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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Making Your Own Cloth Diaper Covers...

I've been thinking about doing cloth diapers with Katie since before she was born--mostly because diapers are really expensive. We had a lot of family that was really nice and basically kept us in diapers until just recently. We've still got some, but we're running a little low. This morning, I decided to take on a project that I had thought about doing for a month or so now. If you don't want to read about it, skip to the end. There are some cute pictures of Katie to see.

First, I decided to make a pattern. This was not as simple as tracing a regular diaper, because it definitely wasn't big enough. I decided to recycle Indy's Dog food bag...Also, we didn't have any newspaper.

To figure out sizing, I measured around Katie's waist, from her belly button to the middle of her back, and the width of the diaper in between her legs. I left her in a diaper for the whole measuring thing...and it was more ballpark than actual science. This is what I came up with. I decided to add 2 inches on each side of what I measured, so I had some extra room, and so it'd be big enough. I made sure all my lines were centered, and then I just basically drew a vertical line from about an inch and a half in to the center on all sides.

This became my pattern. You could probably do this without a pattern, but you'll have to repeat your drawing for each cover you do.

I placed the pattern on my waterproof material: A cute tablecloth I bought from Walmart for $4.00. After looking at all the other plastic-backed material, I decided that this would be nicer--the inside is actually soft, though not a whole lot of it touches Katie's skin.

Once you cut out your pattern, you should have something like this...or something that resembles your own pattern.

I didn't really take pictures of all the sewing stuff, but I used a sewing machine to sew elastic along the legs (I did .75 times the total length of the leg openings). Just sew on the elastic at the ends, for the rest, make a sort of pocket for it--this will allow the fabric to bunch up and stretch if needed. After that, just hem all the edges, and attach Velcro (or snaps, or whatever your choice is) to the tabs in the back, and the front. If you use Velcro that already has adhesive on it, it sticks pretty well, but you might want to tack it down with a few stitches. You might also want to do the tacking by hand, since the adhesive will gum up your sewing machine if you're not careful.

In the end, you should get something like this:

Here's a close up of where the elastic went. I used 1/4" elastic, also from Walmart, for about $1.50 (you get a lot more than you'll need for one).

Here's the inside of the thing. The Velcro on the left I tacked down, the Velcro on the right I did not. I'll be fixing that later.

As I was reading about materials to make the liners out of, I found a lot of people selling terrycloth. I had an older towel that wasn't part of any sets, so I cut it up into pieces that could be folded to increase the thickness and absorbency.

How does Katie feel about saving the environment (and saving her parents a lot of money)?

She likes it!

I love this one. I think she looks so sassy.

And that's all there is to it. I don't have amazing sewing skills, and so it took me awhile to make the first one (an hour and a half or so), but that was due to a lot of issues with me, mostly. I bet a more experienced person could make one in about half an hour, easy. We used this cover all day today, and just replaced the towel liner each time we changed her. No leaks yet, which is great.

A couple of notes:
1. I would just hand wash the cover--I tried running the material through the washer before, and it didn't work out so well. It might work better with higher quality PUL material elsewhere, or try something else.
2. I will probably sew around the edges of my liners before using the rest of them--they fray a bit and can leave behind little bits of towel. Hopefully just sewing around the edges will help this--maybe if you cut yours with pinking shears?
3. You could use other things for the liners too--microfiber towels, maybe even a sham wow if you really wanted to go crazy. :)

Anyway, the best part about it is that I've got enough tablecloth left for about 10-15 more covers. I've probably got enough elastic for the same. The Velcro I used is leftover from another project (fixing some of Nate's sandals), but it was about $4.00, and buying another set would probably let me finish it up. Bottom line is, for about $10, I've got Katie's daytime diapering covered for awhile. We're still planning on using a disposable diaper at night, just because it's more absorbent. As long as this works, we should save quite a bit of money in the long run...here's hoping!


  1. Very nice, I'm impressed! Such simple materials, but it looks good. I'll be interested to hear how they last over time.

  2. You are amazing! I am so impressed!

  3. You are awesome! I have wished that I would do this to save money and the environment, but I have no excuse- I'm just too lazy. I am so impressed! Keep up the good work! Katie is a cutie!!