Talk to me about getting started making and using cloth part time - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 04-20-2011, 09:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I am on my third baby, and have never before used cloth.  I LOVE the look of cloth, but have never wanted to put in the work.  And am still not sure I want to.

 

But, our finances dictate that I need to at least try to stretch the disposables a bit.  I can often get a good deal on them, but not as often as the girls use them up.  So, I am needing to make the boxes last longer.

 

I have 2 in diapers right now.  A 2 yr old, who we are hoping to start potty training this summer, and a 7 month old.  I am hoping we get the 2 yr old out of diapers by the end of the summer, but my oldest didn't potty train until she was 3.5, I am not expecting anything different from these two. 

 

So, I would like to try to make some cloth diapers to use part time when we are at home.  I have plenty of fabric, and am pretty handy with a sewing machine, so I think I could make them with just what I have here.  I have flannels, fleeces, jersey knits and plain old cottons.  I have no idea which would be best to use, how to make them, if I need something else to absorb stuff, etc etc.

 

I need a simple, quick and easy system.  Something that is as close to disposable use as possible, otherwise DH will never use the cloth.  I would LOVE to make one diaper to fit either kid, like something adjustable.  I have snaps and velco in my sewing stuff to help with that if it's possible.

 

Suggestions on patterns, tips on what to do about the laundry aspect, any other materials or fabric I will need, any other helpful suggestions?

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#2 of 8 Old 04-20-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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My mom made me a bunch of flats out of cotton flannel. They are 27" x 27" and she just zigzag stitched the cut sides. I just fold them three times in half and use them with velcro covers. I like flats best because they dry quickly both in the dryer or on the line and can double as a burp/ drool/ snot cloth. I learned, however, that blue is not a good colour for diapers... it really shows the stains, way worse than the white does.

We bought a diaper sprayer, which we love, and is definitely worth the investment (about $60). I soak them in an airtight pail with a bit of laundry soap and non-chlorine (peroxide) bleach.

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#3 of 8 Old 04-20-2011, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, I need to do this for no investment.  And, ideally, most days will just be wet diapers anyway.  My girls seem to only poop like twice a week.  lol

 

What is PUL?  Is it totallly necessary?

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#4 of 8 Old 04-25-2011, 01:31 PM
 
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Depnding on what quality the fleece is that you have, you may be able to use it to make covers. You'll really want a diaper sprayer though, as poop needs to be sprayed off or removed from the diaper & flushed by some other method, before the diapers go into the washer.

 

If your fleece will work as covers, then you don't need PUL.PUL is the waterproof stuff used for diaper covers, or you can use wool or fleece.

 

I don't usually use or like 'one size' diapers, I prefer to have a diaper that fits right w/o adjustments, so I like to have sized diapers. I'm sure a quick google will bring up some tutorials for making one size fitted diapers that you can use for both of your children. If your DH wants something as close to sposies as possible, and as economically as possible, fitteds + covers are likely your best bet!

 

 

 


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#5 of 8 Old 04-25-2011, 01:55 PM
 
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Im in the same boat youre in OP!  I made myself about half a doz cloth diapers to start out with...i still use disposables for overnights and trips to grandmas house....i found a diaper pattern here: http://www.diaperjungle.com/sewing-cloth-diapers.html#Free%20Cloth%20Diaper%20Patterns   but there are plenty of sites - even McCalls and pattern companies have them.  I was surprised how much it helped...i have been sewing for many years and rarely USE patterns at all...but for this...i found i needed one.

PUL  - or some other waterproof fabric - is essential.  I found a cheap alternative here:  http://www.rockywoods.com/Fabrics-Kits/Other-Waterproof-Breathables-Fabrics/Microfiber-Nylon-Water-Wind-Repellant-Breathable-Fabric-Dusty-Olive

(for my 20 lb 8 month old...i can get 6 diapers put of one yard 54" wide) 

One positive you may find is that your older daughter may be more inclined to potty train once she is in cloth.  They hold moisture and the child can actually feel that they are wet and uncomfortable....(one can hope anyway!)

I used PUL/waterproof Gortex  as the outer ...then a layer of hemp stretch terry - very thin....then in the middle i sewed down 4 'soaker' layers....2 of microfiber and 2 of hemp/cotton terry (thicker weight)    you can use flannel, old towels, just about anything as the soaker layer.  You can use old tee-shirts or flannel for the inner layer...the outer waterproof layer....that needs to be a fabric that wont leave your lap wet.

I used snaps instead of velcro....(i am borrowing the snap press from a friend to make this endeaver more economical) 

These are considered "All In Ones"  and they are a cinch to use and wash.   I dont have a diaper sprayer...i rinse really poopy diapers out in the toilet...sometimes i can just scrape off with a 'wet one'....i stash them in a bucket with a lid  and wash at the end of the day. 

Soak, wash, extra rinse, hang dry, machine dry to soften up. 


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#6 of 8 Old 04-28-2011, 10:40 AM
 
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the simplest and cheapest way to start out is just focusing on cloth diapering at home, during the day. i would continue to use disposables at night and while out, as your focus is saving money, and sewing your own never-fail covers requires a bit of trial and error. best to get yourself started first, and if you find you like how it's working, buy yourself a couple yards of PUL and go to town. at home, your kids can wear a flat or prefold diaper with a simple fleece or wool cover or even go coverless most of the time (great if you're trying to potty learn!).

 

in that situation, all you need are some flats or prefolds, which are super easy to make with flannel, jersey, etc. it's just a square or rectangle of absorbent, soft fabric. for two kids, you need at least two dozen. you can use any fabric you like, but it should be 100% cotton. probably your flannel or cotton jersey will work well. even old t-shirts work well, as would old towels, sheets or other cotton fabric you have laying around. they are just there to be pooped and peed on, doesn't need to be fancy or look pretty.

 

for covers, you can use fleece, or you can make wool covers. wool is breathable, absorbent, doesn't stink and is easy to use even in summer. your outlay for that is as simple and cheap as going to your local thrift store and picking up a couple of large mens sweaters (pure wool... not as thin as cashmere, not super thick sherpa sweaters either), taking them home to wash and dry on hot (to felt them and make them waterproof) and using the fabric to sew up some covers. there are lots of patterns online, you can make pull-up ones (easier to sew) or snap/velcro wraps (harder to sew, easier to use).

 

one thing you probably will want to buy are a couple of snappis to hold the diapers on, especially if you want to try coverless diapering. they cost $2-3 each. you can use diaper pins too, but they are fiddly. i strongly disagree that you need a diaper sprayer. we use cloth full time and most of the time poop drops straight into the toilet, and maybe once or twice a week i'm stuck dunking and flushing. not enough hassle to make me want to hook up a diaper sprayer, and definitely not a must-have. you can use any step can type garbage pail for a diaper pail, or even an open bucket (especially if you have a closed off laundry room or basement).

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#7 of 8 Old 04-29-2011, 01:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:

the simplest and cheapest way to start out is just focusing on cloth diapering at home, during the day. i would continue to use disposables at night and while out

Exactly my plan.  It just needs to be simple and cheap.  I don't want to have to consider what to do if I am out at my mom's all day and where to I keep a poopy dipe, ya know.

 

 

Quote:

Im in the same boat youre in OP!  I made myself about half a doz cloth diapers to start out with...i still use disposables for overnights and trips to grandmas house....i found a diaper pattern here: http://www.diaperjungle.com/sewing-cloth-diapers.html#Free%20Cloth%20Diaper%20Patterns   but there are plenty of sites - even McCalls and pattern companies have them.  I was surprised how much it helped...i have been sewing for many years and rarely USE patterns at all...but for this...i found i needed one.

Thanks!  I found the Rita Rump Pocket pattern, so I am trying that first.  It was SO easy.  I felt like I needed a pattern at least to start with also.  Just to give me a base to jump off of, if that makes sense.

 

 

Quote:

in that situation, all you need are some flats or prefolds, which are super easy to make with flannel, jersey, etc. it's just a square or rectangle of absorbent, soft fabric. for two kids, you need at least two dozen. you can use any fabric you like, but it should be 100% cotton

Well, I have a bunch of the flat cloth dipes that you get at Babies R Us or Walmart or whatever, that we have been using as burp cloths.  I also have lots to scrap towels and stuff. 

 

 

Quote:
Depnding on what quality the fleece is that you have, you may be able to use it to make covers

 

. It's just plain old fleece from Joanns-some anit pill, some blizzard, some licensed stuff

 

 

 

 

Ok, so today is test day!!!

 

I made a dipe using the Rita Rump Pocket pattern.  I used two layers of flannel, a junk winter pattern on the inside, and a cute pink camo on the outside.  I used two of the baby washcloths folded up in the pocket as the absorbant material.  I made a cover using a generic diaper cover pattern I already had.  The cover is a Colts print fleece (I live in Indy, super huge Colts fan>>)  Rather than "waste" time sewing velcro on for this test, I used two large safety pins as diaper pins, one to hold the dipe together, one to hold the cover together.  She's been in it for about an hour, sitting on the floor playing with a little activity table thing.  When I first set her down in it she fussed, but she seems ok now.  The big test of course will be what happens when she pees in it.

 

For ease of making the dipe, I give the pattern a 9. 

For ease of diapering baby, I give about a 7 or an 8. 

For cuteness factor, like a 150!  lol  She looks SO freaking cute in this. 

 

Right now she's nakey cause that's how she rolls.  I dunno how clothes are going to fit over this dipe though.

 

 

If this seems to work out ok today, if it contains everything, I will try to whip up some more tomorrow.  I think I am going to make some changes though.  The pattern talks about using fleece as the outer layer to make it an all in one, not requiring a cover.  I think I am going to that route.  Also, I can't decide if I like the pocket idea, or if I would rather just have the absorbant material sewn right in.  It's a matter of more work initially in the construciton of the dipe, vs suffing pockets each time I use it, and searching for the stuffers each time. 

 

Overall, I am thinking if it works, about 6 dipes per kid, so 12 total.  I think that gives me enough to cover during the day, saving the sposies for over night.  Then at the end of the day, just toss the days dipes in the wash overnight, and repeat.

 

One thing, I don't have a clothes line, is running them through the dryer ok?

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#8 of 8 Old 04-29-2011, 02:45 PM
 
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yep, should be fine to use the dryer. they won't hold up as long, but if you're not planning to use them on a bunch more kids, it shouldn't matter too much. i would make more than 6 per kid, at least have something else to throw on them if they go through more than 6 or if you're waiting for the laundry to dry or something. i discovered yesterday that those small flannel receiving blankets that i got a ton of are the perfect shape for a flat (well, i knew they were, but i actually used them yesterday). they don't hold much, but they were perfect to pin on her bum while we waited for the diaper laundry that daddy accidentally turned off to finish. i first time i folded it (origami fold) it took a while and was messy looking. by the end of the day, i had perfected a lovely, neat, trim looking fold.

 

i personally don't like pockets, i don't really see the point of having to change the whole diaper each time, instead of being able to reuse a cover over and over. but, i would definitely not sew the absorbent layers into the pocket, as you will probably see the washing and drying process get more complicated. the less layers that soap and water need to get through, the better. i keep all my diaper parts in one basket, and gathering all the "parts" for a diaper change is simple enough.

 

i haven't sewed with them personally, but i hear good things about those microfiber car cleaning towels and such that you can get at hardware stores. i plan to get a few to make some doublers to use with the flats. 

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