Cheaper to Sew your own stash? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 16 Old 08-27-2006, 11:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I bought all the diapers for my son but I'm wondering about making them for my next child (to replace the ones that just won't make it). I'm a brand spanking new seamstress, as in . .. I can thread the machine and make stitches but really nothing complicated. Considering that I would probably make a lot of mistakes, would you say it is better to just buy the diapers or go ahead and get the material and give it a try?

Stay-at-home mom to 2 beautiful.busy.boisterous boys b. 08.17.05 & 12.29.08
Nirvana is . . . the living happiness of a soul which is conscious of itself and conscious of having found its own abode in the heart of the Eternal. --Gandhi
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#2 of 16 Old 08-27-2006, 11:39 PM
 
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Well, diaper making is fun IMO so from that perspective, I'd say go for it but as far as saving money, it really depends on what you're making. Unless you're making a TON, it is cheaper to buy prefolds than to make them; you can definately make AIOs cheaper than you can buy them (ok, if you get AIOs that aren't %100 cotton and have vinyl for the waterproofing, you can prob get them cheaper, but . . .). Fitted dipes and covers generally are the same or cheaper to make, depending what materials you use. If you get into recycled materials or co-ops, you can get fabric pretty cheap. If you become a pattern junkie and use specialty fabrics or just make WAY more than you would have bought, you could end up spending more than if you just bought diapers. But by then, diaper sewing kinda passes over into a hobby, which falls into its own catagory of spending so . . . As far as not spending too much when learning, try a free pattern (check the stickies) and use forgiving materials (ie fleece for covers since you can undo and resew without compromising waterproofness; excess flannel receiving blankets or old flannel sheets for inners) then once you are happy with the results, go buy that cute PUL print you've been coveting, or some organic velour.

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#3 of 16 Old 08-27-2006, 11:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow . . . thanks for that really thorough response. You've given me some things to think about and great suggestions on where to start (because I had no idea). I do know that I shouldn't do something that I will get addicted too . .. I'm still trying to battle down my yarn stash. I really like the idea of making all my own stuff but as I'm learning the hard way, sometimes it's more economical to buy the simplest, mass produced stuff available (like prefolds). Anyway, thanks a lot!

Stay-at-home mom to 2 beautiful.busy.boisterous boys b. 08.17.05 & 12.29.08
Nirvana is . . . the living happiness of a soul which is conscious of itself and conscious of having found its own abode in the heart of the Eternal. --Gandhi
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#4 of 16 Old 08-28-2006, 08:13 AM
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I think using mostly recycled fabrics is a great way to get started. It doesn't cost much and you can get plenty of practice and not be disappointed when you totally screw up a diaper.

Once you have it down and are feeling confident, you can move on to more expensive fabrics if you want. But you really can just do all recycled fabrics and still have a wonderful stash. The t-shirt diapers I made are our favorite fitteds.

Overall, as long as you don't go overboard, then yes, you will save money.

Here's a run-down for how much I spend to make different diapers:

pockets (no insert): $3....pul and suedecloth
AIO: $5-6....pul and hemp or birdseye
hemp fitteds: $5-6....cute outer print and many, many layers of hemp jersey
recycled fitteds: $.50...free fabric, only costs are thread, elastic, and aplix
recycled AIO's: $1.50...$1 for pul, free inner fabric
covers from fleece jackets: $.50
cover from pul with foe: $2.75

Those prices are for aplix diapers. Anything with snaps is about $.50-.75 extra. And these prices are for large diapers. Newborns and smalls would be quite a bit cheaper.

All of it is cheaper than what you would pay for new. You just have to decide how much your time is worth. If it will be just about as cheap just to buy a bunch of prefolds and you don't really have the time to sew, then just go with prefolds if that works for you.

And don't worry about not knowing much about sewing. You'll catch on quick. I started where you are. Threading the machine and sewing a straight line. I just practiced and went for it. The first diaper wasn't even functional as a diaper. But I got better. The third and fourth diapers I made are still in my stash. I use them as night time diapers and they've held up really well. Cosmetically imperfect but I'm the only one who sees them so who cares?
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#5 of 16 Old 08-30-2006, 03:45 PM
 
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I spent about $250 on organic fabrics from coops and notions like thread, aplix, and elastic. I have made about three dozen fitted dipes from that and have stuff leftover. So I would say it is definitely cheaper to make your own. Especially considering the price of organic diapers. Oh yeah, and I made a few pairs of pants (infant), a dozen doublers, breast pads, and three dozen wipes from that fabric, too. It is seriously addicting. I think I will be ready to try pockets or all in ones next.

Emily, cooking allergen free, knitting, reading, gardening Mom to 1 beautiful girl, born in the water on July 1, 2006 Wife to 1 handsome man since September 10, 2005
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#6 of 16 Old 08-30-2006, 03:56 PM
 
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#7 of 16 Old 08-30-2006, 08:33 PM
 
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I just started sewing my own diapers on Saturday. I have NEVER used a sewing machine. I'm actually using my husband's grandmother's 1957 Singer!!!!!!!

I started with making a prefold out of an old flannel receiving blanket. It will make a great burp cloth or a rag! Lots of mistakes!! I attempted to make a contour diaper with elastic, but I don't think it will my new son when he arrives! LOL

I am using only old material from around my house. I will keep practicing and if I get the hand of it, I will invest.

We are making it a family affair. My husband helps cut out the fabric and made the patters for contour diaper. Tonight my 7 yo son wanted to help. He pushed the foot pedal, while I did the work. The prefold is actually the best one by far (well 1 out of 3!)

I will look for any advice!!!!!!! I really want to cloth diaper my son arriving in January....money reasons and better for him!

Deb
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#8 of 16 Old 08-30-2006, 08:48 PM
 
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I was in the same boat as you when I started sewing my stash. I learned to thread the machine on the day I made my first diaper. I am also VERY impatient, which means I dont take the time to pin or anything. I have made a few diapers, the first ones are functional, but not pretty, and the ones I am making now are actually ok. I am also making wool t sweaters and wraps...out of recycled wool of course! ITA to use the fabrics you already have around the house. Also, I buy a TON of flannel at walmart in the $1 bin. One yard makes 2 diapers, so at $.50 a dipe, I think its worth it. I make fitteds with aplix. Of course making my own dipes is NO excuse for not buying some though! It sure is fun though. And all the ones that I make that are functional but have cosmetic flaws, I donate. So it's fun and a good cause!
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#9 of 16 Old 08-30-2006, 08:53 PM
 
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Sewing diapers is a great beginner sewing project and can save you a ton of money. You don't need fancy materials. You can even recycle fabrics from your home or thrift sales and thrift stores. There are free patterns on the web and tons of free instructions and sewing tutorials.

You can end up spending a lot of money if you want to buy all the latest fabrics and go bonkers over purchasing the cutest PUL fabrics and fleeces and whatnot. But it doesn't have to be that way. Cloth diapering can be doen on the cheap. Very cheap.

I think the Fern and Faerie website has a bunch of info on frugal cloth diapering.

And sewing diapers is so fun and addicting. I love it. I started out w/ cloth buying a ton of used diapers in every style and brand imaginable. Kindof embarrassing how overboard I went. But from that experience I learned what I liked and didn't like. And also learned that there wasn't really anything so terribly special about boughten diapers, even the big name brands. They were all very similar. Some just fit better on my child or I liked them better for some reason or other. But preferences are so personal. I didn't do prefolds, but some love 'em. Even buying used diapers was super expensive though. I am too ashamed to say how much I spent and I ended up reselling virtually all of them anyhow.

Once I started sewign cloth, I found that I liked my home made diapers at least as much as the purchased ones. And I loved to use them b/c I made them myself. I tried several free patterns and made some up myself. I later started buying and trying some of the commercial ones. My recent favorite is the Chloe Toes diaper pattern and I make them pocket style. These are awesome diapers and they are super trim and the very fastest diapers to sew that I have ever made. Way faster than Honeyboy or Poopockets or Very Baby (though I do like the look of Honeyboy w/ the cute tabs). I should mention that even though some of my earlier diapers weren't the best, they all worked good enough. It's not like they are a total waste, even if they are crooked or not pretty to look at. They are for catching baby's pee and poop after all!

I say go for it. Diaper sewing is fun and can really save money as long as you don't go hog wild in the coops.
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#10 of 16 Old 08-30-2006, 09:51 PM
 
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I had no intention of ever making my own diapers. We started out with a diaper service (prefolds and ProRap covers) and decided I really didn't like that system and bought a few fitteds, a few AIO's, just to see what else was out there. Then I decided they would be pretty easy (and inexpensive) to make (I have done a moderate amount of sewing before, but nothing fancy, just basic patterns, pillows...). So I bought a few materials, and more materials, and more materials, and more and more and more there's so much to try! And I must admit I was having a lot of fun making up diaper patterns by tracing my favorite diapers and adjusting them to custom fit DS.

SO to answer your question, I think I saved money by making my own, but probably not a ton of money (I bought a lot of different materials, even got a snap press), but more importantly I had a lot of fun and got much better at sewing!

-lizabird

Mom of (11/27/03) and (9/29/06).
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#11 of 16 Old 08-31-2006, 12:36 PM
 
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i've saved money by sewing my DS and unborn baby's diaper stash, even if you take into account all the big and probably unnecessary items i bought, such as a snap press with colorful snaps and expensive sewing scissors and whatnot. even after factoring all of that in, i've spent less than $3 per pocket diaper or cover, $2 per fitted and $1 per contour or insert. i use a lot of recycled t-shirts or blankets in my soakers and look for good deals on print fabrics and notions. in the end, it works out really well for the pocketbook. plus, it's a TON of fun.
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#12 of 16 Old 08-31-2006, 02:44 PM
 
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My husband actually said it the other day...."I thought you making her diapers was supposed to save us money!" This was after I had gone to the fabric store several times this week and spent at least $20 each time. But then I got to explain that while, yes, I did spend alot of money on fabric, I now have enough to make probably 100 diapers. I have tons of fabric.

I think in the long run, it will save me money. I don't have anything laying around to make diapers with since we just moved and I had seriously edited our stuff, so I went way overboard buying fabric. Recycled diapers would save tons of money!

CPST & mom

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#13 of 16 Old 08-31-2006, 03:22 PM
 
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I am making fitteds for our newborn (who arrived a little early and i was only about four diapers into it) and it is waaaaaay cheaper than buying them. I bought the very baby pattern and aplix and cloth i have for relatively cheap (i hit the sales rack on flannel at joann's in the middle of summer) and can make probably 15 or so dipes out of all of it. Now, i just need to find the time to do it with a 3 year old, an almost 2 year old and a newborn

Midwifery Student and Mama to 2 daughters and 3 sons.     
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#14 of 16 Old 08-31-2006, 10:53 PM
 
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I just made some diapers to donate and posted on freecycle for my materials. Four bags of tshirts later, I had over forty diapers to send in...and enough for about a dozen more, to make after the "fall clothes" frenzy is done here (I have so many kids' clothes to make...). I also have made them out of Joanns sales fabrics (I like to make my dipes fitteds out of cotton jersey), the wraps out of $1 days wool sweaters from Salvation Army, and I DO get some organic cotton and hemp from co-ops. I try to be frugal about my purchases, and CERTAINLY can make them for less than I could buy them. Have fun, and if you have time, GO FOR IT!

Mama to two awesome kids. Wife to a wonderful, attached, loving husband. I love my job-- I'm a Midwife, Doula and Childbirth Educator, Classes forming now!

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#15 of 16 Old 09-06-2006, 01:05 AM
 
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I think it partially depends on your patience levels as well, meaning can you wait to find the fabrics on sales/closeouts/thrift store/garage sales etc. or do you want to go online and purchase right now! If you don't mind hunting around, you'll find amazing deals. I grabbed 5+ yds of knit terry at Joanns on clearance (was $9/yd) for $1.27/yd. A couple of days ago, I saw a couple of folks who had scored powerdry fabric for $1/yd. Yikes, I was jealous over that one!

So it depends on your style.

It's definitely worth a try. So go for it and have fun!
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#16 of 16 Old 09-11-2006, 03:07 AM
 
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HI,
I'm so with you (OP)...
However I love shopping at thrift stores for hunting and finding great deals. My problems is I tend to give up without finishing the projects. I'm looking at all these used dipes selling for the price of almost new ones and since I'm thrift store junkie, I refuse to buy them at this price.
I already bought some PUL fabric but need to shop for inner fabric, thread, needle, FOE (or elastic), closure... I've never thought about trying to make a dipe with recycled fabric before messing up the expensive fabrics.
Thank you all for encouragement.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rootzdawta
I bought all the diapers for my son but I'm wondering about making them for my next child (to replace the ones that just won't make it). I'm a brand spanking new seamstress, as in . .. I can thread the machine and make stitches but really nothing complicated. Considering that I would probably make a lot of mistakes, would you say it is better to just buy the diapers or go ahead and get the material and give it a try?

 ~ Have a Blessed Day!
DS 6/2002, DD 5/2006, DS Feb 2009
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