94 year old mom won't wear the big bulky ones I paid $40 for!

They really are balloonish. Like bloomers even!

Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Do they absolutely have to be washable and reusable? The whole thing?

You can get mesh underpants for inserts, if you'd consider a compromise. Most people report that the meshes are very comfortable indeed (they stretch to fit in all directions, and you wear them with the seams facing out so they don't even tickle), and then you also have some flexibility about what pads to fit in them - lighter absorbencies during the day, bigger ones at night, and all of the major brands offer different types for specific uses too.

I watched a colleague preparing one for a client the other day, and it reminded me that practice really does make perfect! Fit the pad to the mesh, stretch it out like ordinary underpants, and voilà! All ready for the person to pop straight on, you'd hardly have known the difference from everyday knickers. It's all about the technique :)
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Reply to Countrymouse
mojo61 May 19, 2020
Thanks Countrymouse! We'll try it!
Thanks, Tothill!
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Reply to mojo61

You can find a great many patterns online for making ones for babies. I have to say though that cloth diapers for babies are much bulkier than disposable ones. I doubt you could get the protection you need in washable without them being bulky.
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Reply to Tothill

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