Saturday, January 29, 2011
Turning Prefold Diapers into Contours
When I first decided to use cloth diapers, I had no idea so many options existed. I really only was familiar with prefold diapers with plastic pants, which is what I purchased and have been very happy with. It is definitely the most economical way to cloth diaper.
Since I had been given so many disposable diapers as gifts, I didn't begin cloth diapers with Benjamin until he was over a month old (and quite a bit bigger than a newborn!). With Joanna, however, I used cloth diapers from the time she was about a week old. While I love my one-size prefold diapers, I did find them to be a bit bulky on such a small baby. I intend to use cloth diapers from birth (or at least after the first week) with this next baby, but I came up with an idea that might make the first several weeks a little easier.
I have a number of cloth diapers that I was given that I find to not work as well, as they are not as absorbant as my main supply. I've been keeping them for back up when I'm behind on laundry and run out of my others! But I think they would work just fine on a newborn. So I had the idea to cut them down into contoured diapers, which would reduce the bulk, expecially between the legs on a tiny baby. Contoured diapers are "shaped" to fit your baby better, with little need for folding to fit (think of the shape of disposable diapers).
It was super simple to do. I started out with a diaper, and, using pictures from the internet to give me a general idea, cut out a contoured shape. I did it freehand, cutting out half the diaper first, then folding it over and cutting out the rest, so it was symmetrical. I just guessed on how big it needed to be. I made mine about 13 inches long, with the back tabs about 12 inches wide, and the crotch area about 5 inches wide. Later I found measurements for a commercial contoured diaper, and their newborn size was 12 1/2 inches long and 4 1/2 inches at the crotch, and they expected you to have to fold it down a bit in the beginning. I probably will have to fold down the front a bit, but that's okay. It should still fulfill my goal of cutting down on the bulk.
After cutting out the first diaper, I made some adjustments when I cut out the second, making it slightly better shaped, then I used that second diaper as my pattern to cut out the rest. I just winged it, but if you're not comfortable doing that, you could make a paper pattern first. After cutting out the diapers, I sewed a straight stitch all the way around the diaper, about 1/4 inch away from the edge, just to hold all the raw edges together and give it strength. Then I finished the edges by serging, but you could also use a zig zag stitch on a sewing machine. If you use a zig zag stitch, I would recommend going around the diaper twice. That's it!
I ended up with 16 contoured diapers, which should last me almost two days. I'm really excited to try them out, and I think they will make cloth diapering a newborn much easier! I'll let you know how it goes in several months!