I've heard I don't need to felt 100% wool to make diaper covers out of it. SERIOUSLY?!
Can someone please enlighten me about what I can make a diaper cover out of (i.e. so it won't leak) and if I need to find specific types of fabric, or to pre-treat them in some way? I was all ready to get a bunch of 100% wool sweaters from the thrift store, felt them, lanolize them, etc...but if I can skip all that extra hassle, I'd be super-happy!
(Currently we use standard PUL covers, but they're leaving marks around DS's legs and I think wool would be so much gentler. Plus I'm interested in making longies too, for cuteness).
The covers I bought (like Ruskovilla) are wool interlock, not felted, so if you lanolize them (this is as easy as dipping in warm-hot water w lanolin melted in and floating on the surface-- too easy) they work great. After my babies were older, I began knitting plain wool (not felted) covers for others, and I lanolize them and recommend eucalan to keep them water resistant.
That said, wool is not water-PROOF; it is water resistant. It's not the same as plastic, and won't let you by w leaving a dipe on longer than necessary C: Maybe that's why diaper rash is almost unheard-of w wool covers, LOL.
OH-- I just saw this post in the diaper making forum somewheres:
We have wool interlock in stock. We are are the manufacturer. We sell by the roll, 50-60 yards per roll. Contact me: thewoolguy@BritanniaMillsLTD.com"
sry, don't know how to quote sometimes C:
It depends on the thickness of the sweater you start with. You could probably felt a really thin merino sweater, but your typical thick wool would become too stiff and thick to make pants after felting. Knitted soakers and longies are not felted. But they're not waterproof, either. They simply stop moisture in a diaper from wicking onto something else (like bedding, or your clothes.) You dipe needs to hold the liquid, and a soaker stops it from wicking out. I've never seen felt that would make good longies. Felt is just too stiff. The beauty of knitted pants is how stretchy, soft, and therefore comfortable they are.
You can cut a knitted sweater to sew longies without it unravelling, you just need to take a little care.
Thanks for the replies, gals.
But, I'm still confused. What's the difference between a soaker, a wool cover, and "shorties/longies"? Is the wool cover used as a real cover (i.e. with a diaper inside it, like a prefold or a fitted)?
I tried to find some used wool sweaters at the thrift store today, but 100% wool is so hard to find! Would a wool blend work? I saw some that were acrylic-wool, some cotton-wool, etc. Which mix is best?
Also, the 100% wool sweaters I did find felt super-itchy to me. Is this normal? How do babies wear these against their skin? Sorry for the confusing questions, but I'm new to wool. :)
A soaker is a wool cover. It can be diaper shaped, and go under clothes, or it can replace the clothes, like shorties, longies, or skirties.
A wool blend will work. I think 70% and up is good. Make sure the wool isn't machine washable (label will say 'machine wash' or 'superwash.') That fiber has been treated to remove the scales on the individual fibers, so they won't felt in the wash, but they also won't hang on to lanolin well. You won't be able to use the soaker over and over without washing like you can with wool. Also make sure there isn't a plant fiber in the mix that will wick moisture, like cotton or linen.
You do need to find something soft. Lanolin and conditioner will soften wool a little, but not enough to make a big difference. Use your hands to find good wool in a thrift store more than your eyes. As you walk along the sweater rack, touch each sweater. Merino is a nice, soft wool, but there is some variation even within a type of fiber. Cashmere works, so does alpaca.
Yes, sweaters work ok, but watch felting. I have bought several and had them shrink to the point I couldn't use them. That said, some did shrink, but not so much. You just have to watch the washer. You can't always tell what kind of wool it is, or how it will behave in the wash.
Interlock you buy for cover making is sort of nice, you have an idea what to expect after you have used it.
Wool is the best cover fabric going, nothing can come close to comparing.
I just made my first longies today with a couple of old wool sweaters of mine. Actually the one pair will probably be just pants as they are fine merino wool and wouldn't repel much. The other was made of lambs wool. I felted both of them. The lambs wool did shrink quite a bit but felted really nicely and actually became more soft. (I decided to recycle this one because it was too itchy to wear, but it is so soft after felting). The sweater was a little small to begin with so it was a stretch to get a pair of longies that would fit ds (13 months). However they ended up fitting like leggings and look super cute. They are repelling pretty well and I haven't lanolized them yet but the sweater had been washed in Euclan. I can't wait to try the other pair on him tomorrow!
so far i have had good luck with lambs wool especially. a thinner sweater (think "fashion" sweater as opposed to "living in the yukon" sweater!) felts up just enough to be solid, but still flexible. the first time i bought, i got 4 sweaters of different types and thicknesses, and felted them all at the same time. 2 turned out perfect, one was too thick, and one was too thin (but still made a nice set of pants). the super thick one i actually pieced together to make a soaker pad for naked time. worked beautifully. anyway, after that test, i was able to go out and choose a couple more that were the right thickness for felting. especially for regular soakers, you can use a stiffer fabric than you could for pants anyway.
I've never felted or lanolized any of my wool soakers. They are all made out of old sweaters and I just look for at least 75% wool. 100% is the best but can be hard to come by. I use my soakers/longies mainly for night time and they have always worked well for me. I do use them over pockets or AIO so maybe thats the difference.
I've been wondering the same things. I've got a couple of old ratty sweaters (or ones I've accidentally shrunk) that would have a great life as a soaker, but I've read some conflicting stuff on content. This has been really helpful! Thanks. :)
Two wonderful boys born Aug 2009 and Sept 2011, and #3 due April 2015! I'm also a CLC and postpartum doula.