Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cloth Diapers. My way.

Yawn.  Hi guys.  Well so I decided to stay up and make a couple more diapers for my princess, but alas, it is late, and I only finished one....  But good for you guys because this time, I took pictures!  Yay!!  So, who wants to learn how to make a cloth diaper??  Well, grab a cup of coffee and settle in.  This one might be a little long!

2 - 1 yd peices of Flannel fabric (you can also use cotton for the outer part of the diaper, but for this tut, we're sticking to flannel!)
Sewing Machine
1/4 or 3/8 in elastic.
Small Safety Pin
1 prefold Gerber Diaper (sold in a 12 pack at Walmart, trust me, you'll use em!)
Velcro or closure of your choice
Pattern (I'll explain that in a sec.)

Pattern info: I derived my pattern from one of my daughter's disposables.  I simply opened it up, pinned it to some computer printer paper, and traced around it. You can do that too, easily.  Use a pencil so you can fix mistakes if necessary.  Also in the picture you'll notice it's HALF a pattern.  What I did was place my disposable on the edge of the paper, centered.  This allowed me to trace only one side of the diaper (way easier!) and will help with having more symmetrical diapers.  Tabs are the same size, thigh holes, etc.

Usually, fabric is sold already folded in half, selvage to selvage.  So you'd have 45 inches of fabric by 36 inches of fabric, but since it's folded in should have about 22 inches by 36 inches.  First we are going to make the inside, or the lining, of our diaper. Choose one of your flannels, preferably a solid color.  I used white for the inside of my diapers this time.With the fold facing up, you're going to fold the sides together to touch.  Then you'll place your hand drawn pattern onto the fold of your fabric that you created. (Remember, we only drew HALF a pattern on the paper, so we need to have it on a fold.)

The store fold is at the top, my fold is at the left.

Now, I have made several diapers with my pattern and have discovered that my daughter needs longer tabs (in the above photo, these tabs I'm referring to are the ones at the top of the pattern).  So when I cut out my diapers, I made my tabs longer when I cut.  You can do this too, just cut a couple more inches out from the pattern.You'll notice in the picture below that the tabs (now on the bottom) are longer than my paper pattern.

The red square above indicates the fabric we will use to create our mini liners.  Now...unpin your pattern from your fabric and unfold.  You should have TWO pieces.
These are the INSIDE of your diaper.  Set them aside while we cut out our soaking liners.  Take the left over fabric from cutting out your liners and create two long rectangles from your left overs.  I like a 5 inch by 14 inch soaking liner.

Now, you'll have four rectangles.  Take two and pin them to the diaper lining we just cut out, one on top of the other.
Go ahead and pin in the other liner too.  Then you'll have two diaper liners with two rectangles each pinned to them.

Next what we're gonna do is cut out our EXTERIORS.  Take your other yard of fabric and lay your diaper lining on top of it.  Since it's flannel it should "stick" to it.  This means you probably can lightly pin it down without much movement while cutting.  My daughter has requested a purple diaper and a Scooby Doo Diaper (Scooby is gonna have to wait! LOL!)

Diaper liner laying on top of my exterior fabrics.
Cut around your diaper liner.  You'll have two exterior diaper fabrics.  Mine are Scooby and one is purple.
Interior liner, Purple exterior, Scooby exterior, cut to size of interior liner.
What we need to do next is grab our prefold diaper.  We're gonna lay it out flat, then fold down the top, and fold up the bottom.
 Lay your prefold (folded side down) on your diaper exterior fabric.  You'll notice it's likely too long.  No biggie. We'll fix that in a sec.

Savvy baby is a girl, so I know better than to think that this straight rectangle is going to catch all her peepee.  So what I did was fan out the sides of the folds on the prefold diaper to create an hour glass up front.

Being that your prefold liner is too long, simply eye ball how far back you think your lil one can go, and snip it off....
I fanned out my backside too on Savvy's diaper, so that it really looks like an hour glass.

I pinned that down.  Now is where we sew.  Grab one interior piece and one exterior piece and head to the sewing machine.  Set your machine to a zig zag stitch on a very wide width.  You're going to need to make sure the edges of your liner pads are caught just INSIDE the stitching.  See photo below.

See how the stitches are right at the edges of my liner pads?

Do the same to your exterior with the prefold.  Get as close as you can to those edges.
Now that you've finished stitching down your pads, we're going to put the diaper together. Take your exterior diaper piece and lay it pad side down on your floor work surface.
Then put the lining, pad side UP on top of it.
See my purple peeking out?
Pin it down well because when you sew around curves, fabric tends to shift a little.  When you pin it, you're going to leave a large gap about the width of your hand or larger on what is going to be the FRONT of the diaper (the end with the shorter tabs) because we have to turn it right side out after this.  Use a straight stitch to stitch all the way around.
Once it's stitched down, stick your hand in there.  Does it fit?  Good.  Turn the diaper right side out then! 
Reminds me of Popples.  Did you ever have one?  Love the early 90's toys, but I digress!
Now that it's turned right side out, lay it back down to pin. We have to make marks for where our elastic is going to go.
The red lines on the above photo indicate where your pins should be for elastic casing. Along both legs, and along the back of the diaper.  The back is the end with the longer tabs.  You're going to use a straight stitch and stitch about 1/4 inch away from the edge of your diaper along those marks, don't go too much further than that.

The red arrows in this photo indicate where your casings are.  Notice how I stayed right near where my pins are. This is important because you don't want your diaper to end up being too small.

Another pic with arrows to indicate your casings for reference.

Grab your elastic and a small safety pin.  Cut your elastic to the length you need it to be. You'll need three pieces. For a newborn it'll be small.  My daughter wears a size 4 diaper and I made her elastic pieces 8 inches each.  Allow a little extra room because you'll need some over hang.
Put your safety pin thru the end of your elastic.

Now please, on this part bear with me because it's tricky to show so I have to try to explain.  Put your hand inside that opening that you used to turn the diaper right side out.  Push your hand all the way up to the back of the diaper.

The first piece of elastic will be installed in the casing at the back of the diaper.  Using your other hand, guide the safety pin into the casing and continue to push it through.  Make sure you use your hands to feel where the elastic is. When you feel the one end of the elastic getting shorter, pin it down.  Then continue to push it through.  Then pin the other end when you have a little extra hanging out of the casing.
The red marks indicate my extra elastic. Can you see where my pins are?  I'd say there is an extra 1/2 to 1 inch of elastic hanging over.
 Now you have to stitch that down with a straight stitch...these stitches will be the opposite direction of your casing, creating a rectangle of stitches on three sides and the edge of the diaper at the top.
Now, stick your hand back in there and retrieve your safety pin, then reload it with another piece of elastic.
Now to do the legs.  This is easier to get pushed thru because you have more room to do so.  So put your hand back in there and find your casing, don't forget, don't let the ends slink into the casing.  You need the extra hang over to stitch it down.
Leg elastic pinned down.
Stitch down your elastic on the leg, just like you did before.  Then do the other leg.

When your elastic is all installed, remove your safety pin.  Don't wanna leave that bad boy inside the diaper!  Double check for other pins too, just to be sure.

Next, flatten out your diaper and close up your opening by tucking the raw edges of your fabric down inside the diaper, and pinning it together.  You can press the diaper with an iron for clean lines.  Then with a straight stitch, you're going to stitch that front opening closed, but start at one side where your elastic casing is, and stitch all the way around the front of the diaper (short tabs end!) to the other side where the other casing is. This method will catch that opening and close it up. It should look like this all the way around the front end of the diaper.:

Nice clean pretty edges.  Now do the back and sides too.  You're pretty much finished now.  After this point, you'll add on your closure of choice.  I know some people like snappies, diaper pins, safety pins, etc, but my choice is velcro. So I cut myself out two tab pieces and one long strip for the front. I like the long front for multisizing purposes.

Close it up, and you're finished!
Go make a bunch for your kiddo and save a butt load (ha!) of money without having to use disposables!!!
Enjoy my daughter's tush!

So cute right?!  :)

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