first, so you can see and feel the fabric before purchasing a larger quantity for your specific application.
Be sure to check out fabrics featuring Antimicrobial Silver that have been infused with silver ions to help control odor, create long-lasting freshness, and inhibit bacterial growth. You’re going to feel more confident knowing that any odors are going to be controlled.
Once you have your fabric layers picked out, you will also need to ensure that you have elastics to keep your underwear in place.
The elastics below are made in USA and known to be durable, any of them would work well for your underwear.
*Disclaimer: The above article and recommendations are based solely on the author’s knowledge of our fabrics, understanding of the guidance documents and the articles referenced. Links to all references have been provided above so you can read and understand them yourself and make your decision. We do not make any claims to the effectiveness of the product. No tests were performed to substantiate the recommendations.