Archive for the ‘cloth diapering’ Category

The lovely Emily, of The EC Store, has given me permission to share my method of making potty covers for the Baby Bjorn Little Potty. We practice Elimination Communication with our babies and, while we love it, a plastic potty can be very chilly on a toasty warm little bottom!  (A potty is especially chilly when it is the one we keep in the van and the month happens to be January.)  While it is extremely easy to make a potty cozy, if you would like one and aren’t into sewing, please check out the covers at The EC Store, called Potty Turtlenecks.

Let’s get started.

All you will need is:

  • a piece of fabric 12″ x 38″; you will want to use something that will not absorb wetness from occasional splashes.  Polyester fleece is a great choice, but other fabrics such as minky (which I used for the tutorial) will also work.  I imagine a nice wool interlock or jersey would also work well.
  • about a yard of 3/8″ elastic
  • something to thread elastic through, such as a bodkin or a safety pin
  • sewing machine
  • serger (optional)

1.  Gather your materials and cut your fabric to size. The stretch should go across the fabric widthwise.

2.  Optionally, serge or zig-zag the long ends of the fabric. This is really unnecessary with polyester fleece, but if you are a perfectionist, please go ahead.

3.  Serge, zig-zag or straight-stitch the short ends of the fabric together, right-sides facing each other.

You now have a tube that looks like this:











4.  Turn up one open end 1″ and press/pin in place. (Pressing doesn’t work really well with this type of fabric, but it might help to keep things from shifting.)  You will have the wrong side of the fabric facing out and be turning it up so that the wrong sides are together for that 1″ strip.

5.  Repeat for the other open end.

6.  Straight stitch around the pinned ends, leaving about a 1″ gap for threading the elastic. I like to stitch with my presser foot along the edge of the fabric (where my serging is).  This leaves a nice casing for the elastic.

Your project will now look like this:

7.  Measure out a 15″ piece of elastic. Don’t cut it, yet; just mark it.  Take your bodkin or safety pin and thread your elastic through a few inches (or attach the pin to the end).  By the way, a bodkin looks like this:

8.  Thread the elastic through the casing on one end. Use the extra length of elastic (since you haven’t cut it, yet) to help you straighten everything out and then pull it up until you get to your mark.

9.  Cut the elastic at your mark and overlap it at this point.

10.  Using a zig-zag stitch, sew these ends together.

11.  Pull the fabric to make the elastic disappear inside the casing and disperse the gathers a bit. Repeat with the other side.  You don’t need to bother sewing up the little openings, but if you really want to, go ahead.

12.  Trim your thread ends.

And…you are done!  Your potty cover should now look like this:



I’d love to hear if you make a potty cozy from my tutorial.  Please leave me a comment and/or link to your blog.  I would also ask that you don’t sell cozies made from this tutorial out of respect for Emily of The EC Store, whose original I used for my ‘pattern’.

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Having a baby who sleeps at night is fantastic. I highly recommend it!  It has been awhile since I have had some reliable sewing time.  Now that I do, I thought I’d share with you a handy item I designed which was inspired by something a friend of mine made up years ago.

Presenting the Snappy Wipe To-Go…

It never ceases to amaze me how my children can get sticky or dirty just about anywhere. I love having a little wet cloth all ready to go.  The Snappy Wipe To-Go is a handy reuseable wet cloth that you can toss in your purse.  It does not need to be put into a ziploc bag, as it has its own waterproof cover.  It can be washed and dried and it is super-easy to whip up yourself.  If you are a diaper sewing mama, this is a great way to use up some leftover PUL scraps.

First you will need some supplies:

  • a scrap of PUL 9 x 9″
  • a scrap of absorbent fabric 9 x 9″ (eg. cotton french terry, flannel, bamboo terry or velour, etc.)
  • thread
  • pins
  • snap press/pliers and one set of snaps

1.  Begin by cutting your fabric so that you have one 9 x 9″ square of PUL and one of absorbent fabric.

2.  Place your fabrics right sides together and pin if desired.  You can also use a gluestick or clothespins or just hold them together carefully.

3.  Using a 3/8″ seam allowance, straight stitch around the edge of the cloth.  Begin in the middle of an edge, not at a corner.  Leave about 1 1/2″ open for turning.  (For Heaven’s Sake, don’t measure this.  Just guess!)

4.  Trim your corners on a diagonal so that when you turn them, they will be nice, sharp points.

5.  Turn the whole cloth right side out through the little opening you left.  Use something pointy to help you push the corners out.  I used a bodkin here because someone has taken off with my special corner turning tool.  I also sometimes use a not-perfectly sharp pencil.

6.  With an iron set on low with no steam, iron your cloth.  Pay attention too the opening, making sure to line up and tuck in the edges well.

7.  Topstitch the entire cloth, closing in the opening in the process.

8.  Mark your snap placement by laying a measuring tape on a diagonal across the middle of the cloth.  You will probably find that your cloth measures about 11 1/2″.  Using a washable marker or a pencil, mark a dot for the snaps at 4″ and 9″.

9.  Gather two caps, a stud and a socket as well as your snap press or pliers.

10.  Both caps will be going on the absorbent fabric side, with the stud and socket facing up on the PUL side.  It doesn’t matter which of the two spots has the stud and which has the socket.  Apply your snaps.

Guess what?!  It is done!

Now for the folding:

After wetting your cloth with plain water or a fancy wipe solution, place the cloth with the absorbent side up and fold in the two corners without snaps, so they overlap in the middle.

Fold over the other two corners so that one snap is underneath the cloth and one snap is on top, making a square.

Fold in thirds to snap in the middle.  It should look like a cute little clutch purse now.  Tuck in any absorbent edges that might poke out.

Ta-Da!  Aren’t you a smart, crafty and prepared mama?

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I have been sneaking some time to sew lately. I don’t really know where I get the time, but I’m thinking it is taken from cleaning-the-kitchen-floor time!  While I have been cloth-diapering for over 16 years, we needed an overhaul of our system, so in August, I started making a few.  Being the super-cheap frugal gal that I am, I planned to buy one professionally made diaper, trace it and make up my own pattern.  I used to have a cloth-diaper sewing business, so this challenge was well within my grasp.  However, since then, I have discovered there are a huge number of wonderful patterns and I have enjoyed trying several of them, both freebies and purchased patterns.  I only wish I had more time to sew!

Here are a few of my diapers:

Hippy Hippy Snap Pattern, Orange is size small and Green is size medium

Small Fattycakes Diaper

My own invention -- the Sprout Genius (a cross between the Sprout Snap and a BumGenius)

The Sprout Genius at its largest setting on a toddler

A Small Darling Diapers Unlimited Diaper

A couple of size medium Trimsies Trainers

The patterns I used include:

Free Sprout Snap (a great one-size pattern)
Darling Diapers Unlimited (she also has a free newborn pattern here)
FattyCakes (side-snapping, excellent full coverage)
Hippy Hippy Snap (side-snapping, wonderfully trim)
Trimsies Trainers (very trim fitting and great for potty-trained, but not 100% reliable children when out and about)

Free patterns are fantastic, but I highly recommend if you are new to cloth diaper sewing that you start with the Darling Diapers Pattern. It has extensive directions that walk you through every aspect of the sewing process.  I know there are other patterns with great directions, but I only have experience with the Darling Diapers Pattern.  (I have no affiliation, I just really like the pattern and directions.)

All of the diapers I made are pocket diapers, which are my absolute favourites. In terms of ease of use, they are as simple as disposable diapers.  All the diaper patterns, however, will make any type of diaper and can also be used for covers.

One of my sisters wants to learn to sew diapers for my nephew.  I am very excited that I will get to share the diaper-sewing love with someone else, soon!

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I have been cloth diapering all of my babies since our first baby was born over 15 years ago. I have used a few different types of diapers, most of them made by me.  In fact, a number of years ago, I had a diaper business, Sweet Bambino Diapers and Accessories, in which I made fitted premium diapers and covers for sale.  I loved my diaper business, but it just got too busy for me and I was sewing all the time, so I decided to end it.

When we were expecting baby guy (who is now 16 months), I realized our diapers were in a sorry state. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money, so after some investigation, we chose to give prefolds a try.  I immediately loved them — their simplicity, their absorbency and their price!  The only thing I really didn’t like was their bulk.  I have tried folding them different ways, using a Snappi or not using a Snappi and using different covers.  Nothing really helped.  I loved the diapers, but did miss the old days of my nice thin, fitted diapers that could fit under any pants!

Recently, I came across an article entitled, “Trimming Prefolds” about a mama who (gasp!) cut her prefolds to shorten the rise. She was very pleased with the results, so yesterday I cut two of mine to give them a try.  Perfect!

Untrimmed and Trimmed Prefolds

My Untrimmed and Trimmed Prefolds

When baby guy went down for his nap today, I took the scissors and sewing machine to mine and shortened them all to a 14″ length. I didn’t sew the end into the middle as Karen did.  I just zig-zagged the end closed.  If you are considering doing this, I do have a couple of recommendations.

First of all, I wouldn’t bother trying to use your serger. Sergers are actually more finicky than sewing machines and while mine is a very good serger, it was not at all impressed with my attempt to use it to shorten prefolds.  Prefolds that have been washed and dried already are thickened significantly and are probably too bulky for most sergers.  I suppose if you were to do this to brand new prefolds, you might get away with it on the serger, but I’m not sure how you’d know where to cut for length to account for shrinking in the wash.

Second, you will need to use at least a 16/100 universal needle. If you are able to get a 18/110 (which is a denim needle), that would probably be better.  Make sure your needle is new and a good brand and toss it out after you finish sewing your diapers.  Good needles are essential to your sewing machine functioning as you want it to.

I thought some nice new diaper covers were in order to go along with our ‘new’ diapers. I made up four, assembly-line style, also during baby guy’s nap.  (Good thing he is such a terrific napper!)  The pattern I use for making my covers is called Diaper Cover Deluxe.  It is a fabulous pattern.  The covers I made this time are the ‘Quick Wrap’ style.  I shortened the rise a little, about a 1/2″ each at the front and back.  Mine are made out of PUL and trimmed with Fold-Over Elastic.

One nap's worth of work -- 24 shortened prefolds and 4 covers

One nap's worth of work -- 24 shortened prefolds and 4 covers

I took a few pictures of baby guy. He wasn’t too impressed, but hopefully these will give you an overall idea of the difference.


Before Trimming

Before Trimming

Untrimmed diaper under pants

Untrimmed diaper under pants


After Trimming

After Trimming

Trimmed diaper under pants

Trimmed diaper under pants

I don’t know if you can see a difference under pants in these pictures, but it is definitely obvious in real life.  I think I’m going to like these.  🙂

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