Made from Scratch: Fitted (Cloth) Diapers

When we visited my grandparents this summer I brought a sewing project along. My grandma is a wonderful seamstress and a fantastic gardener and a seasoned canner. Basically she’s the product of childhood spent in depression era rural Kansas. An all around connoisseur of all things homespun. It skipped a generation, but I try to glean a little bit of wisdom each time we’re together. A few summers ago she taught me how to sew a hem on the sewing machine. Minus my inability to figure out the machine I did pretty well and managed to reinvent a couple skirts from high school into eight cloth napkins. This visit I figured my hemming expertise in addition to my grandma’s years of legitimate experience plus¬†this tutorial would ¬†make sewing a fitter diaper from a prefold a fairly simple task. It was, once we figured out a few things.

Here are the details we found lacking from the tutorial that might prove helpful if you want to give it a try yourself:

Step 1 (make template): By squinting my eyes and using the photograph as a reference, I decided to measure our template 3″ across. For height I measured 3″ from the top of the prefold. Then I made a mark 2″ from the top of the template and drew a curve from the top to the mark 2″ below.

Step 2: I found it easier to draw the outline from the template on each side and cut, instead of folding in half and cutting both sides at once. It made for a significantly cleaner line and didn’t take much longer.

Step 3-5: Pretty self-explanatory.

Step 6: I’m still not sure if we chose the best method for this step. For the diapers we made, I cut a curve on the cloth so that the most amount of fabric possible would remain attached (if you cut in other directions the fabric will completely separate into two pieces), though as I examine the tutorial to write this post I think perhaps that was the wrong route.

Step 7: Just a visual.

Step 8 & 9: I tucked our “wings” into the main diaper, though I’m not sure if this was the best method. The stitching (we used a larger zigzag stitch) on a couple of my diapers has already loosened.

Step 10-14 (sewing the elastic): My grandma handled the stitching when it came to the elastic. We used a 1/4″ elastic (6″ for the legs & 5″ for the back).

Step 15 (serge): I might have developed a bit of a crush on the serge machine.

Step 16: All done! (we didn’t put in any fasteners, so I just use my snappi diaper fasteners)

Endnotes: I absolutely love that this project also created lots of liners, which are going to come in handy pretty soon when things get a little more, well solid. I’ve already used them in other diapers when I wanted to use some diaper rash cream that I wasn’t 100% would be cloth diaper safe. They’re a bit big, but I just fold over the top. Also, they are not especially absorbent, so I either change often or line with another prefold. Either way it was an easy, cheap way to extend our cloth diaper stash.

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