August 5, 2011

The Making of the Diapers, Covers, and Wipes

For the past 6 months (when I have a day where I feel well enough) I've been working on sewing up my diaper stash. They're made from an assortment of old towels, flannel sheets, t-shirts, and a few pieces of purchased-on-sale baby flannel. (Thanks Mom for giving me your old towels and flannel sheets!)

The fitteds were made with a pattern purchased from Very Baby. I used 1/4 inch swimsuit elastic, Aplix hook and loop tape (also from Very Baby), and the serger. The pattern also has options for snaps and using a regular sewing machine. The semi-fitted (I'm not sure what else to call them), which only have elastic in the legs, are from a pattern a friend sent me. I don't know where it came from since it's actually cut out of newspaper. Those are a little easier to sew (elastic is kind of a pain and these only have half as much). I didn't bother to put Aplix on them since I'll have pins on hand for use with the prefolds.

Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family TreasuresThe first round of prefolds I made were from a pattern in the book Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule. For the second round I used the same instructions but based the dimensions on the prefold sizes from Green Mountain Diapers (The book only provides for two sizes. After corresponding with the helpful folks at GMD I'm convinced I'll like the convenience of having more sizes). Instead of stacking extra layers of flannel in the center for the soaker part of the prefold I just used one layer of terry cloth from the many old towels we accumulated. 

So far this is what I made:
5 newborn fitteds
1 small fitted, 2 semi-fitted
3 medium fitted
3 large fitted
14 newborn/small prefolds
2 medium prefolds
1 large prefold

Fitted and semi-fitted diapers.
I also swapped for 15 or so hemp prefolds and a wool diaper cover on Swap Mamas. This doesn't add up to everything I need (Babyworks recommends 18-30 fitted diapers or 36 prefolds for each size plus around 6 covers) but it's a good start!

I considered making upcycled wool covers but after reading about how almost everyone who's "allergic" to wool is actually allergic to the chemicals used to strip the wool of lanolin and not the wool itself, I think it might not be the best use of my time. Maybe baby will be fine with the chemically treated wool found in old sweaters but perhaps, like Grandma, baby will have an issue. Apparently wool diaper covers are made from unprocessed wool (which makes sense since you want the lanolin in them) and it is the very rare individual indeed who has a sensitivity to untreated wool. Hopefully we'll get some at our baby shower. I'm planning to start with Nikky covers primarily and give various other types of wool pants a try. The Nikkys are on the cheaper side of wool covers and I like how simple they are. 

As for wipes, I try to make them from sufficiently sized scraps but I'll just cut some squares from whole cloth later if I don't have enough. With the flannel I simply serged around the edges. When I used t-shirts I actually serged two layers together. One just didn't seem like enough.

What are your experiences making and using cloth diapers? 

(This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday at Spain in Iowa... check it out!)


  1. I must say, I like the pile of goodies you have made. I have no experience w/cloth diapers, so can't help you there. I have only made cloth kleenex and soon realized (don't have a serger) that it was easier to just cut up old t-shirts and forget about finishing the edges. A serger would have made finishing the edges much easier. I hope you are feeling better and have more energy every day. Emily

  2. Thanks Emily! I am feeling a little better.

    We use cloth for our noses as well. I don't enjoy it when I have to use paper when I'm elsewhere. It seems so inadequate after cloth.

  3. I have used cloth diapers since my oldest but have mostly bought my covers. I have knitted wool soakers for potty trainers, though. I find that cloth diapers really aren't that bad. If they were I would not have used them through ten kids! I have an early post on my blog about my washing methods here:

    So when is your baby expected to be using all your lovely diapers? They sure look great!

  4. Yeah, I expect I'll love cloth diapers but even if I didn't, I can't bring myself to use disposables! We're expecting kiddo to arrive mid-November.