Adventures in Cloth Diaper Making – Part 3

After my second prototype was a smashing success, I set to making twenty diaper covers using patterned flannelette and white PUL purchased from Kinderel. For organic fabric in Canada, they’re great and shipped really fast too!

Stacked!

Stacked!

If you’re just joining me, here is Part 1 and Part 2 of my cloth diaper making adventures.

I’m still waiting on my snaps and snap fastening pliers to come in from KAM snaps, which is the only place I could find to get good quality snaps that aren’t metal. I found one Canadian reseller, but they seem to be continually sold out of this product. Obviously it’s in high demand!

So for today, I’m making the liners of the diapers, often called soakers.

I looked at a bunch of different kinds, and decided on a tri-fold style. Because I live in an apartment and we have to pay for our laundry per load, I’m going to be hand washing and air drying the diapers, liners and wipes, so I wanted to make sure that the liners weren’t too thick so they would dry in a good amount of time. The tri fold method means that I can have less layers of fabric, and when unfolded, it’ll dry a lot faster!

I decided on a thick flannel for a nice absorbent layer, and the cheap white diaper flannelette from Fabricland (which just happens to be on sale for $4.00/meter this week!) for the outer layer. 100% cotton wicks away moisture really well, so that means less irritant on baby’s skin!

Stack of flannel rectangles.

Stack of flannel rectangles.

In my research around the internet, I came across this article that outlines the different kinds of fabrics that work well for diaper liners, and has some general dimensions on all kinds of different liners. I measured my diaper covers, and the 12″x16″ suggested newborn dimensions fit perfectly inside. So I measured and cut out 13″x17″ rectangles to give myself a seam allowance. I got 30 out of the fabric I had, which was pretty boss.

I’ll use photos from patterned flannelette for ease of seeing what’s happening.

Bottom layer thick flannel, top layer thin flannelette.

Bottom layer thick flannel, top layer thin flannelette.

I didn’t worry about cutting terribly straight (like I could anyway!) because I used a serger all the way around the edges. If you’re not using a serger, you can use a zigzag stitch and then trim off of the excess. Or if you want to get really fancy, you can sew the fabric right sides together with a straight stitch, flip right sides out and then use a straight or zigzag topstitch all the way around the border to flatten the rectangle, much in the same way the diaper covers are made. I find the first method much easier, and really the point is for it to absorb fecal matter so I don’t think it necessarily needs to be pretty!

Serge ahoy!

Serge ahoy!

Once finished, I ended up with a nice neat rectangle, ready for maximum excrement absorption!

On my actual ones, I did a rounded edge, but corners are fine too.

On my actual ones, I did a rounded edge, but corners are fine too.

I did a test run with the pink one and soaked it through with hot water, wrung it out and hung it to dry in my bathroom. I continually checked it throughout the day and it took just over six hours to dry. I’m not officially a mom yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that I won’t be going through 30 diapers in six hours. So that drying time is pretty good for how absorbent these are!

To use these, fold both long edges into the center of the rectangle, overlapping in the center.

To use these, fold both long edges into the center of the rectangle, overlapping in the center.

 

Then place into the diaper, and voila! Removable soaker so that (hopefully) you can get extra uses out of the cover.

Then place into the diaper, and voila! Removable soaker so that (hopefully) you can get extra uses out of the cover.

So I’ve got 20 diaper covers in five cute patterns, and 30 tri folds, all ready set and go for baby! I’m planning on using the next while to stock up on more fabric in case I need to make more in the near future, or try a different tactic if we don’t like the diapers.

Just chillin on the side of the crib, waiting for snaps.

Just chillin on the side of the crib, waiting for snaps.

The adventures will continue with making diaper wipe solution and reusable wipes, and then conclude with adding the snaps to the diapers!

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Adventures in Cloth Diaper Making – Part 2

Thanks to a lovely community share page on Facebook, I managed to borrow a serger from a super nice woman in town, and I’m hooked. Let me show you why! If you missed part one of my cloth diaper adventures, check it out here.

If you’ve never heard of a serger, it’s essentially a sewing machine that finishes your edges for you. It also gives a really nice secure stitch to avoid fraying and keep things likes elastics in place. Here’s what the edges look like with a standard overlock stitch.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

This is super handy for this project because it means I’ll only have to sew around once, adding in the elastics, and the machine will trim off the excess for me. Then I can turn, do the topstitching, and voila! I used the first pattern as a template and drew out the modifications for my second prototype.

I wanted a thicker upper piece and a slimmer front.

I wanted a thicker upper piece and a slimmer front.

I picked out some scrap flannel for both the inside and the outside, so I could simulate the weight of the flannel and PUL I’ll be using for the diapers. It took a grand total of three minutes to serge them together, elastics and all.

Whoo hoo!

Whoo hoo!

I turned it inside out and played with it a bit, enjoying the feel of the secure stitching.

I never would have thought diapers were cute until I got pregnant, I think.

I never would have thought diapers were cute until I got pregnant, I think.

I made sure to poke out all the corners really well, and then used my regular sewing machine for a simple straight stitch around the edges. Because my elastics were right on the seam, I didn’t have to worry about sewing a berth around them.

Whee!

Whee!

The only tricky part was that I forgot to leave a good seam allowance on the opening hole so it was tough to fold it under and sew it in place. Lesson learned!

Comparison shot.

Comparison shot.

I like the shape a lot better for where the snaps will be (when they finally get delivered!). Next adventure: liners!

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Adventures in Cloth Diaper Making – Part 1

Hubby and I are really excited to cloth diaper our baby. We did some research (which meant ultimately consulting a lot with my bestie’s cousin who is in the cloth diaper business: Hippeez Cloth Diapers) and looked into what we were going to need. A set of the ones we wanted were about $350.00, so we put together a diaper fund for my baby shower, and went on our merry way. When I started telling people that the set was of 12, they started saying that it wasn’t going to be enough, because babies poop a lot. My plan had been to just wash them as I go, but started getting worried as time went on. What if there were so many poops that the first diaper wasn’t done drying by the time the last one was being used?

Naturally, I turned to the internet. I looked up a whole pile of cloth diaper making tutorials, sourced out a bunch of materials, and approached my math whiz of a husband to help me figure out realistically how many diapers we could make ourselves for $350.00. The number on the least amount side was 28. This is a significant increase from 12, so we’re off to the races. Of course, I now have less than two months to master diaper making.

And… fight!

Attempt #1 is a bit of a mismash. I used this PDF Ottobre pattern as my template, but used this tutorial from Dream Crafter for directions. As with my previous tutorial on working with PDF patterns, the Ottobre pattern printed at %93. Since this was a prototype and my girl is going to be a newborn, I just cut out the bigger pattern instead of the newborn one and used that.

I had some flannel from Wal Mart and an old thick flannel topsheet that I never use, so I figured those would be good for a trial diaper. Planning a little far ahead here, but in the spirit of not being wasteful, our little girl could have this to use on her dolls or stuffed animals someday!

First thing I did, to avoid having to tape the pdf pattern together, was trace it onto my pattern paper. Which is actually 1-inch graph paper from Staples.

So much easier to pin this stuff!

So much easier to pin this stuff!

I cut it out, pinned it to my fabric, and cut out my pieces.

The fabric piece was a little thin, but whatever, prototype, right?

The fabric piece was a little thin, but whatever, prototype, right?

Putting the right sides of both pieces together, I pinned.

Pinned and ready to sew!

Pinned and ready to sew!

I sewed all the way around with a 1 cm seam allowance, leaving most of the top part open for turning it later.

I just used a straight stitch here.

I just used a straight stitch here.

Next, the elastic. The pattern had dots on it for where the elastic starts and stops, so I marked those on the edges of my seam allowance. I cut a five inch piece for the back, and two six inch pieces for the leg holes.

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Now for the tricky part. Sewing elastic can be daunting, but fear not! It’s actually very straight forward. The key is that you want to stretch the elastic so that the fabric is flat. You sew that with large zigzag stitches so that once finished, the elastic will ruffle up the fabric evenly but won’t pop any stitches when it stretches.

Ruffled!

Ruffled!

The elastic pieces go on the outside of the seam, and while the leg hole ones were a little finicky because it wasn’t in a straight line, it wasn’t too unpleasant.

Got a pretty decent evenness.

Got a pretty decent evenness.

After this, I gave the seam allowance a close trim and clipped little notches in the curves to make for easy turning. And then my very favourite part, flipping it right side out!

Whee!

Whee!

It looks like a blob, so that means one more step, and that’s to sew the finishing hem around the outside. This step will also double to close the open seam at the top. I folded that in and started there, going all the way around and allowing for a berth around the elastics.

Voila!

Voila!

Beauty! It’s diaper shaped!

All in all, it wasn’t too difficult or time consuming. Granted, I didn’t put any fastenings. The pattern calls for velcro, but I’m dead set on using vinyl snaps. Upon folding it around a teddy bear, I’m thinking that I’d like to widen the outer flaps and make the front thinner. I’ll be trying that on my next prototype.

I also realized the value of a serger, because one of those would make this process a LOT faster. How, you ask? I’ll see you on Wednesday with part 2!

Share your favourite cloth diaper escapades in the comments below!

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DIY Canister Shelf

I’ve had this project in mind for a long time… so much so that I haven’t bought rolling tobacco in two years and I still had ten empty canisters in a box. Hubby got a piece of maple for me and sealed it so I could use it as a base.

I marked the wood and heated up a glue gun to start constructing.

I marked the wood and heated up a glue gun to start constructing.

I used a single line underneath each canister, and made sure to put the wood at the front of them where the openings are, so that the shelf wouldn’t tip forward.

Bottom row.

Bottom row.

I set the next row on top and marked where the next lines of glue would go.

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Middle row.

Second row.

I repeated the process for the third and final rows.

Almost ready!

Almost ready!

Final row to finish the pyramid!

Final row to finish the pyramid!

I went over the back with the glue gun to join the backs for extra stability.

I went over the back with the glue gun to join the backs for extra stability.

Once everything cooled, I made sure it was nice and stable and set it up by the door.

Dog stuff, sunglasses, hats, and spots for hubby's keys and wallet!

Dog stuff, sunglasses, hats, and spots for hubby’s keys and wallet!

Love the way it turned out! Let me know in the comments about your own creative organizational ideas!

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Epic Recipes – Nut Butter

Hello, friends.

I recently was gifted a Ninja Kitchen System from my wonderful workmates, and have been seriously loving it. Aside from making perfect smoothies and not having to physically mix dough anymore, I also discovered that nut butter can be made with the food processor in about twenty minutes. YUM.

According to my internet travels, you can do this with any blender or food processor, just be aware that your machine is going to be working really hard. The Ninja is 1800 watts, so this might take longer on a less powerful machine.

Ingredients

-Raw nuts (not roasted)
-A pinch of salt
-Honey or agave, for sweetening

Method

Insert nuts into food processor.

 

Om nom nom nom.

Om nom nom nom.

Once you’re locked and loaded, choose a medium blending speed and let her rip.

Eventually, it'll start to look like this.

Eventually, it’ll start to look like this.

Once it starts to stick to the sides, add the pinch of salt and a little bit of honey or agave nectar. Don’t go overboard, you’d be surprised how sweet nuts are naturally when they’re liquefied! You can always add more later if you need.

Stop every minute or so and use a silicon or wooden spatula to scrape down the sides.

Stop every minute or so and use a silicon or wooden spatula to scrape down the sides.

Make sure to taste it. Because warm cashew butter is heaven.

Before you know it, it'll start to look like this.

Before you know it, it’ll start to look like this.

This was about fifteen minutes for me, give or take a bit, I let my machine rest for five or so minutes because it was getting pretty warm.

Smooth delicious butter.

Smooth delicious butter.

About five minutes later, I had smooth delicious butter. I probably could have kept going, I read that if you keep at it even more oils are released and it will get gooier, but I really liked this consistency. And it was really hard not to just eat it all out of the food processor. YUMMAY.

Enjoy, and let me know what blenders and nuts you used for this!

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DIY Shopping Bag Holder

I had some extra fabric kicking around yesterday and was wondering what I could do with it. I opened my kitchen closet to grab a plastic bag and was reminded of this travesty.

There is no keeping these contained anymore.

There is no keeping these contained anymore.

When we used to have a cat, we used to go through these a lot from emptying the litter box, but apparently I don’t go through them as fast anymore. I decided two things: I needed a plastic bag holder, and I needed to find some projects for recycling old plastic bags.

All you’ll need for this project is a rectangle of fabric and two hair elastics. You can sew your own elastic, I just had a couple of hair elastics kicking around that I wasn’t using, and they’re the perfect size for this. Feel free to use any kind of fabric that you want to work with. A stretchy knit would accommodate more bags, but a non stretchy weave still makes a good bag.

Cut a rectangle of fabric and fold over into a tube.

Cut a rectangle of fabric and fold over into a tube, right sides together.

I made mine about seven inches wide, and about three feet long. I have a lot of bags though, so feel free to adjust if you want it shorter. Next you’ll want to sew all the way up the cut length, and across the top. I used a hair elastic in the top seam to make a hanger. Because you’ll be flipping it inside out, make sure there is enough inside the fabric when you sew to give a good sized hanger when you turn it right side out.

The first hair elastic will be the hanger, if you're not hanging up your bag you can skip this.

The first hair elastic will be the hanger, if you’re not hanging up your bag you can skip this.

You can use whatever you like for the hanger part. Ribbon or braided yarn would be fun.

Finished seam.

Finished seam.

I just used a straight stitch, making sure to backstitch the beginning and end. If you’re using a stretchy fabric, use a zigzag to accommodate stretching once the bag is stuffed.

Slide the second hair elastic (or elastic of your choice) over the non-sewn end of the bag.

Slide the second hair elastic (or elastic of your choice) over the non-sewn end of the bag.

 

Fold the end over the elastic, leaving a generous amount of fabric.

Fold the end over the elastic, leaving a generous amount of fabric.

 

Sew around the entire hem, stretching the elastic so that you're not sewing bunches of fabric as you go.

Sew around the entire hem, stretching the elastic so that you’re not sewing bunches of fabric as you go.

Make sure not to sew over the elastic! I gave about an inch seam allowance here, to give the elastic room.

A perfect bunched up bottom.

A perfect bunched up bottom.

Now all that’s left is to turn it right side out and admire your handiwork!

And stuff it with bags, of course.

And stuff it with bags, of course.

 

And hang it up!

And hang it up!

Stay tuned to find out what kinds of projects I ended up using all of my extra bags for! Let me know how your bag of bags turned out in the comments below!

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