Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Homemade Cloth Diapers - Where to Begin...?

So you’ve made the decision to cloth diaper your baby – great choice! But what do you do if you don’t have a lot of money to put into diapers? Perhaps you are handy with a sewing machine (or even just learning/re-acquainting yourself to sewing, like I was) and want to make your own dipes. Well, you can make diapers for next to nothing, or by spending a lot. If you are interested in spending basically nothing and simply using things from around your house, I recommend this blog post. It has a TON of information on making your own diapers super cheaply.

I decided to go middle of the road and spend a little money to get started, get a stash started, and experiment a little with what I wanted to make and do with it. I think in all I spend about $70 or so on the fabric and notions I used (I’ll get to that in a minute) for our stash. I basically just looked online and found the most inexpensive place to purchase the kinds of fabric I wanted. At the time I ended up purchasing from both Celtic Cloths and Wazoodle. I don’t know if they are still the least expensive, but at the time they were J. I also did a LOT of reading online about how moms across the globe make their own diapers. I found a TON of information at this site (scroll down toward the middle/bottom of the page for the “do it yourself” info), but seriously – do an Internet search on making your own diapers – there’s unending amounts of information out there to help you!

One of my first AIOs. Cute, huh? :)

Ok, so on to what I personally did.

I was really new to cloth diapering, only having been using cloth for a short amount of time. I had purchased a very small stash at Diapappallooza, so had been using the rest of my disposables in-between washings. So, I just jumped in and ordered some fabric, not really knowing what I needed or wanted. I knew I wanted PUL because I wanted to make pockets or AIOs or some version of both. I also knew I wanted to try the newly developed ZORB for soaker material because I had read that it was this new and amazingly absorbent material that wouldn’t wick or leak with compression, etc. So, basically I just needed to figure out what I wanted as my pocket and AIO liners. I decided to try a couple different things. I got a micro-fleece which is a thinner version of a fleece, so it’s soft but not so thick, and a lining jersey that wicks moisture away from baby’s skin and into the soaker.

As for the notions, I decided I wasn’t going to invest in a plastic snap press until I was confident I could do this well and maybe sell some diapers. So, that left me with getting some hook and loop. I got mine from Celtic Cloths and found that the Touch Tape brand is really quite awesome. It’s very durable and extremely “sticky”. It hasn’t even come close to wearing out. The only other thing I needed was elastic, so I got that along with everything else. I used  3/8” elastic on my dipes.

After I got all my fabric and notions in the mail (that was an exciting day, let me tell you!), I set out to find a good diaper pattern that would work and would be something I could start out with. Well, I found a good (and most importantly, easy!) AIO pattern and set out to make some. I was SO happy with how they turned out…they were super cute and they fit well. The only problem was that they leaked. Argh. Well, I decided to make my own pattern based on my favorite features of some of the diapers I had. I made some pocket diapers with PUL and the jersey lining and they turned out SO good! I loved them. The only problem was that they leaked. Seriously? I couldn’t believe it! I looked them over and over and over…there was no liner peeking out, they fit him snuggly but not too snuggly, and I was even using two soakers. Finally I figured it out. It was the ZORB. For some reason, it simply doesn’t work for my son. I read online where there was another lady whose son couldn’t use ZORB because it leaked, but it worked for her daughter. Strange, huh? Well, when I used the microfiber inserts that came with my Diapappallooza diapers, there was no leaking. Hallelujah!!
Hind view of my son's bum today
(literally - as I'm typing this, he is wearing this pocket diaper I made)

Though I was super happy to make this discovery, I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on new soaker material, microfiber or otherwise, so I went an alternate route. One of my friends told me about an online forum she had seen about cloth diapering on the cheap, and she had mentioned some of the moms there used microfiber cleaning rags for their inserts (you know, the kind you find in the auto-care aisle at Target, Walmart, Menard’s, etc.). So, I went to the auto-care aisle and purchased some (I think at Walmart I got a package of 12 or 15 for about $10). They worked like a dream! I also found a package of 15 at Menard’s recently for $3.00 after rebate. THREE DOLLARS! Yep, I have decided that auto-care cloths are the way to go for my babe’s diaper soakers J.

Front View of this afternoon's dipe
I guess the bottom line when making your own diapers it to NOT give up! You may need to try several things before you figure out what works best for you and your baby. There are *many many many* different fabric choices for your diapers…from things around your house to very fancy material that you can purchase online. It’s just a matter of your confidence in your sewing skills, budget, and vision for your diaper stash. After all the trial and error I experienced, the diapers I have made are definitely my favorites in our stash. Not that I don’t love some of our purchased dipes too, I just think there’s some unique satisfaction and pride in making something out of nothing and being able to take care of my baby’s bum by making fluff with all the love and care that I have for him. After all - it’s all because of love.

By Evie DeWitt

1 comment:

19bkwrm79 said...

Great job! Homemade cloth diapers are awesome.