Tag Archive | "DIY cloth diapers"

Babyville Boutique’s Newest Line-Up- First Look! {and Giveaway}

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I’ve been keeping a secret for a while now, and am ready to share it with you. For those of you who are wondering whether Dirty Diaper Laundry’s next cloth diaper reviewer will be a boy or a girl, I finally have an answer for you. I’m very excited to tell you late this October Harper is going to meet her sweet new little sister! Having two girls with birthdays so close together (Harper was born mid-October) comes in very handy when it comes to all the clothes I saved. Even seasonally specific items, like her Thanksgiving dress and her Christmas pajamas will likely be a perfect fit (assuming the new baby is petite like her sister or even average size). Nonetheless, there are plenty of things I still need before I’ll feel ready to welcome another member to our family. With Harper, I thought I could manage with the disposable diapers friends passed on to us that their babies had outgrown without using, and that within a short time she would fit into her one size diaper stash. I never anticipated my perfect little elf of a baby would be so tiny that she wouldn’t fit into her diapers for over three months. I hated the disposables and spent many nursing sessions staring longingly at her baskets of colorful cloth diapers. A friend passed on some tiny covers and prefolds, but the covers were still swimming on her and my inept beginner skills regarding diapering led to many leaks and messes. I eventually purchased a few newborn size diapers (four or five, it was all I could afford at the time) and compromised by cloth diapering until they needed a wash, then making do with the disposables until I could use the cloth again.
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This year I am making sure I have a good sized stash of newborn sized diapers for my baby, so she can enjoy a fluffy butt from the very start. When Babyville Boutique confided in me they are introducing a new line of fabrics, ribbons, fold over elastic, labels, and patches, as well as premade soakers (two to a pack, perfect for completing your DIY diapers and a lifesaver considering many fabric stores don’t carry the materials needed to make the most efficient and absorbent soakers) I was thrilled to dust off my sewing machine.

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The package of fabrics I was sent included a classic white, a black with bright pink mod flowers, and a fantastic graphic black and white chevron. I also received fun fold over elastics in pink and in white with delicate eyelet detailing, as well as a pair of pink and black patches, a package of pink and black boutique labels, and a roll of three kinds of ribbon in shades of black and pink. I poured through the pattern books they sent me and started brainstorming what I could create with these wonderful modern and whimsical prints.

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I decided to start with a newborn diaper to get back into the swing of diaper making. The instructions in the Babyville Boutique book make it very simple and allow a lot of customization options, so it wasn’t long before I was comfortable stitching elastic in place and turning seams. I used the floral print and the pink elastic to make a simple pocket diaper, lined with a charcoal grey microfleece I had on hand, and fitted with a single row of six pink snaps which are also made by Babyville Boutique. The snaps feature roses etched into the face, and are strong and easy to manage.

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Next I decided it would be fun to make a pair of matching diapers for the girls, one newborn size and one medium size. I taped a couple sheets of copy paper together, and easily traced the pattern I wanted to use from the Babyville pattern foldout. Then it was a simple matter of cut and sew, and the included microfiber inserts were perfect for tucking inside the pocket diapers to finish them off. This time I used Babyville Easy Adjust Tape, a generously sized hook and loop tape that can be purchased in strips or in precut tabs. I used a combination of the two to create sized diapers that offer a wide range of sizing options, something I’ll really appreciate when I have a rapidly growing little one. A strip of the soft tape extends across the entire front of the diaper and two of the sticky tabs sewn to the back of the flaps allows for easy fastening, even with wiggly or fussy babies.

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With my PUL sewing skills fully warmed up, I decided to try something just for me. After Harper’s birth I had postpartum bleeding for six long weeks, and I found store bought disposable pads to be insufferable, sticky, and faulty. This time around I plan on using mama cloth, reusable washable pads made with cloth and fastened with a single snap where the wings meet. I researched some various types and styles and decided to create my own design, tracing the outline of a pair of my unders than adding to the outline to create the wings and ensure the design was to my liking. I cut out my pattern and made a layer of PUL, followed by a wingless “core” layer of thick terry cloth, and two full layers of soft flannel. I stitched them together and added the Babyville snap to fasten them. The strong but thin and flexible PUL Babyville makes will allow any liquid that seeps through the layers of flannel and terry to spread rather than soaking immediately through, so the pads will last much longer. And the styles make for a fun pop of color, too.

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I looked over the Babyville Boutique labels and decided the Keep Calm and Carry On label was begging to be added to a babywearing accessory. Harper is very excited about being a big sister, and had been play acting with her doll to practice. I scrounged up some soft pink floral cotton and stitched up a doll sized baby sling she could wear, and stitching on the label took only seconds to do. Instantly my slapped together sling looked professional and well made, like something you would buy in a boutique.

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It occurred to me her doll would probably like a proper diaper of her own. The tissue thin cotton diaper that came with the doll left something to be desired, as it really didn’t look anything like a proper diaper, and especially not like Harper’s beautiful diapers. I used the bright floral print and those gorgeous pink snaps, and added a “Too Cute” label to the back, and the diaper is perfectly sized and ready for Harper to practice diaper changes on.

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I still had some of the bright floral print remaining, as well as that charming matching ribbon, so I made a generously sized bib for Harper, complete with a pocket for catching whatever food doesn’t quite reach her mouth. The PUL is so well made I was able to just cut a single layer and turn and hem the edges, and I know it will rinse off easily and keep even her favorite meal (black beans) from soaking through to her shirt.

It was so much fun making these bright and girly accessories for myself and my daughters, and I love the freedom Babyville Boutique materials provides me with. I’m able to make absolutely anything I can think of, and if I get stuck I can review any number of clever projects detailed in their line of well written instruction books. While I do have a lot of sewing experience, I believe anyone with a sewing machine can work out how to make these fun projects, perfect for a rainy day to relax or if you’re looking to save some money and make something really special and one-of-a-kind.

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Babyville has also expanded to cover ALL Babies, the fur babies, the older babies, and even the real babies.  You can find some great project ideas on their blog!  

I have some goodies to giveaway too! You can enter to win New Babyville Boutique cloth diaper making products in the winner’s choice of girly or neutral and new sewing tools from Dritz. Enter below. Open to US only, Ends Sept 8.

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Posted in Cloth Diapers, Crafty Stuff, Eco-Friendly Life, For the Little Ones, GiveawaysComments (51)

Why You Should Use and Love Flats {Video+Infographic}

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To say I love flat cloth diapers is an understatement.  There are no diapers that compare when it comes to versatility, affordability, and wash/dry friendliness.  So they may take longer to learn than a wrap and go style of modern diaper… so what?  Practice on your teddy bears and bribe your baby with a toy while you get the hang of it, or just use them as inserts or soakers rectangle style!  I told you they were versatile!  I filmed a video that shares why I love flats, and why you should too.  Disclosure- I was facing the sun but it was the only time I had to film so waiting for an overcast day wasn’t an option.  Sorry for my squinty face and the brightness!

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Why should you love flats?

Because they’re…

Cheap.

You can find flats for free if you raid your old t-shirt collection or for as low as $1-$3 each, even with name brands.  Flats can be just about anything, but they’re easily found at online diaper shops.

One layer.

washerThe thing that makes flats intimidating and a bit harder to use than modern diapers is also the thing that makes them amazing!  Being one layer of fabric means they wash up easier and dry faster than any other cloth diaper!  Flats are less prone to build-up of bacteria because they are just one layer and there are no other layers for things to hide in when being washed in a machine or by hand.  Drying is easy too!  On the line on a sunny, breezy day flats can dry in less than one hour!  Inside or outside in less than ideal conditions it can take half a day or even a full day but that is still faster than bulkier cloth dipers with lots of layers sandwiched together.  Using your dryer with a few wool dryer balls to help bounce them around, flats can be done is less than 30 minutes.  If you want to save the electricity and line dry your flats, soften them up by tossing in the dryer for a few minutes.  No dryer access?  Scrunch your stiff flats in your hands and twist them and they’ll be just as soft!

Versatile.

There is no other diaper that can do as many things as well as a flat can.  Fold it onto the baby using any of the dozens of folds available!  There are folds that can made this large square of fabric any size, even small enough for a newborn (Mini-Kite Fold) or folds that suit boys, folds for girls, and every stage.  Folds like the Jo Fold and Diaper Bag Fold are great because they hold their shape!  Fold ahead of time and just put on the baby like a contour, then secure with a modern Snappi or Boingos.  Other folds need to be done on the spot.  Also use flats that are folded into rectangles (pad fold tutorial) and lay them into a cover, or use as inserts in your pockets.  See?  They’re totally the transformers of the diaper world.

Natural Fibers.

cottonAs much as I appreciate the advances in textiles cloth diapers have made, there is nothing like the natural fibers flats are made from.  Most often, they’re made from birdseye cotton but can come in other fabrics like bamboo or hemp in a variety of blends or in textures like muslin, gauze, or terry.  In the UK their flat “nappies” are cotton terry squares and that’s all the royal families uses.  Think you’re too good for flats?  The Prince even wears them!  With natural fibers you have a lesser chance of stink and detergent build-up.  Microfiber, the most common pocket insert material also used in some All-in-Ones and other diapers has strands with hollow cores (more on this and why they stink more than other diapers here).  Bacteria and ammonia have nowhere to hide in natural fibers and especially with only one layer!  They also rinse easier meaning if you accidentally add too much detergent or need to add extra due to hard water you won’t need to rinse an additional 5 times.  Flats are forgiving!  There’s a reason our grandparents didn’t suffer from the same washing woes as we do.  Modern diapers’ convenience factor increases the washing difficulty with the synthetic stay dry layers, thicker soakers and inserts, and other parts.  Flats can take it all in stride.

Easy to Handwash.

The inspiration for the Flats and Handwashing Challenge was the flats themselves.  Their very nature and simplicity got my gears turning when I considered how easily they should handwash and air dry.  I tried it myself, though I was nervous about how they would perform (I had never ever tried flats before then!) and fell in love with everything about them.  For all the reasons listed above, they are prime diapers to hand wash.  Less layers= easier to clean and faster to dry.  Natural fibers= easier to rinse.  Use a camp style bucket washer and plunger or a breathing washer, or wash in the tub or sink.  Flats pack tight so you can still travel and use cloth and wash in the hotel bathroom (done it!) or take them camping if you choose.  They make excellent diapers in an emergency so keeping a pack in case the power goes out is a good idea.  Learn how to make your own camp-style washer and how to handwash.

Budget Friendly.

tshirttinyNo other diaper is as cheap unless it is free.  If you’d like to try one right this instant you can, because flats are everywhere.  Make your own DIY T-shirt Flats (tutorial), run to Target and grab a pack of Flour Sack Towels, or hit up Ikea for their burp cloths.  These options are free or just $.25-$2 per flat.  Our flats challenge survey reported that the average value of a stash of flats was $87, but it can be even less!  Cloth diaper for under $100?  Yes please!    Don’t forget that flats are modernized with the invention of the Snappi, and you can still buy adorable and modern cloth diaper covers in fun prints and modern hues!  There is absolutely no sacrificing convenience, you can even use one size covers.  Flats work great in Flips, Econobum covers, Best Bottoms, GroVia, Gen-Y, Blueberry Capris, Applecheeks covers, Bummis covers, and more.

Sing it with me ya’ll!  

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Try them, love them, and re-think how you’ve imagines flats.  Then, become a flat-evangelist like me and teach others how they too can not only diaper inexpensively, but effectively, simply, and amazingly with the world’s most underrated cloth diaper.  You’re gonna love the way flats work, I guarantee it.  (Your voice switched to the Men’s Warehouse Guy didn’t it?  HA, gotcha.)   Don’t forget to check out the Flats Challenge happening soon and pin this fun infographic!  Sign-ups start next week.

Tell me why you love flats in the comments, your voice is appreciated and ther readers love to hear your thoughts.

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Babyville Boutique- New Products to DIY Cloth Diapers! Review

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

Win it!

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.


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Cheap and Easy Cloth Diaper Solutions for the Budget Minded Family- Solving Diaper Need

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For a lot of us the issue of diaper need isn’t something we think about, whether you cloth diaper or not.  When you are low on diapers you either wash a load or run to the store for a new package.  Not everyone can.  In fact, according to a study performed by Huggies and their “Every Little Bottom” campaign “1 in 3 families struggle to afford diapers for their babies.” [source]  The fact remains that there are no federal or state assistance programs that provide diapers of any type, or funds/checks/credits to purchase diapers.

Please, please don’t assume that families in need of assistance are in that position due to being lazy/being uneducated/because they want to live off the system.  I think it is very important to understand that even friends you know right now who seem to be living comfortably could still be struggling to pay for their basic needs.  Especially in hard economic times when once middle and upper-middle class families are now down to a signle incomes, or worse, none due to job loss, no one is immune to unfortunate circumstances.  On a personal side note, my friend and colleague at Giving Diapers, Giving Hope began her cloth diaper charity after being laid off  from her teaching job.  She was unemployed, a single mother, and educated yet still had no money for bills or diapers at the time she began her charity.

This means that there are a lot of families who are making sacrifices in order to buy diapers for their babies, or worse, they are going longer between changes in order to cut the costs.  In some cases it has been reported that the disposable diapers are being scraped cleaned and re-used.

I whole-heartedly believe that cloth diapers can help almost every family facing these difficult choices.  By using very inexpensive diapering options, or even handwashing diapers for those without a washer and dryer, when it comes down to having clean diapers and a healthy bottom or the unhealthy alternative- it can be done.  I also believe this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation and that, especially for families without a washer, handwashing and simple flat cloth diapers with covers can be done only when there is no money for diapers.  Disposables are easier and I do acknowledge that handwashing isn’t easy or ideal.  Still, using it to spend less on diapers overall can help.

Budget Friendly cloth diapers.  Store bought and DIY ideas for any family.

So how can you avoid the high start-up cost associated with cloth diapers?  First, forget everything you think you know about cloth diapers, especially that they are expensive.  Try these ideas!

Flats-

Flat cloth diapers are my number one recommendation for anyone looking for a cheap, easy, effective, and trim cloth diaper solution.  Flats are normally made from birdseye cotton and are very large squares that are folded to make a diaper.  This sounds hard but the pad fold, which makes the flat into a rectangular shape to be inserted into a waterproof cover, takes seconds to do.  You can use any cover but some that I suggest are the inexpensive Econobum One Size or Thirsties Duo Wraps.  I’ll have more suggestions for DIY covers as well.

T-Shirt Diapers-

Using a t-shirt anyone can create a diaper!  There are a few different ways, one involves fold thing t-shirt onto the baby and securing it with pins or a snappi.  The other involves cutting the t-shirt and making it into a flat.

For the simplest and easiest option- use this tutorial from Penniless Parenting- How to Fold a T-shirt into a diaper.


A reader, Kelly, posted to my fanpage another great idea.  Buy XXL or larger sized t-shirts and cut them to separate the front and back.  This essentially gives you 2 diapers for .50!  The best tip is to find out when you local thrift shop has 50% clothing sales (most do once a week) and fight the crowds to save big!  You can make yourself an entire stash of diapers (two dozen) for $12.00.  All you need to do is buy or make covers for these.  I have a tutorial for making these as well: Cheap and Easy DIY T-Shirt Diapers.

Prefolds-

Prefolds are a favorite and are still around because they are inexpensive and absorbent.  If you baby is a very heavy wetter you might find this to be the best route on a budget.  A popular option is the Econobum system which includes 3 waterproof one size covers and 12 one size prefolds for $50.00.  Depending on the age of your baby you might be fine with just one kit, but if your baby is younger and needs to be changed more frequently you might want to go for two.  Still, this will get you an entire stash for about $100.00.    Prefolds are also often found used and, since they would already be prepped, this is even better for the buyer since prefolds need several washes to be fully prepped.  {get prepping instructions for cloth diapers}

Covers- 

For flats, prefolds, and t-shirt diapers you will need waterproof covers.  The Econobum One Size is an inexpensive option, as is the Thirsties Duo Wrap.  There are very inexpensive Bummis pull-on covers as well.  If you would rather buy local there are some baby stores or department stores that sell a brand called Dappi, which is very inexpensive at $5.00 but the reviews are mixed on how long they last.  Some stores also carry the Gerber brand of cover.  Other options include using fleece pants or shorts, which work to hold in wetness.  If you are good or great at sewing there are lots of ways to turn fleece or wool sweaters into covers.  Here is one tutorial from The Mary Frances Project.  Fleece is the lowest maintenance option because fleece can be washed without special detergent and in a washing machine.  Wool requires a little more effort because you will need to lanolize it to make it waterproof and wash it by hand.  I have more information on wool to understand what lanolizing means and how it needs to be cared for: All About Wool.

Buy Used-

Other ways to get cloth diapers for less than buying directly from a store or online is to buy them used.  There are dozens of websites, forums, Facebook Groups, and even local avenues like Craigslist or Kijiji to look into.  Cloth diapers do hold their value in many situations, however there are still good deals to be had.  Diaperswappers.com and ClothDiaperTrader.com are two well known options.  Your best bet though, is to buy local because you can see the diapers and the seller face-to-face.  Look for local cloth diaper groups and swaps on Facebook.  If you choose to buy online be sure to read the seller’s ratings and ask important questions about the condition of the diapers and how they were washed.  You will also want to see lots of pictures of the inside and out.  Stained diapers are fine and buying them with stains will often get you a better deal- they will function the same as a diaper without.

Find Free-

Freecycle.org (if you have one in your area) is a place to browse for items others are looking to give away.  I’ve heard amazing stories from readers of this blog who have scored whole sets of diapers.  It isn’t a guarantee but you won’t know until you look.  Craigslist also has a free section, and sometimes swap groups on Facebook will as well.

Apply to a Cloth Diaper Bank-

There are local and national cloth diaper banks that will provide families who qualify with a set of cloth diapers (or a few to get started with).  Each cloth diaper bank has their own criteria for who qualifies.  If you live in the United States or Canada you can see if there is a bank near you by browsing this map or see if any are listed in this post: Cloth Diaper Banks.  Giving Diapers, Giving Hope is a Nationwide cloth diaper lending service and, for the cost of shipping, will send families who qualify a stash of diapers.  Cloth for a Cause is a Canadian version with chapters throughout the country.

What if I don’t have a washing machine?

If you are one of the many families in a home without a washing machine there is still a way to make cloth diapers work for you if the need is great enough and you have the physical ability to handwash.  It sounds scary at first but there are ways to make it less labor intensive than what your grandparents used to have to do {learn all about cloth diapering in the 1950′s in a documentary style interview I did with my grandparents} by using a few modern tools.

Use Flats- Flats are the best option for handwashing.  Flat cloth diapers are one layer and therefore they will be easier to clean than prefolds or any other style of diaper that has multiple layers.  They will also air dry the fastest.  Flats can be very easy too!  Fold them into a long rectangle (this is called pad-folding and a tutorial can be found here: How to Pad fold a Flat Cloth Diaper) and lay them inside of a waterproof cover.  Other folds can be done (See the entire library of videos on folds: Flat Folding Techiniques) and the diapers no longer have to be pinned.  Modern closures like the Snappi or Boingo can be used with no risk of poking the baby or yourself.

Make a Camp Style Bucket Washer-I say that modern handwashing can be easier because most of us have indoor plumbing and access to 2 very simple and cheap tools- a 5 gallon bucket and a plunger.  This DIY washing machine takes the “ick” out of agitating diapers by hand, using a washboard, and even makes the work less labor intensive.  To make this contraption it will cost you as little as $5-$10 dollars.  Find the tutorial here: How to Make a Camp Style Bucket Washer.  Then watch the video: How to Handwash Cloth Diapers.

For handwashing you will still want a cloth diaper friendly detergent so avoid any store bought soaps that have fabric softeners.  You can also make your own detergent, there is a great recipe from The Eco Friendly Family for DIY Cloth Diaper Detergent.  You need very little soap for handwashing.

Air Dry- Your covers and flats will dry faster if you wring them out very well.  This can be hard on your hands so I suggest using rubber gloves.  For covers I recommend rolling the covers in a towel and stepping on or kneeling on the towel to remove the most water.  Your flats will dry the fastest when laid over a shower rod, or using a drying rack.  Hanging them by one pin will make them take longer, so use two pins on a line or on a dryer contraption such as the Ikea Octopus.  If you live in a humid climate try drying them when the sun is out the most, or inside in a room with an exhaust fan on or under a ceiling fan.   Flats will dry in as little as an hour in the best condition, but my take up to 12 in more humid conditions.

When it comes to the amount of money cloth diapers can save you it is hard not to use them, even if you can only make them work on a part-time basis.  Even just changing a few diapers a day can still save a significant amount of money.  You might be thinking that all of this sounds extreme, but when you have no money to spare these ideas can really help anyone willing to switch.

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DIY Cheap and Easy T-Shirt Flats- Make Two for .50!

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DIY Cheap and Easy t-shirt flats

In the spirit of budget cloth diapering this month I wanted to pass on this great tutorial inspired by a reader (Kelly S.) who posted to my fanpage. I’ve seen other t-shirt diapers but, being a lover of flats, I really loved the idea of cutting a shirt down to make flats! And the best part?! You can make 2 entire diapers from one shirt which means you could spend as little as .50 for two diapers. I bought several t-shirts from my local thrift shop on their 50% off day making each shirt’s $1.00 price only .50!  Whoa!

You will need:

1 XXL or larger 100% Cotton T-shirt. (Must be all cotton, blends won’t be as absorbent.)
Scissors

The tutorial video will explain the best fold for this type of diaper (other than the pad fold which would be great too!) since it is pretty darn easy to figure out how to cut it. I left the cutting video out; it was just too boring and I didn’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence!

Imagine this: You could have an entire stash of 24 diapers for $12.00 with this method!

Or even less if you can score some shirts for cheaper or free! You will need waterproof covers to use over these diapers and a snappi (or pins). These can be purchased relatively cheaply online through Amazon or a cloth diaper store. Some baby stores do carry covers and other cloth diapers. To learn more about buying cloth diaper supplies locally you can read my post- Find Cloth Diapers Locally. If you are really handy you can DIY your own fleece or wool covers to lessen the cost using old sweaters or inexpensive fleece.

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Guest Post- From Uninterested to DIY Cloth Diapers!

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Today’s post is a contribution from a friend I’ve known many years thanks to our “Mommy Group” online.  She has written a great article detailing her personal journey to using cloth diapers and how it works for her family.  Thanks Lisa!

I cloth diaper for one reason and one reason only…to save money.  When Kim started cloth diapering along with other women in our group, I was uninterested.  At the time, I was a working mom with a full time job and spending $40/month on disposable diapers seemed cheap and it saved me from spending my precious free time doing extra laundry.  Plus my daughter was going to daycare and I didn’t want to deal with trying to get our provider to use cloth.  Then I had my son 19 months after my daughter was born.  My husband and I made the decision that I should stay at home and I started looking for ways to save money.  While $40/month on diapers seemed cheap, $80/month seemed like a fortune!

handmade cloth diaper coversOne of my friends mentioned that with my sewing skills, cloth diapering could make diapering the second child almost free, so I looked into it.  At first I was blinded by all the cuteness.  Great patterns, great fabrics, so many choices!  Then I priced it out.  Even making my own all-in-ones would have cost around $11/diaper.  (And let’s face it, sewing time with even one child was very limited…how was I going to make enough diapers?)  Instead, I went the prefold and cover route.  I bought some infant and toddler sized cotton prefolds for around $50.  Then I got the Little Comet Tails diaper pattern and got to sewing covers.  I spent around $30 on the pattern, fabric, elastic, and aplix and made 10 covers in varying sizes.

When my son was born, we used a few disposables in the hospital, then went to the prefolds and covers at home.  They worked great!  I loved that I could just wash the breastmilk poop and hang them to dry and remove stains in the sun.  Doing the extra 2 loads of laundry a week didn’t bother me, especially since I didn’t have to fold anything after the wash.  I just stacked up the diapers and put them next to the changing table.

Lisa's Son wearing a handmade cover

We do use some disposables though.  I don’t want to deal with dirty diapers when we go out and about, and once my son started sleeping through the night, he wet through the cloth every time.  Rather than try to figure out how to make cloth work at night, I put him in disposables for bed.

I also prefer not to deal with big kid poop.  Once he started eating solids, I invested in some flushable liners.  I use the Imse Vimse brand and have been pretty happy with them.  If there is no poop, I throw the liner in the wash with the diapers and can reuse them once or twice before they fall apart.  If there is poop, I throw the whole thing in the toilet and the cloth stays relatively clean.

This system has worked well for us.  We go through a large box of disposables every 4-5 months now instead of every month, so using cloth part time has saved us ~$30/month.  More, if you count the Diaper Genie usage.  Now our Diaper Genie is mostly filled with wipes and not dirty diapers, so the refills last longer.

I like how using cloth diapers is not an all-or-nothing venture.  We save money where we can, but don’t give up convenience when we need it.  My son loves and prefers cloth (he recently complained about being in disposables for a week when we went out of town), but I regularly go out with 2 kids by myself and I have 2 water bottles, snacks, and sometimes even a meal in my purse.  I can’t cart around clean AND dirty cloth diapers if we go to Disneyland or the zoo all day.  2-3 disposable diapers and some wipes takes up far less space.  It’s all about what works for us, and I’m glad we figured out a good compromise between cloth and disposable diapers.

About Lisa:

I’m a 33 year old “stay at home” mom who hardly ever seems to be AT home. Pre-kids, I loved to sew my own clothes and read. Now my days are filled with playgrounds, play dates, zoos, beaches, amusement parks, arts and crafts, and pretend monster play.

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