I love DIY and take great pride in sewing and crafting as a way to save money and relieve stress. I know that what I make will often be of better quality or at least more to my taste that what might be available in stores, because I’m making it exactly the way I want it. That being said, I’d never attempted to make my own cloth diapers. I’d made a wool cover from an upcycled sweater when Harper was a tiny infant and I needed a custom fit to prevent leaks at night. But the idea of getting the cut and fit right on a proper diaper that would actually need to be well made in order to do it’s job was a bit daunting.
Babyville Boutique is releasing entirely new prints and colors this month, with matching appliqués and labels (and iron-ons!) that I am head over heels in love with! I’ve purchased PUL from Babyville before, and made a very handy large wet bag for when Harper goes to visit her grandparents. I adore the floral pink and brown print I chose for that bag, but these new bright modern prints are so whimsical and cheery I love them even more!
Babyville Boutique sent me a DIYers dream package, including four project books and an instruction manual dedicated specifically to teaching a beginner how to whip up an easy and effective pocket diaper. I also received a three pack that includes their newest designs, a two pack of their super soft athletic mesh in new coordinating colors, fold over elastic and ruffle elastic to play with, as well as matching snaps, their snap press, hook and loop tape, and cute labels. I even received a Dritz seam ripper to help me remove any wayward stitches without damaging the PUL. I love that it has a special cap that picks up bits of loose thread off the material so you can fix any mistakes quickly and easily.
I was so excited to start sewing, but I read through each book first to decide which projects I would make. It was a tough decision, these books are chock full of fun and useful crafts for babies, children, parents, and pets. I narrowed it down to my absolute favorites that would be most useful right now, and bookmarked a dozen more I’ll be making for holiday presents and for Harper when she is a little older.
First I wanted to break the ice and tackle making a diaper from scratch. As a diaper reviewer, I have a lot of respect for WAHMs who knock out gorgeous one-of-a-kind diapers with passion and deft skill. I always take the time to admire the perfect stitches, the attention to detail, and the creative thought process that goes into choosing each material and design. While I know I don’t have the skill level to stand up to their artistry, it was so much fun to be responsible for those design decisions for once.
I determined the size for the diaper I’d sew based on the simple chart included and happily traced the pattern (I love that the same book will allow me to use patterns for each size and includes details for customization like hip snaps, gussets, and a trimmer or fuller fit). I was a little nervous cutting the PUL (these prints aren’t available around here quite yet so if I messed up, I would be wasting that material and wouldn’t be able to purchase a replacement, and of course you would all see my mistake) but found the supple material parted under the blade of my scissors like a hot knife into butter. It was so easy to cut the material exactly as I’d wanted it, and before long I was listening to the whirr of my sewing machine as I created my very first pocket diaper.
The snap press is my new favorite tool, and after using it to add snaps to Harper’s adorable zigzag diaper, I put snaps on the back of a dress I made her (so much easier then fumbling with tiny buttons) and on an open pocket of a purse I love (so my wallet can’t be pulled out as easily by my baby’s curious hands or anyone else for that matter). Using the press is so easy and fun, it reminds me of the story of Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary the first time the little girl uses a stapler. She loves the magic of it and uses it again and again in new and inventive ways. I can’t wait to find new places to use my snap press and the adorable Babyville snaps that feature whimsical designs and bright colors.
Once I finished Harper’s rainbow diaper I tossed it in the dryer to seal the PUL so I could field test it and moved on to making a couple newborn size diaper covers for some close friends who are expecting baby girls in December. In the big diaper making book there are detailed instructions on how to embroider cloth diapers, and this is something I’ve always been curious about. By following the simple guide and reviewing the reference photographs I was able to create a pair of sweet little covers with their names and some little designs on the back of each. The rich pink material was girly without being cloying and was the perfect backdrop for adding my images to. I used the hook and loop tape since newborns require some extra flexibility in sizing and was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to sew in place and use. The rounded tabs made a big difference in ease of application, and the long strip of tape across the waist means these diapers will fit the new babies until they are ready for one-size diapers.
My next project was a raincoat for our dog, Valentine. I used the rainbow zigzag print to match Harper’s diaper, and made a pattern based on the directions in one of the project books. Our teacup long haired Chihuahua generally wears an xxs in dog clothing, and it can be so hard to find something that fits him. Making my own clothing is an excellent solution, and he seems to be happy with the result!
I also made a headband for Harper using the ruffle elastic and I have to say this is the easiest and fastest “project” ever. Knowing that there will be so many baby girls around for me to shop for this holiday, I plan on picking up some more of this ruffle elastic in all different colors. All you have to do is measure the baby’s head where you want the band to be, cut a length of elastic slightly shorter, and sew the cut ends together. You can use a sewing machine or do it by hand. Next, you can sew on a flower, a pretty patch in a fun shape, or a bit of felt you can hot glue gems to. Or you can go the super easy route like I plan to and pick up some inexpensive hair clips from Anthropologie or your favorite accessory shop and clip them to the band. If you’re doing this for a newborn, hot glue a small strip of felt on the underside of the clip to cushion it against the baby’s tender head. I could probably knock out about ten of these watching an episode of How I Met Your Mother.
I still had one print left, a disarmingly adorable flock of tiny brightly colored birds scattered across the fabric. I decided I wanted to show this print off as much as possible, so I bought some white PUL from Babyville Boutique at my local Jo-Ann fabric store and made a cushioned play mat for Harper that is water proof on both sides. The instructions were simple and the sewing was all straight lines so it was done in a flash. For my padded interior I used some fleece I had on hand, and it has just the right amount of soft cushioning. It’s perfect for the park since the grass is often still damp when we get there, and small enough to tuck in my purse without being inconvenient. I plan on making a couple more of these for my husband and I to take with us to concerts and other events that may result in sitting on the ground or in hard cold bleachers. I love that it wipes clean but can be tossed in the wash when needed.
I had so much fun crafting with Babyville Boutique’s project books and materials, and I’m really looking forward to making more with their great new colors and prints. Oh, by the way, I’ve tested Harper’s homemade diaper a dozen times now, and so far so good! The fit is perfect for her, the fold over elastic is soft and comfortable, and the athletic mesh interior wicks moisture away from her skin and dries super fast. By the time I pull it out of the washing machine, it’s generally already dry, I just drape it on the shower rod to be certain then stuff a prefold inside when I’m ready to use it. I think my next project will be to try making some inserts for my diapers, the instructions for them seem really simple and I’d love to use some interesting prints on them.
You can win an assortment of Babyville Boutique DIY cloth diaper making fabrics, notions, embellishments and books/patterns with a retail value of $75 to get started on your DIY cloth diaper journey! Enter using the Rafflecopter below. Open to US only. Ends 10/30.