There are 2 ways to do this…. The first and easiest way (how most people do it) is to simply cut out your top pad piece, and cut out your core piece. Typically this is something highly absorbent like cotton/hemp/bamboo. These can be cut into a strip that will run down the centre of the pad. You’ll want to make sure it doesn’t reach right to the edges of the pad so that you don’t sew into it when you sew up the pad. Then, lay the core piece onto the wrong side of the top piece – making sure it’s centred nicely.
Then sew it on. Your sewing machine foot should have little guide markings, you can use that to line up with the edge of the core, so you are sewing it evenly all the way around. This secures the core, so it won’t bunch up and shift around inside the pad, and also gives stitching lines ontop of the pad, which can look nice as well as helping to stop the flow leaking off the sides of the pad (they can help keep it centred)
To secure the thread ends, either go back and forward in the same spot a couple of times… or pull the threads through to the wrong side and tie them off. Now your core is securely sewn on, you can sew the pad up however you like.
You can leave it with just the one line of stitching, or you can move the needle to the far left and use the guide on your sewing machine foot to make another row of stitching. This time sew it on the right side of the pad so you can easily see what you are doing.
It can actually be really hard to get the core sewing perfectly centered on a pad or completely neat though (well, at least I find it hard)… if the core slips slightly as you are sewing, or you’ve not aligned it right, you can end up with off centered stitching…. so if you aren’t quite good with the channel stitching thing, but you like the look of it… here’s a slightly more complicated, but sometimes neater way to do channel lines.
It is done with my “hidden core” method, rather than sewing the core directly onto the top layer. But once the core is sewn onto the hidden layer, we then mark out where we want the channel lines to be, and sew them on – so it doesn’t matter if the core is sewn on wonky, your lines will be straight (er).
Start by taking a layer of flannel/flannelette or something else (a hidden layer). Sew the core piece to this, using a zigzag stitch around the edges (I have used contrasting fabric, thread and flannelette so you can more easily see what I’m talking about).
Sew on any extra layers. To make a thinner feeling pad, I like to have additional layers slightly narrower (as you can see in the image on the right), so they create a stepped effect so the pad doesn’t suddenly get thick at the core. But you can have all layers cut the same if you like.
Now, we add the channel lines. The easiest way is to make a template to use. Start by taking measurements of the pad, and use those and the shape of your pad to create a pleasing template design on paper that will become the shape of the stitching line you will have on the top of the pad (If you want a double line, you can use your template to make one line, then use that line as a guide to sew the next one). Make sure your template is symmetrical, and mark a line down the centre (or fold your paper in half if it’s not already been done)
To make sure the template is correctly aligned you can measure the width of the pad at both ends and in the centre – drawing a dot at halfway, then line up those dots to draw a line down the centre of the pad. You should now have a line exactly halfway down the pad. Now line up the centre fold/mark of the template with that line. Trace around your template onto the pad layer (on the opposite side to the side the core is sewn to, so you have a nice flat surface to trace onto), you should now have a guide for sewing your channel lines that is exactly centered.
Lay the hidden core piece on top of the top fabric piece, so that the core layers are between the traced on layer and the pad top, and the right side of the pad top is laying down on the machine plate. (I hope that makes sense) What we are going to do is sew the hidden layer to the top layer, so that the good side of the top layer has the channel lines.
Sew along your traced lines with a straight stitch (or a decorative one if your machine has them) – (the zigzag stitching is from sewing the core on)
You should then end up with the same affect as having the core sewn directly to the top layer, but you can mark everything out a bit more easily because you can scribble all over that hidden core layer and nobody will ever see it :) – so it is a bit easier to get the channel lines right because you can give yourself markings and draw it all out.
If you want a double line of stitching, Flip the pad over so you’re working on the front/top of the pad (or leave it and do it on the underside, I guess it makes no difference), and use the foot of your sewing machine as a guide (Some machines let you move the needle position and have markings on the foot) – so you can line up a marking with the stitching you’ve already done, so that you can make sure the next line of stitching you do is the same distance from the other line… I seem to have lost the rest of the pics for this tutorial showing you how to do that – so you’ll have to imagine what it looks like, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out…