Friday, July 5, 2013

I Think Diapers are Just Dandy

The firs diapers I ever sewed

So, I was just sewing up more inserts for my diapers and the thought occurred to me that as much as I wish more parents would be brave enough to experience the joys of cloth diapering, the cloth diapering parents should consider sewing.
I learned to sew with cloth diapers so it can't be that hard. Each diaper is a quick project taking as little as 20 minutes for a cover to an hour and a half for an embellished pocket diaper.
I realized that I have gotten to the point where the majority of my stash is hand made. That is something I get to be very proud of. I have only a handful of store bought diapers left (4 Happy Heinys pockets, Flip Day pack, 2 Kissaluvs contours, and a few prefolds and inserts).

Benefits of Sewing Your Own Cloth Diapers

  1. Better fit: When you sew the diapers you can choose a pattern that fits your baby well, or make your own. Best of all your can evolve that pattern as you go fixing any fit issues until you have it perfect.
  2. Custom and Unique: The diapers you sew can't be bought at any store, you will be the only one with that diaper. You get to pick the features you like, the fabric you like and the design.
  3. Style: You may find that you just can't find a PUL in a pattern you like, that's ok, you can use any fabric you like over the PUL creating a truly one of a kind diaper.
  4. Savings: Cloth diapering is a big investment upfront, but we don't mind making it because we know that we will see big savings in comparison to the long term purchasing of  disposables. The investment can be made smaller though. Some moms like to raid the linen closet, and cut up old T-shirts, even wool sweaters, making their stash almost free, not ambitious enough for that, that's ok. I made a dozen fitted diapers, making my diapers for $3.50 a piece. Good luck buying them that cheap.
  5. Pride: There is just something that feels good about being able to say I made that.
I am going to issue a challenge to every cloth diapering mother or father out there with a sewing machine to give it  a try, and sew a diaper. It's easy, I promise. I will even give some advice on fabric, and design.

My early diaper covers were made with Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) and Fold Over Elastic (FOE). These were extremely simple. You cut out a diaper pattern in the PUL and bind the edges with FOE using a zigzag stitch and stretching the elastic when sewing around the back and the legs. After that you can attach Aplix (diaper quality velcro) or snaps and your done. The best advice I can give here is to put a little scotch tape on your presser foot to help the fabric glide smoothly through.
Once I had mastered diaper covers I moved on to pocket diapers. There was quite a learning curve for me here. I made a few with flannel and PUL and they all leaked. No matter what I did, I just couldn't get them right, they were too tight to get your hand in to stuff, they couldn't handle use for more than an hour or so, and if baby had a movement, yikes. I decided to take inspiration form my Happy Heiny's, I eliminated the elastic casing in the legs and fixed the elastic against the lining fabric on the inside, now my diapers were easy to stuff. I also changed the lining, using everything from polyester velvet, and wicking pique to microfiber fleece (I bought mine at Wazoodle and it is amazingly thick, I am afraid to order this anywhere else now for fear it wont live up to expectations). I even switched the closure from snaps to aplix and my pocket diapers are now my favorite for night time.
After so many alterations to my diaper pattern I now have it perfected (till she grows too much). I have even reached a level of skill in sewing these that the possiblity of making and selling cloth diapers feels realistic.
If you are having issues with your diaper pattern you can scrap it and find another or you can fix it. Start by making sure the size is right. Measure your babies rise and waist, do they match up to your pattern. Try adjusting the amount of elastic you are using in the legs.
So hopefully I have convinced you to try sewing a few diapers. I promise you the effort is well worth it.
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