Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How to make a pocket diaper with leg gussets

Since I am spending some of my Thanksgiving holiday upping my cloth diaper stash by sewing some more cloth diapers (currently working on size large pocket diapers) I thought I'd go ahead and take step by step photos for anyone interested in sewing their own cloth diapers. It is a great economical choice, truely you can make an entire cloth diaper stash for under $100 if you are creative and willing to search for a bargain. Majority of supplies can be purchased from second hand stores using fabrics such as recycled baby blankets, flannel sheets, old t-shirts, whool sweaters etc. I went all out with this stash and bought some new PUL material, cute fleece, flannel, a bunch of FOE (fold over elastic), velcro and a few dozen chinese prefolds. But in the end I spent under $200, a HUGE savings over buying disposible diapers over the life of a diapered child and even a large savings of a few hundred dollars over buying my cloth diapers and covers from an online store. It did take me some trial and error since I have VERY little previous sewing experience. I started sewing All In One diapers without leg gussets, but the gussets are great for containging leaks, and I've come to prefer a prefold with a cover, or a pocket diaper over the AIO's because they dry quicker and are easier for me to launder. I developed a pattern I like and even through nursing school and my 4 children I will have all the diapers this baby will need to get her from birth to potty training by the time she is born in February!

First you need to find a pattern. I've found plenty by doing a search for 'cloth diaper pattern' in google, and have modified a few to my liking. This is the one i'm using for my pockets.

You need two layers, a waterproof outer layer, and an absorbant inner layer. I like to use PUL, or fleece for my outer layer, and either flannel or microfleece for the inner layer. Cut out your 2 layers of fabric, and 2 gussets with the outer fabric. I'm using 2 layers of fleece for this diaper.

Next you want to sew your FOE over the straight edge of each gusset, pullig the elastic tight as you sew with a zigzag stitch. (The gussets above already have the FOE sewn on). Then you want to straight stitch the pocket flap down on each fabric layer, leaving a space to thread through a 1/4inch elastic, as shown below.

 After sewing both flaps down, sew both peices of fabric together along the edge right sides out, starting where you've sewn the flap down, and ending at the sewn down flaps. Do not sew over the flaps, this is your pocket to insert the diaper.
 Once you have your peices sewn together you take a peice of 1/4 inch elastic, do not cut it to any specific length, leave it long, put a safety pin on one side to help thread it through the fold down flaps.

 After you've threaded it through both sides, pull the elastic to tighten the opening and pin the elastic on the other side.You can then cut the elastic.
 It will look like this.
Now sew the elastic that is pinned wtih a zigzag stitch back and forth a few times to secure.

Then cut a loop (soft side) velcro to the length of the front of diaper and sew it in place. I straight stitch around the edge.
 Then sew 2 hook (rough side) velcor tabs onto the inner back side of the diaper, and another 2 loop velcro tabs inside of the hook tabs. (The hook tabs are optional to use to secure the hook velcro durring washing to help prevent it from pulling on your diapers.)
 It is now time to sew the leg gussets onto the diaper. Fold a gusset in half, and the diaper in half from front to back, to find the center of each.
Once you have found the center of each then hold the two together like in the photo below and secure with pins along the gusset.
 Once you have it pinned, sew it onto the diaper with a straight stitch along the edge.

 Repeat on the other side, it will look like this when you are done.
 Now it is time to finish off the diaper with FOE all around the edge, leaving the pocket open. So grab your FOE and fold over about 1/2 inch.
 Pinch this over the edge of the diaper right along side the opening of the pocket. It may be easier if you pin it in place, then sew it on. I always stragiht stitch back and forth a few times to secure it real well along the first inch of the elastic.
 Then straight stitch along making sure the elastic is folded over the edge of the diaper.
 Once you reach the leg gusset you want to switch to a zigzag stitch and pull to stretch the elastic as you sew ver the gusset.
 After the gusset swtich back to a straight stitch and continue to sew around the rest of the diaper, repeating the zigzag and stretch over the other gusset. When you reach the pocket, you can cut the elastic about 1/2 inch too long.
 Then fold the excess in and straight stitch back and forth a few times to secure it at the edge.
  You are finished!
 Insert a chinese prefold. (or any absorbant cloth! I have used t-shirts, bibs, and even paper towels from the store bathroom when in a bind having forgotten to bring enough diapers with me).

Here's the final product on my toddler. She's bee using the potty for about 6 months now but her skinny butt fit in to this so she's a great model!

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