Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Teeny tiny baby diapers

I have always wanted to try sewing a newborn diaper stash, but it always felt very daunting.  When the girls were still in diapers, I made a pocket and a few fitteds using an ill-fitting self-drafted pattern.   The failure was enough to put me off the project for a few years.  While pregnant with little man, I bought the Darling Diapers Unlimited pattern and made a few fitteds, which worked much better.  So this time around, I used my nesting energy to sew a new stash.  (Although we have cloth-diapered all our kids since birth, I was certain #3 was our last so I gave everything away as he outgrew it.)

So here we are having to start from scratch.  Luckily, I now have a very good idea of what I want in a nb diaper stash:

* About a dozen prefolds, since they wash so easily and can go into the dryer and double as burp cloths.
* About a dozen fitted diapers, because fitteds+covers contain newborn poop the best.
* A few rise-adjustable double-gusset PUL covers (I like Thirsties Duo Wraps),
* A handful of pocket diapers for nights (these are also a Papa favorite).

I purchased the newborn prefolds you see in the left side of the drawer (Green Mountain Diapers, love them) because it's not really economical to make them yourself.  Everything else was made by me.

I kicked off my stash sewing by making a dozen fitteds using the Darling Diapers Unlimited pattern.  The pattern contains many variations - including sizes from tiny newborn and regular newborn up to toddler and options for pockets, fitteds, all-in-ones and covers.  There are options for front snapping, side-snapping and hook-and-loop closure.  If you like the fit it is the only diaper pattern you'll ever have to buy.

As my last two babies have been 8 and almost 9 pounds, I went for the regular newborn size.  It seems a little large to me but the couple I made for G fit him for a good long time, so I don't really mind if they are a little big to start. The fitteds themselves are each constructed of three layers of fabric - mostly bamboo fleece and organic bamboo velour, but a few have cotton print knit outers and one has a woven outer.  A few have hidden layers of hemp fleece.

There is an option for an umbilical cord snap-down but I only used it on the striped one.  All my kids have lost their cord stumps within a few days of birth so I figure that won't be a big deal.  The eagle-eyed might notice that my snap placement isn't the same on all the snap diapers.  This is because I have this issue with trusting diaper patterns' snap placement.  I have no idea why, but I always seem to think I can do it better on my own (and I never do).  At some point I should learn.

Each fitted has a lay-in soaker made of three layers of fabric - a combination of bamboo fleece, organic bamboo velour and hemp fleece.

I was pretty careful with my seam allowances, but even so it seems to me that the contour soakers I made are not going to fit well inside the leg elastic. We'll see, I guess, but it's a good thing I made some super-awesome double-gusseted PUL covers to contain the messes :)

I was planning to use the DDU pattern to make the covers, but the fitteds looked so big to me, I wasn't sure the newborn size DDU cover would actually fit over them.  And then I discovered this free pattern  for an adjustable newborn/small PUL cover, so I used it to make my covers.

After I'd made three, I decided they should be a bit longer, so I lengthened the pattern by 1.5" and added another set of snap sockets to make the green cover adjustable to three sizes instead of two.  I made the leg gussets using this tutorial.

I'm very pleased with the end result - they look just like the Thirsties Duo covers I used and loved for the other three kids.  They take about an hour to sew, start-to-finish, and they are so much cheaper to make than to buy (I think mine were about $3 each for materials, whereas the Duo covers run about $13 a pop).  All of this adds up to make them a very satisfying sew.

Next up was a half-dozen pocket diapers. We like using them at night for babies who don't wake as often (fingers crossed that #4 falls into that category) since they keep the skin drier than fitteds.

I tried going back to the Darling Diapers pattern for my pockets, but after I made one (the blue one with velcro closure), it looked really small and hard to stuff.  I used the regular newborn size with the rolling elastic option.  My fleece keeps rolling to the outside of the leg openings so I also worry it will wick.  Rather than fuss with the pattern I made the remaining five pockets nb/small sized using another free pattern from the prefold2fitted website.

I liked that they were size-adjustable and will fit longer.  Each pocket is made of one layer of PUL and one of microfleece.

You can see the size difference in the above photo.  The DDU one is nice and trim but it won't fit as long as the other one.

I opted not to fuss with a pocket opening that was cut or sewn into the micro fleece.  Instead I just folded down the microfleece in back to be like some bought pockets we have used and loved, and I added a little elastic on the micro fleece portion of the pocket opening as well as on the PUL side.

For inserts I used this free pattern from the same site.  I did double-petal soakers with each petal constructed of one layer of hemp fleece and one layer of microfiber.  I have some bought inserts made of that combination of fabric and I love them.  They are trim but very absorbent.

I had such fun sewing this stash (over a period of about three months) that I had to have a stern talk with myself once I had fulfilled our diapering needs.  It would have been very easy to go overboard and make a million more diapers!  What I made will be plenty.

I'm very happy with how everything turned out ... I hope they fit well!


  1. I am gushing! Both with excitement and joy for a new baby and at that gorgeous stash! I am amazed by your abilities.

    1. Thanks Sarah! Wish you were here to see them in person.

  2. Wow! You are amazing! Looks like so much work! I remember sewing fitteds for So and I remember how much I disliked making them as I hate conveyor belt sewing. But yours looks so cute and professional made! :)

    1. Yours looked amazing and were part of what inspired me to try this time!

  3. All I can say is: WOW. That is a lot of diapers! That looks like a TON of work, but what a fantastic little diaper stash you have! Now you just need to knit a few merino wool covers (my faves for nighttime), right? You are on FIRE.

    1. Thanks Inder. I used to have a good stash of knit wool covers (all long since given away, sigh) but I admit we never had much luck using them in the newborn days. My kids had such runny poop that what i lovingly called "poo juice" would leak through the diaper and onto the cover each time, requiring way more washes/lanolizations than usual! We did love fitteds+wool for nights with the girls when they were older though.

    2. Wow, these look great Masha.
      I use cloth nappies too, but just boring terry squares I fold myself.
      Best of luck, Sweetheart.

      PS May you FM me your address? I have something for the baby. xx N


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