cloth nursing pads were invaluable to me for the first months or so. I think I had three or four sets or more that I rotated, and my favorites were non-stick on the inside and thin enough at the edges that you couldn't see them from the outside (through your shirt).
I found two patterns online for these. One was from Pampered Cheeks and the other was from Kayla's Cloth Kits. The Pampered Cheeks pattern gave good advice, like to use bamboo or hemp material so they wouldn't hold the smell of milk and stink. But it required more pieces per pad. It did end up with a contoured rather than flat pad, which seems useful~ although all the ones I used were flat and worked fine. The advantage of her pattern was that it could be made from scraps. I looked for some scraps and didn't have any useful ones. So I opted for Kayla's pattern, which was basic circles. Both patterns had rough edges (i.e. zig-zagged or serged rather than turned and topstitched). I suppose that is better so there is less bulk through the shirt.
To make these, I used white PUL on the outside, one layer of Zorb inside, and a layer of white suedecloth inside. PUL is waterproof and I thought the white would be most neutral. Zorb is great for being thin and absorbant. Suedecloth is a feel-dry layer for next to the skin, which means it will quickly wick any moisture away and leave mom feeling dry. I hope it is non-stick.
Kayla's pattern was easy to cut. Her layout instructions were very clear. She had the outer circle as slightly larger than the other circles, and sadi that it would roll in slightly when stitched with the other layers. I was surprised and pleased to find this to be the case. On my first pad, I had the inner and middle layers identical. When stitching it, the middle layer peeked out a little, since my cutting wasn't all that precise (i.e. the identical layers weren't exactly the same all around). On the subsequent pads, I cut the middle layer to be all hidden by the inner layer. This worked, and the layer was hidden on all the other pads. I don't have a serger, so I used a wide and mid-length zig-zag.
I'd recommend this pattern. I am happy with how they turned out, and hope my friend is, too.