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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

cloth diapering creations part 2 - the pocket diaper

So I have been totally lazy about sewing cloth diapers for this baby. With little miss I was stitching up a storm and made scads of diapers...not so much this time around. I just, eh, not feeling it.

But then, in the past few days I have been organizing baby things and realize I have given away/lent out a LOT of my diapering stuff and don't have as much as I would want.

I thought about buying some but then I go to our local purveyer of cloth diapering supplies and cant bring myself to pay TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS (??!!) for a single pocket diaper. I know you can find deals online. (I kind of have been thinking about buying these in newborn size and these in medium size but I still havent done it. Plus I am kind of old fashioned and really dont like buying things online. I want to see it first, anyone else like that?)

So, I sucked it up yesterday and pulled out my old stash of diaper creation fabrics, plopped the kids in front of PBS kids and sewed for a morning.

I figured I would share the steps I use for making pocket diapers, which really, can be done in one episode of Sesame Street. In fact, I made two in that time alotment.

So, here goes.

First, you need to find fabrics. For the outside you need PUL (plastic-y lining) which can really only be found online, lots of places sell it. Dont try and buy plastic-y stuff they might sell at a Joann Fabric. It won't work. Then you need the inner layer fleece (soft part against the bum, try to find 100% cotton that is non-pilling.) I also like to cover my (plain white) PUL in a fun fabric. This adds another layer to have to sew with but I get bored with the white. I bought it because it was cheapest and a local diaper sewer was selling some excess. You can buy colored or print PUL online too.

You will also need velcro and 1/4 inch elastic. You can use snaps, if you want, but from my understanding you need a snap press, and well, velcro is cheap and easy so I am fine with it. Some people are very opinionated about this but I have found snaps rip out more easily and picking lint out of velcro (its inevitable) every now and then is not a big deal.

Now find a diaper cover to use as a guage for size and fit. Getting the right shape is key. I have made many an awkward fitting diaper that never worked on a real baby. I used a new Thirsties cover I bought the other day.

You can also buy patterns at various places online. My mom and sister recently found this shop online, they sell quality fabrics (remnants for CHEAP) and patterns.

Or, you can be like me and wing it.

Lay your cover down on the PUL and sketch or cut out the basic shape, making sure to stretch out the elastic to get the right shape and to leave 1/4 inch or so for seams.

Now using your cut out PUL piece copy as a pattern and cut out your fleece piece and your outer fabric (if you want to.)

The dark grey/green is the fleece (crappy fleece that isnt all cotton but, oh well) then a blue cloud flannel print for the outer cute layer, then the white PUL.

Now comes the part where I always have to sit and think, doing the steps in the right order. First off, the shiny layer of PUL needs to be on the INSIDE of the pocket with the fabric-y side facing out. Otherwise you will be wicking moisture the wrong way. (Believe me, you dont want to rip out a diaper that has been sewn the wrong way!)

Next step, which I have messed up many times, sewing the velcro onto the PUL/cute fabric layer (lets call this the outer layer for simplicity sake). I like to use about 4-5 inches (depending on size of dipe you are making) of the softer velcro part. I also like to round the corners first by simply snipping the edges off. Make sure you place the velcro low enough from the edge of the waist so you have room for your seam. Use a zig zag stitch to keep the sharp edges down.

So, as you can see from the shot (yes, those are little man's fingers, he thought it was hilarious to stick his hand in the picture) I am sewing the velcro onto the nice fabric AND the PUL (you cant see it but its under the cloud fabric). This is a nice first step because it helps to hold the two layers together as you are sewing the diaper.

Now sew the fleece layer and the outer layer (clouds and PUL) together. Just think, right sides together!! You are going to be turning the whole thing inside out when you are done. Leave about 4 inches open on the back side of the top of the diaper. This is your opening to put in the liners for the pocket.

showing where i usually end the sewing at the back.

i swear it wont look so ugly when you are done.

Okay. Got that okay? I have to think about it every time.

Now we put elastic in the legs. The first few times I did this I was totally unsure how to go about it. Then I found another diapering site that had a little elastic tutorial. Its really simple. Tack each edge of the elastic to your leg. I like to place the elastic through the whole curve of the leg opening. Make sure you are stretching your elastic to fit....this is what gathers it to be elastic-y in the leg. That probably goes without saying but I am pretty sure I sewed the elastic in flat at first and then was like, "oh, right. it needs to stretch to serve the purpose of elastic." (its the California blonde coming out in me maybe?)

In any case.
edges tacked

then stretch into place and sew
Now repeat on the other leg. I usually sew on the seam allowance. If you go over the stitch its not a big deal, that will be your new seam. Comprende? No? Just try you will see what I mean.

Okay. So next we need to...hmm...Oh, so next we cut two little pieces of elastic (3-4 inches each) to put in the opening. You can leave this flat and some professionally made pocket diapers dont have the elastic but I think it makes for a better opening and a better fit too. Its kind of tricky to get the elastic in just right, sew it in just below your seam allowance (the tacking on step) then fold the seam allowance over and sew that part, making a nice clean finished edge.

ends of elastic tacked in, now folding the layer of fleece
over for a nice edge. photo courtesy of little mister.

finished edges of the opening.
Now, turn the dipe right side out.

See, looks okay, right?

Now, cut out the velcro tabs for the side flaps (wings? whatever you want to call them) I cut about 2 inches of velcro for each side, again rounding the edges (those corners can be sharp!) leave just 1/2 an inch or an inch sticking out, sew the rest onto the fleece layer of the diaper, again using a zig zag stick. (How is that for a run on sentence?)

And here is your finished diaper!

I hate the fleece that I used but all in all, not bad for having not sewn one of these babies in at least a year! Stuff with whatever liners you have. See this post for more on that.

These are fairly durable (especially if you are lucky enough to own a serger!) but arent great night time diapers. They do leak (no leg gussets!) after awhile. I use them with wool leggings or just around the house. They do hold in messes fairly well though.

Any questions for me? A great tutorial is on this site if you need more help. (Where I got many great tips) HAVE FUN!!

(Oh, and here is the other diaper that I made. I took an old snap cover - snaps had ripped out! - and sewed in a pocket with fleece and replaced the snaps with velcro. EASY!)

Next up: My obsession with wool pants for this baby as a diaper cover option. Hmmm...winter babies...fat leggies in wool pants!! YIPPEE. You should see how many woolies I have made!!


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