Thursday, January 26, 2012

Cloth Diapering on the Cheap

There's no doubt that cloth diapering can be expensive, with all the different styles, colors, prints and what not.  But there are definitely ways that you can cloth diaper on the cheap while still having the "cute" factor.  There are many different routes you can take and so many different diapers you can purchase.  As mentioned before in previous posts, with a newborn, fitteds and covers are a no fail solution.  They can also be very inexpensive, especially if you make your own.  That's right!  If you can work a sewing machine and a pair of scissors, you could sew your own fitteds.

I have recently taken on the challenge just to see exactly how easy they really are to sew, how absorbent, and just how small I can make them.  After googling for a free fitted pattern, I found one that I love!  I also found another website that informs what types of materials you can use.  You could easily buy aplix (Velcro) at a fabric store to use for closure, but it tends to wear out and/or lose its stickiness over time with multiple washings.  So then I got looking into buying my own snap pliers and snaps.
Here are the details:

1.   I found this newborn pattern online by Darling Diapers.  She includes two different sizes for FREE.  Can't beat that!  The only thing is she did not include instructions.  So after watching a few YouTube tutorials on making cloth diapers (I know, right?  Who would have thought that YouTube would have tutorials for this type of'd be surprised!) I figured out how I want my fitted to be along with instructions.  I am in love!  I haven't played around with the larger size yet, or tried a pattern for a larger infant, but keep in mind that fitteds work wonderful for nighttime on any age/size of baby.

2.  After finding a pattern that looked like it would be the size I wanted (for a newborn and not huge.  I compared it to a Lil Joey newborn diaper as I really like the sizing of those), next came figuring out what types of materials to use to make the diaper.  I found a website that specifically suggested using cotton interlock or stretch french terry for the outside layer.  For the hidden layer, cotton interlock or an old T-shirt.  For the inner layer (the one baby's skin will be against) cotton velour (blend of 80% cotton/20% polyester).  Cotton velour works well as it feels less wet than other fabrics and it is absorbent as well.  You can really make the outside layer out of just about anything you have laying around the house.  T-shirts, old fabric scraps, sheets, etc.

3.  I looked around and found snap pliers that were very inexpensive through KAMsnaps and also purchased some plastic snaps in black and white (just basic colors, but something that would match anything I made).  I love the snaps!  They are quite easy to use and they give it such a nice, finished look.  My snap pliers were only $20.95 and right now they are doing a deal where you can buy one get one for $2!  So you could go in on it with a friend, get the $2 pair, and split the total cost of the pliers.  Great deal!  I bought my snaps in complete sets of 100.  Each complete set of 100 is $5.  Not bad at all!  So for 2 snap pliers and the tools needed to set snaps, and 200 complete sets of plastic snaps it cost me a grand total of $33.95 with tax, shipping, and all.  And they arrived very quickly as well!

4.  I had some leftover elastic (I used 1/4") so I used this to try them out with.  If you want strong, lasting elastic it is suggested you use Elastin or Diaper/swimsuit elastic.

Here's what I used and instructions of how I put it together:

I found this Free fitted pattern by Darling Diapers.  It has two newborn patterns in different sizes (a 5-10.5 lbs and 7-12 lbs).  I used the smaller one in red.

I first found an old shirt in a stretchy cotton and used that for the Outer Layer of the diaper (the one in green).  The second go around I just used a pretty print cotton in a fat quarter I had (you can get 2 diapers out of a fat quarter) which was nonstretchy.  The stretchy is a little bit more difficult to work with, but turns out very soft.

I had an old flat cloth diaper (that I have only ever used for spit up rags) and cut a layer out of that for my hidden layer.

This pattern also provides a pattern for a hidden soaker (for added absorbency) and/or a booster that would lay in the diaper.  I chose to go with a hidden sewn-in soaker.  I used some automotive microfiber towels I already had and cut one in half, folded it on top of itself, and sewed the 2 layers together.  Microfiber is wonderfully absorbent, but if you were to make a booster out of it to lay in the diaper, you would want to make sure and cover it in some other fabric.  Because microfiber is incredibly absorbent it draws the moisture out of anything touching it.  If baby's skin is laying against it, poor baby will end up with a raw bum.  Make note!

For the inner layer, I got the idea from my Kissaluvs size 0 newborn fitteds.  With them being terry like a towel, I just used some terry cleaning cloths I have.

Assembly (use 3/8" seam allowance):
Note:  Make sure to wash and dry all your fabric on HOT prior to using.
1.  I cut out all the layers for my diaper out of the different fabrics.
2.  Sew the Hidden layer to the wrong side of the Outside layer .
3.  If using snaps, now is when you will want to use your template to mark the location of the snaps.  I first poked holes in the template and then laid it over the right side of my Outside layer and using an ink pen, dotted the places for the snaps.
4.  Now you will want to set the snaps that are on the front (belly side) of the diaper.  (The diaper will be much too thick for the snaps to go through all layers and the hidden soaker as well).  I used females snaps on this part with the flat caps of the snaps on the inside.
5.  Pin soaker to backside of Inner layer of diaper and sew in place.  Make sure that your soaker does not extend all the way to the edge of the diaper (on the belly side) as it will be extremely difficult to place the snap down umbilical notch snap through all layers of the diaper when finished if it has to go through the soaker as well.
6.  Take the Outside layer (which is now attached to the hidden layer if you've chosen to use one) and the Inner layer and place right sides together.  Sew around the edge making sure to leave plenty of room at the front (belly side) of the diaper to flip right side out.  I place a pin at each end of my opening, start at one pin and sew around to the other.
7.  Using your pattern template, mark the placement of elastic (sunburst markings).  Sew on the elastic on the OUTSIDE of your stitching that is holding your diaper fabrics together.  (I hope this makes sense).
8.  Turn the diaper right side out and topstitch around the edge, making sure to go out and around the elastic while stretching the elastic to make a casing.  Make sure to fold under the opening at the front of your diaper and hold in place while topstitching across it to close it up.
9.  Attach male snaps onto the wings of the diaper as well as  in the front near the top edge for the umbilical snap down.

And you did it!  You can also make a cover with PUL (polyester urethane laminate) using this same pattern as well.  Use the pattern as-is and bind with FOE (fold over elastic).

You can see in my pictures above that the diapers turned out a little differently from one another.  The green one lays nicer, I think because of the soft, stretchy T-shirt fabric I used, but the pink one was definitely easier and quicker to sew.  The green one was the first one I made.  I didn't like how long the wings were, so when making the second one (pink) I shortened the wings on my pattern by about 1/2".  I also decided to put only one snap on each wing with the second as I found all the others were not necessary, especially after shortening the wings.  The picture of the 3 diapers from the side shot are comparing the two I made to to the green Lil Joey on the far left.

Now get looking around your house for things you can make diapers out of and cloth diaper your newborn on the cheap!


No comments:

Post a Comment