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Diaper 101

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All content © Geek Girl 2007.

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Sew Your Own

Getting Started:
You will need a sewing machine, diaper pattern, fabric, pins, thread and scissors.

A rotary cutter and mat makes cutting the pieces go much faster because you can cut multiple layers of fabric at the same time. Just be sure to take your time until you get the technique down.
For pre-fitted diapers you will also need: elastic, snaps and/or Velcro if you desire to make them self-fastening. I haven't had much luck with the snaps/Velcro so we just use diaper pins.

Fabric:
Pretty much any fabric that is durable, soft and absorbent will work to make diapers. Avoid synthetic fabrics as they aren't absorbent.
New or used is fine, you can recycle old flannel sheets, shirts, pajamas, most kinds of receiving blankets, old towels, you already own or find at garage sales, thrift stores, etc. for very little money.
Those listed here are just recommendations use what ever you think will work.
Fleece, micro fleece, flannel, diaper flannel*, terry cloth**, stretch terry** , birds-eye weave cloth, waffle knit fabric, sweatshirt fabric
Pre-washing is recommended. Especially for new fabric to prevent shrinkage.

*I have found diaper flannel at Wal-Mart for around $1.70 a yard.
**The edges on terry cloth should be finished so the don't unravel.

Patterns:
-Buy One-If you decide to buy a pattern there are a number online to choose from. You can also look for the Kwik Sew #2062 diaper patterns at your local fabric store.
-Make One-Making your own pattern is easy. What I did was take my favorite kind of diaper cover, stretch it all the way out onto a piece of newspaper and trace around it. Then I added 1" all around for seam allowance. For the soaker, (absorbent middle layer) cut rectangle and oval shapes of newspaper sized to fit inside the diaper. To make the patter symmetrical fold the paper in half and cut out the pattern.
-Download a wonderful free diaper pattern from http://www.ottobredesign.com/en/print/pdf/vaippa_en.pdf

Sewing "How To"
These are just general instructions to give you an idea of how to put this stuff together. Experimentation is half the adventure and your result will be a customized diaper built to fit your baby's shape perfectly.

Diapers:
This is how I made my fitted diapers with a homemade pattern. These diapers are pin able and require a waterproof cover.
I haven't had luck with the Velcro or snaps used on my homemade diapers but if you prefer you can add them.
Fleece is terrific for the layer of the diaper that touches baby's bottom. It will wick moisture away from baby and is so nice and soft!

Carefully cut out the diaper pieces. For each diaper you will need two outer hourglass shaped pieces of soft, absorbent fabric about 16 inches long----14 inches wide at the ends----8 inches wide at the middle. For the middle soaker layer you will need 2 rectangular pieces of soft, absorbent fabric approximately 5" x 13" and four (or more) oval pieces of absorbent fabric for the inside soaker. Remember the thicker the soaker the longer it will take the diapers to dry and the bulkier the fit.

Layer the soaker pieces rectangles first, then the ovals. Stitch down both sides of the pad being sure to catch all raw edges, to hold it together. Leave the ends open, that will help them dry faster.

Center the soaker on the wrong side of the outer layer that goes next to the baby. With a straight stitch sew the outer edges of the soaker to the fabric.

To gather up the leg edges. Cut 2 pieces of 1/4 inch elastic three inches long. Starting about 5 1/2" from one end of the diaper, use a narrow zigzag stitch to sew through the elastic 3/4 of an inch from the raw leg edge stretching the elastic as you sew. Try to end about 5 1/2 inches from the end of the diaper.

Place the two outer diaper pieces with wrong sides together. Pin together. Use a straight stitch to sew 1/4" from the raw edges around the diaper. While sewing the leg edges, stretch the elastic layer smooth. Then stitch around the diaper a second time using an overlock or tight zigzag stitch to seal the raw edges together. It makes the diaper look really nice and as an added touch you can use colored thread.

Diaper Doublers:
For the layer next to baby's skin fleece is wonderful. It draws wetness through keeping baby drier and baby's skin healthier.
Cut a rectangle of newspaper that fits inside your diapers, about 6" wide and 14" long. This is your pattern.
For each doubler you will need one fleece piece (optional), two terry pieces (or more), and two (or more) flannel pieces. Lay out fabric and cut out pieces.
Layer the pieces in this order: fleece, flannel, terry, terry, flannel. Pin together.
Sew with a straight stitch 1/4" from the edge all around. Then sew a second time around the raw edges with a overlock or tight zigzag stitch to seal the raw edges.