PDP Exclusives by Rebecca

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Cloth Diaper Making 101: Getting Started

Cloth diapering has been updated since your Mom's day to make it much easier and more fasionable than a piece of cotton folded into a triangle and pinned.  Of course, the cost of handmade cloth diapers can be a bit costly up front (though they'll save you money in the long run). Many moms figure they can just sew their own, so we've asked Vilate Thacker to give us a rundown on what goes into making your own cloth diapers.

So you want to try your hand at sewing your own cloth diapers? Good for you. First thing you need to do is evaluate a few things.

  • What are you current sewing skills? - none? basic straight stitch? serger? 
  • What type of diapers do you want to make? - fitteds? pockets? all-in-ones? prefolds? (not sure?  see below)
  • How much you can spend on your supplies and tools? - are you going to spring for a snap press? are you buying all new materials or thrift store tees? 
Have you answered those questions? Honestly? LOL!!

So what are your sewing skills? If you can’t sew at all do not give up. There is a brilliant idea out there of a tie-on diaper. No having to do snaps or sew on velcro. In fact, you just cut a t-shirt, add an insert and there you have it.

And here is a great no-cut, no-sew T-shirt diapering video using a Snappi as a closure:

But hey, if you think you can sew (at least a straight line?), there are plenty of diaper patterns out there for you to try. Cheeky Diapers has a big ol’ long list of free patterns and tutorials listed for you.  Zaney Zebra also has a pretty good list. Check those out.

If you think you are pretty good with a machine and you don’t mind spending a little money, there are tons of diaper patterns out there available for purchase. Just do a google search for cloth diaper patterns. I do know that Very Baby is a popular one.  diaperpatternreviews.com also has a long list of patterns.

So we have talked about your level of sewing experience and found something for everyone. Now let’s go over the type of diapers you want to make.
  • Fitted diapers:  Fitteds need a cover if you are going out and about. Usually around the house, your kiddos are fine to just go coverless. Fitteds are the most breathable and if your baby has sensitive skin, this may be the best bet for you.  More breathable = less rashes!
  • Pocket diaper:  Pockets use a replaceable waterproof layer inserted into the pocket, so be prepared to buy P.U.L. or some other type of waterproof or water resistant fabric. Pockets will require a little higher level of sewing skills as you have to make a pocket, but most daddies like these (if you pre-stuff them!). And they are nice for babysitters. 
  • All-In-Ones (AIOs): these also have a waterproof layer and have the absorbent soaker sewn right into the diaper, so there is no need to stuff inserts. The down side of AIOs is that they are harder to get all the way clean and they take longer to dry in general. The up side is that they are as close to the “ease” of disposables as you can get. 
  • Prefolds: Prefolds are your basic, old-fashioned flats with that have been folded into a diaper shape and sewn. There are a few types of fabrics you can use for prefolds or flats. These require some type of closure, like Snappis, pins or a wrap style cover. They also need a cover like a fitted. 

Those are really your basic diapers. There are variations on styles of pockets and inserts that lay in, snap in or stuff in.

So do you know what diaper you think is best for your baby, your lifestyle and your family?
Well then let’s talk $!!

Budget: Do you want to get by spending as little as possible? Or are you okay with a little added expense to have some of the conveniences you would like?  Some things to think about when deciding:

  • Closure: Do you want snaps, velcro, or are you going to go with a Snappi?
    Snaps will cost a little more and you need to think about how you are going to apply them.  Are you going to hand press all of them with pliers, or will you spring for a nice press? I have a press I would recommend to anyone (and I use it for more than just diapers). 
  • Fabrics: Where are you getting them? Think on this one for a bit and we will talk fabrics next time. BUT in the meantime what is your allowance for diaper supplies? Will you be able to buy nice “diaper making” fabrics? Or are we going to use thrift store t-shirts and receiving blankets? These are fine but decide how much you have to spend on fabrics and then we will talk about where to use that money you have set aside. I mean... diapers have priorities, you know.
Now you have really thought through some tough questions. You have some idea of the type of diapers you want to make and you have picked out a pattern, right? Well next time we will talk about what types of fabrics work best for which diapers. We will also talk about where to splurge for fabrics (prints? inserts? inner layer? which ones are most important?). I may also share a few places you get some diaper making supplies. Hope you join me next time.

Vilate Thacker is mama of six cloth-diapered kiddos and the mastermind behind the very popular Nifty Nappy Cloth Diapers.

1 comment:

  1. This is a post I will come back to whenever comes the time for me to get pregnant and have babies...