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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Fixing Hand Me Down Cloth Diapers

If you cloth diaper, you probably know the horror of used cloth diapers with the foam inserts. I HATE cloth diapers with foam down the middle. Seriously, what are they thinking? I'm no expert but I would think that the foam would hold bacteria and odors, and from what I've seen, it breaks down into little bits when it's washed repeatedly. (And in case you didn't know, cloth diapers get washed repeatedly.)

But let's say you get some for free or ridiculously cheap, like a dime apiece. Don't throw them away! Even if you don't cloth diaper, they still make great burp cloth and dust rags. And if you do cloth diaper, you can fold them in thirds and they make excellent doublers for heavy wetters or overnight.

Make a horizontal slit (parallel to the short side of the diaper) about 1 1/2 inches from the hem. Try not to cut the middle seams, but if you do, whatever. You can fix it. Just try not to. Make sure that the slit is only in the top layer of cloth - NOT all the way through. (You can fix that too, but you know. It's just easier not to have to deal with it.)

Now stick your hand in the cut you just made and pull that nasty layer out of there. You might have to bunch the diaper up and pull it over your hand, like pantyhose, in order to get down to the far end. Get all that junk out and then shake it really good to get any pillies or fuzzies out.

Now overlap the bottom "lip" of the slit about 1/4" over the to "lip." If your diapers are very worn, overlap it 1/2" or even 3/4" if you can. Worn diapers will fray and that's just a total pain in the ass.

Put your sewing machine on a wide, short zig zag stitch. I put mine on the widest setting, 7.0, and quite short, I believe 1.2. Start stitching about 1/4" from the start of the slit, back stitching quite a few stitches, like maybe 12 or 14. Then just be sure to keep the cut edge in the middle of your presser foot so the zig zag will grab both the top lip and the bottom.

When you're done, again go 1/4" past the slit, and backstitch 12 or 14 stitches.

Your newly sewn diaper should look have a nice satiny line, unless you didn't cut it straight, in which case it will look like a smile, or maybe a drunk's smile, all crookedy. It's okay. Consider what this diaper's purpose will be - no one will see it.

If your diaper is especially worn, you can patch it with a piece of muslin. Easy Peasy.

And as far as all those moms who insist that you MUSTMUSTMUST use expensive chinese (or indian) prefold diapers - psh. I doubt they even tried using Gerbers. I bet they just bought into the hype they read on message boards. I am using Gerbers and have no problem with leaks. Mine are just the plain old regular prefolds, not the premiums. At night I use a second diaper folded in thirds (the long way) up the middle for a soaker. If you have the money for nice DSQ chinese prefolds, go for it. They do wear beautifully. If not, Gerbers will do the trick just fine.


Jeff9 said...

The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use at the same time as you benefit from using it on the diapers, by using it on yourself. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off" Available at they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain. One review:

Cara said...

The Gerbers you use...are they just the ones from Wal-Mart or Target? We just started using cloth & I bought fitteds but am hating their bulk...definitely thinking about switching to prefolds because the fatman is having trouble adjusting to the bulk.