Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Homemade cloth diapers

I copied and pasted this post from my blog about baby pottying with Alaina (AKA natural infant hygiene, elimination communication, etc.). Sorry to those of you that read the potty blog for the duplicate post, but I wanted to put my homemade cloth diapers on my main blog, so here it is! They are so easy to make and SOOO cute!

So, I decided I wanted to switch over to cloth diapers full time (or nearly full time) in order to help Alaina stay in tune with when she goes pee and doesn't loose that sensation of needing to go. I figure that since I'm catching about 95% of poops, it really isn't a big deal to use cloth full time (EC is SO much cleaner! Hence it's other name of Natual Infant Hygiene). I only catch about 5% of her pees at this point (although, the past few days, those percentages have been reversed for some reason). The other benefit of cloth for me is that I am better at monitoring and paying attention when she's in cloth. I check more often and I take her more often. I have some cloth diapers that my sister-in-law let me borrow, but they are big and bulky and don't really fit under Alaina's clothes. They're great for at home though. The other problem with them is that the leg holes are too big for Alaina's skinny little legs, so if I miss a poop it will just leak out the sides. Not my favorite. I guess I could sew some elastic into the legs of them, but I haven't asked my sis-in-law if it's okay with her for me to alter her diapers. So, I decided to try making my own. I also thought that if I made my own, I could make them in a way where I could see when she was wet by making them just the right thickness to hold one pee and making them out of colored cloth that would be darker when wet. It's been working out famously! I've toyed with the pattern until I have something that I really like. I like the fit and best of all I use old t-shirts so they cost virtually nothing to make! Any of you that know me well know how much I love cheap and free! I just buy some elastic and some velcro and I use whatever old shirts I have (there are always plenty of those around out of Brice's work clothes pile). They are so cute! So here's my tutorial:

Here are your basic materials: some velcro, elastic, a template, and an old t-shirt or two (depending on the size).Here's a close up of my template. If you click on it, you'll be able to read the numbers. Alaina is 8 1/2 months old and she weighs about 14 or 15 pounds. Also, my template is lacking a seam allowance (I always forget that part) so I have to make sure to add a bit as I trace it onto the t-shirt. Place the template over the part of the shirt with the logo or picture you want on the bum.
Cut through both layers of t-shirt.
Fold it in half to make sure it's even.

Use the part you've already cut out to trace the shape onto another t-shirt (or another part of the same one if it's big enough) for the inner layers.

Cut that out (through both layers) so you have four diaper-shaped t-shirt cutouts.
Use the scraps to cut out 6-8 rectangles of t-shirt to use for soakers. I made mine about 4 inches by 8 inches.

Split them in half so you sew 3 or 4 to one inner diaper layer and 3 or 4 to the other inner diaper layer (it's much easier on my sewing machine than sewing through all 9 layers!)
I usually just sew around the edge of the soakers, but some of my other diapers have bunched a bit in the laundry so I thought I'd try sewing down the middle and across the width in two spots.

Then sew a fuzzy strip of the velcro to the front of the outermost layer of the diaper (I forgot to do this at the right time when I made this diaper, but it's a lot easier if you do it before this piece is sewn to anything else.). Make sure you leave enough room for your seam allowance (I should have left a little more room on this one).

Then lay your layers with an inner first, then the piece with the side you want to show on the bum facing up, then the piece that will be against the baby's bottom (face-down if there you have a side you want facing out), then the other inner layer in top. It doesn't matter which way the soakers are facing, but I face the bottom one down and the top one up so the soakers will be the innermost layers.
Start at the front flared out edge and sew around the edge of the diaper (flared bottom edge to leg to tab to back to other tab to other leg) to the other flared out edge (leave the bottom length un-sewn so you can turn it right side out), adding in elastic along the legs and back at you go. I think the back elastic piece is optional as you will have the velcro to adjust the size as well. I just sew a little piece of elastic across the back and longer ones for the leg pieces, cutting them off at the right length as I am sewing. I run the elastic from where the tabs end and the bum begins down to about where the soakers end. So I guess I just start and end at the level of the soakers maybe a little beyond in each direction. I've just been sewing right into the elastic as I sew my seam, stretching the elastic to capacity as I go.

Turn it right side out
and top stitch around the whole diaper, tucking the opening along the bottom under and sewing it closed. (Here's where I realized I'd forgotten the velcro on the front. Oops!) Then sew the hook side of the velcro to the tabs with a fuzzy square next to it so you can close the tabs when you wash the diaper (that way it won't catch and snag on everything else in the laundry)

And you're done! Pretty simple and SO CUTE!

Here are some others I've made:

The Peanut one:

And the Volcom one (my favorite):

I love the fit. They're so little and snug! If you're familiar with gDiapers, I wanted a fit like that. I think I got it! I've made a few others as well, but I don't have pictures of them. I didn't like the style or fit quite as much as I do on these ones. Also, the peanut one has exposed velcro tabs and I like them better backed by fabric. The black fabric also isn't quite as good for seeing when she's wet. Oh, the other change I would make is that I would trim down the flares that go at her tummy. There is more than necessary for wrapping around her waist at this point. Especially since the tabs come so far around the front. Well, that's it! If any of you decide to give it a try, I'd love to see pictures and hear about any improvements you come up with. I'm also not the greatest seamstress, so if you know a better way to sew this (particularly the elastic) please let me know!


Briana said...


melissa said...

That is so awesome. you are a creative, provident genious! You can do whatever you want with my diapers . . . I don't need them back. If I ever have another baby (unlikely), I'll just sew some T-shirt diapers like you did. By the way, all my kids were big chunkers, so we didn't have the leg gap issue so much as you and your pretty petite girl do! I also used cotten cloth diapers as liners or inserts. They were big and bulky and did look kinda funny, but I used them at home and didn't really care! :)

Lambson Family said...

wow morgs! how creative! love it!

Vanessa said...

Cute diapers, you are so talented and so clever!!!

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Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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