Can a novice make diapers? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 16 Old 09-26-2005, 07:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi all! I'm a sewing novice, as in, I just learned to use a sewing machine last week...

I'm wondering if I should even try to make diapers at this point. Or should I just stick to more simple projects right now?

I've been embellishing prefolds. Basically just sewing pretty fabric down the center panel... I've also trimmed a couple of them and sewn the 'cut-off' part in as a doubler.

So, what do all you experts think??
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#2 of 16 Old 09-26-2005, 07:08 PM
 
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I'm definitely no expert, but I think even someone new to sewing could sew a diaper. I have the Very Baby AIO pattern and I think the directions would be simple enough for a novice to follow. The only part I found to be a real challenge was the elastic because I hadn't done a whole lot of elastic sewing before.

I think you should give it a try. Everyone's first diaper is an adventure, but it doesn't take much to catch on and you'll soon be addicted like I am!

HTH!
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#3 of 16 Old 09-26-2005, 07:33 PM
 
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You can! I had not used my sewing machine in over 10 years (and even then I just sewed some curtains) and I started embellishing prefolds like you a few months ago. Then I bought the Darling Diaper pattern and my first diaper out was great! That pattern is super easy and I used things I bought from Walmart (except the Aplix which I ordered on-line).

I think diapers are pretty easy to sew and I just started last week. In fact, I would still be sewing some if I did not have sewing machine issues. Darn machine had problems, I took it apart, and now it is in pieces.

Don't spend a lot of money on fabric at first. I bought some microfleece from JoAnns and fleece from Walmart (you can buy it by the yard or buy blankets) and it is costing me less than $1/diaper (even with Aplix). And these are nice fleece pocket diapers.

Do it! You won't be disappointed!
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#4 of 16 Old 09-26-2005, 08:47 PM
 
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Absolutely! I had never touched a sewing machine before March of this year...and I have made over 50 diapers already...fitteds, pockets...you name it! I even made my own pattern. Since I made my own pattern...the first few diapers that I made were VERY rough around the edges...but now they come out perfect almost everytime!

You can do it!! And you will save so much money!!!
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#5 of 16 Old 09-26-2005, 09:49 PM
 
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Like other posters say, DO IT! I'm a novice sewer too. I've done little things here and there over the years, but not anything that difficult. Diapers turned out to be easier than I thought they would be! You will make mistakes, but most of the time, you will still end up with a usable diaper, even if it isn't a beautiful WAHM quality diaper.

Start out with some $1/yd fabric from Walmart and just practice some techniques like turning and top stitching, sewing elastic (diapers were the first time I did this!), and sewing on velcro. You can purchase patterns online to help you out. I drafted my own pattern using instructions found online, plus I read a bunch of sew-your-own-diapers type websites (two of my favorites are Diaper Sewing and Sew Diapers. My first actual diaper was an AIO made with a fleece reminant from Walmart (discounted) and some red plaid flannel for the inside. It turned out great, except the butt wasn't quite wide enough - pattern error (this wouldn't be an issue if you buy one). My second diaper was a fitted made out of an old hospital baby blanket - My DS wore it today!

And when you run into a problem you can't solve, just pop in here. There are lots of experienced diaper sewers here that are super helpful! You can also read through the archives, searching for specific topics before you tackle a new sewing technique.
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#6 of 16 Old 09-27-2005, 12:43 AM
 
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Just keep telling yourself "how hard can it be?!?" ignorance is bliss! You'll get better and better as you go and occasionally you'll have these great moments of 'hey, if I do it this way I bet it will go much faster!' (I LIVE for those moments! :LOL )

I was very happy to sew with cheaper materials to start with so I could work out problems before I started using expensive and more difficult to sew materials like PUL (fleece is super easy to sew with by the way... don't hold back there)

I always sew a tester with really cheap material with a new pattern (like the cut off left over bits from my IKEA curtains) I'll often substitute a contrasting material to act as my aplix on those ones too. I can work out placement and the order to sew that way.

But absolutely you can do a lot of basic sewing learning you need to on diapers. Plus the projects are small and sew up relatively quickly.
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#7 of 16 Old 09-27-2005, 03:30 AM
 
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I'm a novice sewer... and I just started. I just finished my 6th diaper today, and they get better and better.

Try it! You have nothing to lose
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#8 of 16 Old 09-27-2005, 11:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, where do you all find inexpensive fabrics to start out with? I don't want to waste money sewing my first diapers since I'm sure they'll be 'less than perfect'! :LOL

Since I've just started sewing I have nothing on hand here at home. I looked through Walmart's clearance shelf, but they didn't have anything that looked like it'd be good for diapers...

Are there any yahoo groups or other forums that you belong to where you sell/trade fabrics?

TIA!
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#9 of 16 Old 09-27-2005, 11:17 PM
 
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my first diaper were made from fabric I rescued from the garbage bin. dipes and covers that other people were gonna throw away
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#10 of 16 Old 09-27-2005, 11:22 PM
 
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I think diapers are a great "first project." If they come out uneven or you sew something on backwards, they'll still work just fine! And your baby will outgrow your mistakes.

ETA you can sew diapers from cotton flannel sheets, or use t-shirts for the outer layers and towels for the absorbant layer- check out your closets or a thrift store for materials.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18, and Jack, 12
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#11 of 16 Old 09-27-2005, 11:23 PM
 
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I'm a total novice sewer - before the summer, I hand-hemmed a few skirts and that was that. I just started sewing my own diapers - I have two done so far - one's goofy looking, one has some badly serged edges, but they both work and they're great for figuring out fit and whatnot. I think I'm going to sacrific all those receiving blankets I no longer need or want to my tester diaper cause - after four kids, I have a LOT of receiving blankets!

I'm waiting on the Very Baby pattern - I've tried a couple free downloads, those have worked, but dh and I both like the VB style.

As for where to find fabric around the house - I have leftover fleece from drapes. In our old house, my dd's room had five windows that were all drafty, so I made fleece curtains to keep the room warmer. We moved and now I have these fleece curtains I don't need. Voila - diaper material! I've heard of people cutting apart old t-shirts and even bathrobes for diaper material.

Also, Joann's and Hancock Fabrics both have remnant sections - that's a good place to find fabric cheap - just make sure it's big enough.
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#12 of 16 Old 09-27-2005, 11:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraMama
Since I've just started sewing I have nothing on hand here at home. I looked through Walmart's clearance shelf, but they didn't have anything that looked like it'd be good for diapers...
My Walmart has a TON of $1/yd 100% cotton flannel. It's plaid, but it works. :LOL I did my practicing of basic diaper techniques on that. There's ALOT you can do with just 1 yd!!!

When it came time to do a working diaper, I used a fleece remnant from Walmart that was discounted. It's forest green and actually works pretty well. More expensive than the flannel, but such is life. I think the elastic and hook&loop were more expensive than the fabric I bought. I used the fleece as the outer portion of an AIO. The plaid fabric was the inner fabric and the soaker (I made a tri-fold snap-in... the snaps were a nightmare - don't bother with Walmart's cheapo snaps).

For making a fitted diaper... baby blankets are awesome. I used an old hospital blanket that was my DH's (there are a ton of them, and this one was stained and not particularly pretty, so I didn't feel bad about cutting up a 33 year old baby blanket). It was smaller than the hospital blankets used today, but still big enough to make an entire fitted diaper (including soaker) for my toddler, and it's quite soft! I'm sure you could find these types of blankets at a thrift store for very cheap if you don't have any to spare/sacrifice.

Flannel sheets and other such things make great diapers too. Just use your imagination. I know there's so much about fabric you never thought about before trying to sew! At least that was the experience I had.
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#13 of 16 Old 09-28-2005, 12:44 AM
 
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besides an unsquare pillow I made I had never sewn before either until diapers.. Mine are still wayy far from perfect but the work and it feels good that once Im done my DD will wear it! It can be frustrating at times but over all I LOVE it! Ive probably made about 25 dipes ... Its really the only sewing I enjoy. The VB pattern is an excellent place to start! I also would just use really really cheap or free finds for the fabric for your first one as I managed to ruin a yard of PUL my first few diapers and it isnt a cheap mistake to make.. Now when I use a pattern for the first time I buy cheapy flannel and make 1 tester first!

Shelly, Mom to Sophia 5 Nicholas 3 & 2 Angels
Its a GIRL! Alyssa Ann 6/29/10 7lbs 5 oz
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#14 of 16 Old 09-29-2005, 12:00 PM
 
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I would definetly give it a try. When I started making diapers (in March I think) I had NO idea what I was doing. I started out making fitteds with old shirts, recieving blankets, towels and $2 worth of velcro and elastic. I made my sons first set of fitteds for $2! Once I got better I started buying fabric from WalMart, microfleece from JoAnns, and PUL and aplix from DiaperCuts. Im so glad I gave diaper making a shot, now Im totally addicted!
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#15 of 16 Old 09-29-2005, 02:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaraMama
Hi all! I'm a sewing novice, as in, I just learned to use a sewing machine last week...

I'm wondering if I should even try to make diapers at this point. Or should I just stick to more simple projects right now?

I've been embellishing prefolds. Basically just sewing pretty fabric down the center panel... I've also trimmed a couple of them and sewn the 'cut-off' part in as a doubler.

So, what do all you experts think??
i am a professional seamstress and costume maker for an opera company, and i can tell you this from personal experience:

beginners can make anything including tailored suits if they want to. it just takes longer than it takes an expert.

there is NOTHING simpler than a diaper. at it's very basic, it can be a rectangle with finished edges--at the most advanced, it is a cover/soaker/stay-dry liner and decorative clothing accessory. but even at the highest state of development in technology, it is nothing more than a glorified poop catcher. your most miserable experiment in diaper making will still most likely result in a diaper that will do the job, even if it isn't pretty. the unpretty ones are for under winter clothing. the pretty ones are for impressing the relatives who question your mothering skills.
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#16 of 16 Old 09-29-2005, 03:09 PM
 
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You are so right rowena!

Many times I screw up on little things (fleece backwards, seams not straight, caught the elastic in my stitches, etc.) yet once it is on the little guy it looks great and you would never know the mistakes I made.
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