How To Make Cloth Diapers
Why Cloth Diapers?
Do cloth diapers save money? Certainly they do!
Cloth diapers are good for the environment and they are good for your finances. Disposables may be somewhat more convenient (and I would argue this point) but they are expensive. Cloth diapers are more expensive initially but they last through many years and many children! You can cut the initial cost by buying them used on auction sites like ebay OR you can make them yourself. It really isn't difficult if you have some sewing ability.
Homemade cloth diapers are nothing like the not-so-absorbant rectangles that leak all over the baby's (and your) clothing. These are as, or more, absorbant as disposeables, and the elastic in the legs hold in messes and leaks with no problem.
Choose the Right Fabric
When I made homemade diapers I found that I liked fleece for the inside because it wicks the moisture away from baby's skin and keeps the baby drier for a longer period of time. I used burly terry for the soaker on the inside and a cute flannel print for the exterior of the diaper. There are many other materials that can be used depending on your needs. Cotton, flannel, terry, and cotton knits are all good candidates for diapers.
If you want to be very frugal you can use the extra baby blankets and old towels you might have that you don't need. You can cut up old flannel shirts, sheets and other articles that are unusable for other things. A trip to the local Goodwill, Salvation Army, or thrift store can get you enough fabric in a couple of old flannel shirts to make several diapers and for little money.
Drafting a Pattern
Making a pattern for cloth diapers is a simple process. One of the easiest ways, if you have been using disposables is to open the disposable diaper up and trace a pattern around it adding 1/4 inch for seam allowance. You can see that the diaper is basically an hourglass shape with back tabs that can be pulled around and closed in front. It is important that you make the tabs big enough that they come all the way around the front. In this way the diaper can be adjusted out as baby grows and the diaper can be used longer.There are also many free cloth diaper patterns available online. I have linked to some of them below.
Making the Diaper.
You will need to cut 2 hourglass shapes, one of the interior material and one of the exterior material. In addition you will want to have a rectangular soaker to go in between the exterior and interior. The soaker should run almost the full length of the diaper. One or two layers of burly terry zigzag stitched together should be more than enough for even the heaviest wetter.
When you are sewing remember to keep the elastic inside the diaper from the seam allowance.
Lay the soaker on the wrong side of the interior hourglass. Sew it in place.
Measure baby's thighs and cut 2 pieces of 1/4" elastic (you may want wider, whatever you prefer) to fit comfortably. Using an elastic stitch and stretching the elastic to cover the whole leg opening, sew the elastic to the wrong side of the exterior hourglass shape.
Measure baby's back and cut a a 1/2" piece of elastic to fit. Using an elastic stitch sew the elastic to the back of the exterior hourglass shape, stretching it to fit the full width of the diaper.
Now, lay the two hourglass shapes right sides together, and sew around the diaper, leaving a small opening in the front to turn the diaper right side out.
Turn right side out and use a pencil or butter knife to get the seams where they need to be. Fold in the seam allowance and hand, or machine stitch the opening in the front closed.
You can add velcro or snaps to the tabs if you like. I prefer to use old fashioned diaper pins because it makes the diaper more adjustable and I don't like the fact that velcro gets messed up in the wash.
The procedure for making adult cloth diapers is the same. By making adjustments to the pattern and soaker you can create the size you need.
Taking Care of Cloth Diapers
You will find that with the elastic legs and back the cloth diapers keep messes contained as well as disposables. When you change a diaper just put it in the diaper pail..You can keep a solution of 1/4 c cider vinegar and 2 gallons of water in the pail but it is not necessary.. If there is solid waste then shake that into the toilet and flush- no need to rinse the diaper. When you are ready to do a load of diapers then put the contents of the diaper pail (drain the solution first if you use it) into the washing machine and run it through a cold prewash cycle. Next run it through a hot wash/cold rinse cycle and then rinse again on cold. This will get out any detergent residue and keep baby from getting diaper rash. I like to hang the diapers on the clothes line until almost dry. This santizes them and bleaches any stains away. When they are nearly dry I put them in a hot dryer for 10-15 minutes to soften them up. Do not use softeners on the diapers as it will make them less absorbant.
In the summertime You may want to go ahead and use the vinegar solution in the diaper pail, especially if you have a fly problem. Cloth diapers with maggots on them are not fun to find, but it does happen. The best way to avoid this is to keep the diapers submerged in the vinegar solution and wash regularly.
Selling Fitted Cloth Diapers
Check out ebay any day of the month and you will find a plethora of cloth diapers in all colors and styles..and prices. Certain brands resell better than others. If you would like to sell your used diapers they do sell very well. Be sure to be honest about the condition and take good pictures.
If you want to make a little money and sell the diapers you make then there is a market for that as well. Research the designs to find what sells best and be creative in yourown designs. Again, it is very important to get good pictures! Price the diaper competitively and only list the best you can make. If you make some that are good but not AS good then list them accordingly and mention that you messed up a seam or whatever. You probably won't get rich but you can make some egg and butter money!
Making and selling homemade cloth diapers can be a relaxing hobby that brings financial benefit.
Video Instructions on Making a Homemade Cloth Diaper
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