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Saturday, April 3, 2010

How to Sew a Fitted Cloth diaper

I ran into this today and thought I'd share it.  My babies are 28 & 31.........'and no'........no grandchildren yet but that doesn't mean I can't start preparing ;)

 Instructions on sewing a fitted cloth diaper. It's so easy!! Learn how to here

Aren't you tired of paying an arm and a leg for some nice diapers? I was too, and with a few tips from people, figured out how to sew my own.

I have a basic sewing machine. It cost like $130 when it was new. You just need straight stitches and zigzag stitches for this.

Any cotton fabric will work. You can use old clothing, old flannel sheets, old towels, old receiving blankets, if you want "free" fabric.  Any flannel will do, there's quilter's flannel, diaper flannel, and "cuddly" flannel.

You'll need thread, sew-on velcro (1.5" preferably), and elastic (3/8").

Whenever you stitch, make sure to back-stitch at the beginning and at the end of your stitching. (That means, stitch forward, then backwards, then forward again). This will prevent your stitches from coming undone.

Step 1:
First, get your pattern. I traced a diaper I already had, and altered it some. It's not hard, just get the general shape, and with subsequent diapers, you can lengthen or shorten whatever doesn't seem to fit right.

If you're making your own pattern, I suggest tracing half the diaper, then folding the pattern in half to get the rest so the diaper is identical on either side.

Step 2:
Cut 2 pieces of your good fabric. This is flannel I bought at Walmart for $2.50/yard.

Step 3:
Cut 1 or 2 pieces of your inside fabric, using the same pattern. This particular fabric is a cotton knit (kind of like t-shirt material), I like to use 2 inner pieces for a thicker diaper, but you can use only 1 if you prefer.

Step 4:
Get your soaker pad. You can use fabric scraps (like the one on the right), or a washcloth, part of a terry towel, etc. I like the soaker to be about the length of a washcloth.  It's the same size as a washcloth. If I was using it, I would fold it in thirds, and stitch around it to hold it in place.  The microfiber towels hold a LOT of liquid, and with one of those as a pad, the diaper will easily go all night.

This time, I'm using the fabric scraps. They don't all quite fit evenly in the rectangle, but that's ok. I stitched a straight stitch all the way around it, and evened out the edges with a scissors.

Step 5:
Sew the soaker pad to one of the center pieces. Make sure it's in the very center of the diaper. I did a zig zag stitch at the very edges of the soaker pad, all the way around it.

Step 6:
Pin all 4 layers together. You want the outer fabric's right sides facing each other, at the very center. You notice I've got the black checks facing outwards, so that the whiter side is towards the outer layers. This is so the black checks don't show through to the outside of the diaper.

So at the very bottom, there's the black check fabric, black checks facing downwards. On top of it, there's the blue fabric, right side facing upwards. On top of that one, there's another blue fabric, right side facing downwards. On top of that one, there's the one you see, which has the black checks facing upwards.

Make sure to get all the edges as even as you can with each other when you pin it together.

Step 7:
Sew a straight stitch all the way around the diaper, leaving the front part (that's towards the bottom in the picture) open. Cut with a scissors all the way around where you've stitched, fairly close to the hem. Make sure not to cut too close that you cut your stitching!! Clip (cut towards your seam WITHOUT nicking it) around the curves a little bit.

Step 8:
Fold the diaper lengthwise in half, and mark where you want your elastic to go. I used a pink highlighter, use whatever works. You fold it in half to do it so the elastic is evenly spaced. I usually do it an inch or two away from the end. Do the same thing for the leg elastic. Start near the tab and end near the front somewhere. (it doesn't matter that much where it goes, just make both sides even).

Step 9:
Take the elastic and hold or pin it where your first mark is. You'll want to sew it along the seam, in line with the straight stitch that's on there. With the sewing machine, you'll use a very small straight stitch, going forwards and backwards over and over a few times to tack it down. Then switch the machine to a large zig zag stitch, without taking the diaper off the machine. While stretching the elastic with one hand, and pulling the diaper through the machine with the other, zig zag the elastic down to where the 2nd mark is. Tack down that end of the elastic, then cut it off. Do the same thing with both legs, along with the back.

This is what it'll look like with the back done:

This is what it'll look like with the back and the leg elastics done:

Step 10:
Turn the diaper right side out. It'll look like this, then:

Step 11:
Fold the front flap in, and pin it shut.

Step 12:
Sew closely to the edge of the front, to securely close the gap.

Step 13:
This step is optional (I've made a few diapers without it), but it makes for a really nice finish to it, and keeps everything inside better. This creates a kind of "cuff" at the waist, and legs.

You can iron the seams, so they stay open better, or pull them out all the way and pin along them. You'll pull the elastic to stretch it, and pin along side it (not on it).

While stretching the elastic, sew a straight stitch next to it (where you pinned), keeping the seam as flat as you can.

This is what the waist will look like after you do that:

This is what it will look like after you do the waist and legs:

Step 14:
Time for the velcro! Pin a length of the loop part to the front, exterior of the diaper.

Step 15:
Sew a zig zag stitch all the way around the velcro to secure it. For the tabs, cut a piece of hook, and zig zag it all the way around. It's best to place it as close to the end of the tab as you can. This is what it will look like with all the velcro on it.

And this is what it'll look like, completed, and closed. That was easy, wasn't it?

1 comment:

L.Howerter said...

Thank you for posting this!
I am due in 3 months and need to get started on this project!