Sunday, June 7, 2009

Modern Cloth Nappies

Modern cloth nappies will save you so much money and are surprisingly easy to make if you have basic sewing skills. If you are unsure about anything or things aren't clear, just let me know! I learnt to make them from my friend Suze at (See blogs I follow)

You will need:
1 disposable nappy (to make initial pattern, you can borrow from friends to just make the pattern)
Sewing machine
Swimmer/clear elastic
Fleece (you can get this in bamboo or hemp versions which are better for baby's skin)
Bamboo or hemp toweling

To start with I trace the outline of a disposable for a pattern. In the first bounty bag you get when you visit a midwife there is a Huggies Newborn sample. This is a great start. Alternatively you can request nappy samples from companies, such as Huggies, Babylove, Snugglers. Just email them and ask.

Once you have your pattern, lay it on a piece of flanelette fabric. Pin it and cut it out. This will be the outside of the nappy. It is easiest if you use patterned flanelette to start with, you will see why further down.
Figure 1
Next, lay the same pattern on a piece of fleece (you can use flanelette, I will explain the differences later). Pin and cut it out.

Figure 2

Figure 3
Next you will need to cut out 3 - 4 strips of bamboo or hemp toweling (my preference is bamboo, but either is good. both of these are more absorbent than normal toweling)
Lay this on the inside of the fleece, generally the softer side. This is the fabric that is going to be inside the nappy and not against baby's bottom. Sew it on.

Figure 4
Next lay the flanelette and fleece together, with the patterned side of the flanelette and the side of the fleece which is not showing the toweling (see Figure 2), facing each other. Pin in place.

Figure 5
Next stitch around the nappy, starting at the top of the nappy, approximately where the tabs would start on a disposable, and sew around the tab section of the nappy. When you get to just under it and it starts to curve, approximately level with where the toweling is sewn on, stop.

You will need to change to a zig zag stitch on your machine and pin in some swimmer elastic. The clear elastic. It needs to be this one as it is design to be wet. Other elastic will deteriorate too quickly. Holding the elastic very taught, sew a zig zag along it, until the nappy begins to curve again. Stop. Cut the elastic off. Change your machine back to straight stitch, sew along the curve of the bottom of the nappy to the other side, then repeat the elastic steps above on this side.
Next, do a zig zag stitch all around where you have just sewn straight stitch to strengthen and reinforce the sewing.
When you have reached the top of the nappy, ensure you do not stitch it closed. You will need to leave a gap big enough to be able to turn the nappy inside out.

Figure 6
The elastic should make the nappy curl like this. (See Figure 6). You may need to practice the elastic and how tight you hold it a few times before it sits properly.

Figure 7
Once the nappy has been sewn together, turn it inside out. Where the gap is at the top, pin it together and straight stitch along it to close the gap.

Figure 8
Cut some strips of velcro. Attach the soft part to the tab as shown above and sew on. Do this to both tabs.

Figure 9
Next, attach the loopy / hook part of the velcro to the bottom of the nappy, (as shown in Figure 9.) To make the velcro nicer, you can round the corners a little by trimming with your scissors. It gives a nicer finish.

Figure 10

And this is it finished. You will need to use a plastic cover (pilcher) or make your own cover using PUL, which is nicer for babies bottom.

To make the nappy more absorbent you can make a liner, by sewing some toweling, flanelette and fleece together. The fleece should face the baby's bottom when using it.

The reason I used fleece is because the poo's come off easier than other fabric. The only problem is it can be hot for a baby's bottom during summer, so use whichever suits you, but I highly recommend making fleece liners. By making liners with toweling, fleece and flanelette, you double the absorbency of the nappy, with out doubling drying times when washing.

Modern Cloth Nappies or MCN's as they are commonly called don't need to be soaked. You can just chuck them in a bucket with a lid, then wash as normal. Do not use fabric softner, as this affects the bamboo. Dry them on the line as sun is a natural bleach.

They are shaped like disposables and much easier to use than the old terry toweling squares.

Have fun making these.

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