Wednesday, January 21, 2009

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Do-It Yourself: How to Make Cloth Diapers

Need: Fabric (fleece, flannel, old t-shirt, PUL, micro-terry), thread, paper, scissors and sewing machine

PhotobucketThis basic instruction can be changed to make a diaper that suits your needs. In making a diaper I wanted one that was easy to make, I take easy as less them an hour project. I will try to put in where changes could be made to improve this basic design.
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PhotobucketTalking about design, the first thing that needs to be done is a pattern. I make my patterns by making half of the diaper I want. I either trace a cloth diaper I want or a disposable that fits my baby well. You only want to do half because you want the diaper to be symmetrical. I took a disposable that I had and traced that and then changed the areas that I wanted a little different. I make the crotch skinnier and the tabs longer. Once your design is on paper cut it out and you have your pattern. You can save this basic pattern for making others and them you just have to lengthen where you need it bigger, usually in the rise of the diaper.



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PhotobucketThe kind of fabric you use can really vary by what you have on hand or if you want to use a diaper cover or not. I make mine to be used with a diaper cover,Photobucket or without a diaper cover and bottoms. My first ones I made were out of flannel (inside and out) and micro-terry cloth soaker. In my example I used fleece on the inside, flannel on the outside and micro-terry cloth as the soaker. Another option would be PUL on the outside and either flannel or fleece on the inside. You can also use other soakers, extra layers on flannel, an old flat diaper or old t-shirts also work as good soakers. I pick micro-terry because it holds a lot and is cheaply found in the automotive department of stores.

Photobucket Once you have your pattern and the fabric picked out, you will go on to cutting out your fabric. You will only need your inside and outside fabric and not your soaker. You will want to fold your fabric in half (make sure if there is a pattern on it, it is the way you want it to be. In my example I wanted the cats to be the right way in the front of the diaper, but they are upside down in the back. If I wanted that different I would have needed a crotch seam). You want to pin the pattern with the half line on the fold. Once pinned, you can cut the fabric out.

Photobucket Once the pattern is cut you will want to unpin it and lay both pieces flat with right sides together (that would be the sides you want showing)





PhotobucketNow you can sew a straight stitch all along the sides of the diaper, make sure to leave an opening in the back big enough to put you soaker fabric in. Also make sure to back stitch when starting and stopping, this will make turning right side out easier. Once stitched, you will want to turn right side out.


Photobucket Now you have to decide if you want to make it like a pocket diaper or a contoured diaper. For a pocket diaper you will want to fold the extra fabric in the back down inside the diaper and do a zigzag stitch around the opening. You can then leave in like that and put in your insert (soaker) or zigzag around the edge of the diaper and then put in your insert. In my example I make a contoured diaper. After turning right side out I put what I wanted to use for a soaker in to the opening (I folded the micro-terry cloth in fourths the long way).



Photobucket You have to make sure that the cloth is all the way up in the front and then cut off whatever hanging out of the opening. Then close up the opening, pin the opening shut and zigzag all the way around the diaper.


Photobucket To put on I use a snappi to keep the diaper close and a diaper cover over that.




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If you made it with PUL on the outside you would want to add elastic around the back and legs. You would also want to add Velcro to for the closure. You would also want to add elastic if you wanted more of a fitted diaper and did not want to depend on the cover catching the poo mess. I have used this pattern with a cover and have not had any blow outs. It all depends on what you want and what works for your child. This is one reason I liked this idea; I could change it many different ways and still have the basic simple idea I started with.

- by Angela S.

34 comments:

Angela Sundara... etc said...

I love the chunky thighs of the baby in the last picture. The first cloth diaper I made was copied from a disposable, too! I graduated the lengths on the soaker so the thickness wouldn't prop my baby's butt off the ground.

the momma said...

great tutorial! I plan on working on some homemade cloth dipes for DD#3's newborn days. I'm figuring that if I make them more like a contour diaper, I can use them as an insert in our fuzzis and bumgeniuses once she's big enough! I love the cat fabric, too!

Serena said...

Thanks Angela! This is an excellent pictorial for making a cloth diaper!

This has motivated me to get my sewing machine out and give it a try.

Actually, on second thought - I will make a homeschooling lesson out of this! My daughters can help participate in making some cloth diapers for their dolls - and in the process they'll be learning a LOT and having FUN!

Senior Family said...

i wish i had the patience to do that :(

Katrina said...

Gosh, I really wish I had a sewing machine. It would be so much fun to make my own diapers with cute prints...

KayStarGoesRawr said...

Thank you, THANK YOU!!! I'm going to try that out. (:

Angela said...

Serena-
That would be a great HS project. The first diaper I tried making ended up being a doll diaper because it turned out much to small for my baby. My other daughter loved it for her doll though.

Umm Sayf said...

Yes! I want to try too! I have known for years that it was possible to make your own dipers, but haven't ever had a tutorial good enough to make me actually sit down and do it. Maybe this is the one! God willing.
And I love Serena's idea of making it a homeschooling lesson for the older ones! yippie! Gotta love real life schooling! :)

Cecile said...

Check out this website, if you can sew (unfortunately, I can't... yet!)
http://fernandfaerie.com/sewing_prefolds.html

This one is in French, if anybody else out there is fluent:
http://crearsouille.blogspot.com/search/label/Cr%C3%A9er%20ses%20couches%20lavables

Make your own baby leg warmer using socks:
http://everythingyourmamamade.com/2008/01/21/make-your-own-baby-leg-warmers/

Cecile said...

What fabric to put next to the baby's skin? What type of fabric should NOT be touching baby's skin?

Where I come from, people are really big on all-cotton for babies, from cloth diaper to sleepsacks.

Chic Mama said...

I made a couple of diapers for our son and wasn't planning on it for our next babe, but I don't know... maybe I'll have to give it a try again!

Kelly said...

I am excited about visiting the local fabric store to see what I can get and then finally pulling out my sewing machine from our moving boxes still in the basement.

Does anyone know where you can get some PUL fabric? Or is that only something you can buy in bulk?

Amanda said...

Very exciting! Thank you for sharing this!!! I can not wait to try and make some of my own diapers. We plan on trying for baby # 2 in December so between now and them hopefully I can build up a really good supply...especially newborn sizes since I have heard the the Bum Genius one size diaps run pretty big for the first month or so.

QUESTION: If I use PUL, I won't need a diaper cover right? And could I add velcro (hook & loop closure) instead of using a snapi?

Serena said...

PUL can only be found/purchased online - as far as I know (I tried 3 different fabric stores - and I live in a fairly large city and no one had a clue as to what I was talking about).

Here's one website I found which carries it: http://www.celticclothswholesale.com/fabric_3/PUL-fabric-by-the-yard.htm

WARNING: It's a bit expensive!

Angela said...

Next to babies skin you want either flannel or fleece, I suppose any cotton or knit would work too. You just do not want the micro-terry fiber next to the skin.
I have check in to PUL- I have found it only online and it is pricey, you want to know what your doing before you try it with PUL.

You could use velcro instead of a snappi. You might want to sew that on before putting the two pieces together.

Amanda said...

Thanks Serena & Angela. I did notice that PUL was expensive. I guess that explains the price of the diapers made w/ PUL. lol Really, I don't see where I would save that much money if I had to buy the PUL.

So, my next question is...is it true that fleece can be waterproof...or is it wool. I don't understand the concept of fleece / wool soaker's. If my DD wears fleece PJ's and her diaper leaks then her PJ's are wet too. Does anyone know about other waterproof materials besides PUL?

Amanda said...

Anyone have an answer to my last question? :)

Amanda said...

Sorry...one more question...

If I were to make a one-size diaper, apx. how many diapers do you think I could get per yard of fabric? This would help me in planing online fabric purchases. Thank you. :)

Momto3LittleFlowers said...

Amanda: I have no idea, but I didnt want you to think we were ignoring you.

I will ask Serena or Kelly to take a look at the question... =)

Kelly Wels said...

Hi Cecile,
You can put fleece,suedecloth,organic cotton,hemp next to babies skin. We don't recommend putting micro fiber directly next to the skin as it will actually pull moisture out of babies skin and give them a chapped bottom.

Kelly Wels said...

Hi Amanda,
I would recommend using fleece as it is super easy to work with and doesn't require any special washing requirements. I will do a bit of research on how much fabric you would need for the one size (or how many diapers you can do per yard). I will post shortly.

Kelly Wels said...

www.neptunefabrics.com is a good source for pul

Serena said...

Hi Amanda - sorry it's taken me so long to respond!

I checked with a friend who makes her own cloth diapers and she said it takes approximately 20in x 20in for each diaper. Since 1 yard of fabric is 36 inches it will depend on the size of the bolt (whether 45" or 60") of how many diapers you will be able to get per yard.

Fleece is usually a water repellant - but not necessarily waterproof the same way that wool is. Microfleece works best, but is also generally quite expensive - so most people use the regular fleece they find at their local fabric store and add a doubler/soaker panel in their fleece covers/soakers/longies.

I wouldn't recommend relying on your daughter's pj's to contain the wetness - if she's wearing a fleece soaker and wears fleece pj's over that then it reduces the likelihood of an actual leak, but you'd want to wash the pj's.

Hope this helps! Again, sorry it took awhile!

Amanda said...

Thank You Kelly! I will look forward to that information. I'll check out Neptune fabrics too.

Amanda said...

Thank you so much Serena. Haha...no I was not wanting to use her PJ's as a soaker....I guess I was just trying to relay my confusion over the whole fleece idea in general... because whenever she had a leak it would make her PJ's wet....so I was not sure why people were saying that diapers made with fleece were water proof. But you finally cleared up my confusion on that. Thank you! Once I have enough $ and finish making a dress for my friends daughter, I'm going to try my hand at a cloth diaper. Woo Hoo!!!

Heather M said...

I wish I had a sewing Machine!

Rachat de credit said...

Thanks a lot it was a very good help, now to make cloth diapers is definitely easy utilizing your information. Kudos

shandi said...

I found Ebay sells really cute PUL and at a reasonable price too! =) I can't wait to start making some!

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therisha kimmel said...

I have made about 40 dipes for my son I am expecting in 4 weeks. It took a lot of support but I got them done and am now so very excited to use them.

Kristine Langone said...

In regards to putting fleece material inside the diaper, do I make it so the smooth or the fuzzy side is against the baby's bottom (as I noticed fleece has two different kinds of sides)? Thanks!

Kristine Langone said...

In regards to putting fleece material inside the diaper, do I make it so the smooth or the fuzzy side is against the baby's bottom (as I noticed fleece has two different kinds of sides)? Thanks!

Valerie Shults said...

So I'm COMPLETELY new to the ckoth diapering thing. I have read all the comments and I'm still left a bit confused. All the terms are new so I think that's where I am getting thrown off. But a few questions: I'm trying to buy fabric to start making cloth diapers for my daughter due within the next 2 months. (I do have a few already that I have bought but want more & variety) I have minky fabric. I know this goes on the outside. So the inside would be fleece or flannel? Or what else can be used? I'm not doing PUL. And if I make pockets I understand the micro-terry from automotive is great so do I just fold one each time I use them or fold and sew? Also how many are needed in a pocket? What are thoughts on non pocket diapers? Like having them just like a disposable and not worrying about the inserts? Any and all info is greatly appreciated. I NEED to get started SOON (like 3 months ago) bc they most likely will want baby to be out earlier than planned for many different reasons. *I don't know how to get notified on here for responses so if someone could email me: v.shults.87@gmail.com would be a lifesaver!! :) thanks in advance!