Friday, May 8, 2015

Non-wicking hidden PUL pocket diaper

I never thought to make diapers until I had a baby and realized that all these people are buying their first ever sewing machines and diving right into diaper making. I realized they're actually really easy, and the most intimidating part to me, the snaps, isn't actually intimidating at all (another Kam Snap win).

I'm not going to give a tutorial on how to put the diaper together. There are plenty there, along with lots of great patterns. I took my favorite features from my daughter's diapers to create a pattern that fits very well and is also easy to stuff the absorbent inserts into the pocket without risking the insert touching the skin.

One of the most popular questions in diaper making seems to be how to hide the waterproof fabric (called PUL, which is short for polyurethane laminate) with whatever beautiful fabric you want. At first glance, it should be easy - just layer your outer fabric on top of the PUL and treat it as a single cut of fabric. Unfortunately, it's not that simple! If your inner fabric (usually something stay dry like microfleece so the baby doesn't feel wet) touches the outer fabric at the leg seams, the outer fabric will draw moisture toward the outside. Clothes will get wet, moms will get frustrated...

To prevent this problem, there are three approaches:

  1. The Chelory method - this method seems to be the most popular. It involves cutting the outer fabric a little thinner than the PUL and then sewing a strip of PUL to the edge. There are lots of tutorials and YouTube videos explaining how to use this method. The downside, in my opinion, is that this method adds an extra seam, seam allowance, and an extra layer of PUL around the legs, which adds a lot more bulk and makes a perfect fit more difficult.
  2. The method I'm going to describe below, which involves cutting the outer fabric a little thinner than the PUL and folding the edge under before just topstitching it on top, like an applique.
  3. Line the inside of the diaper with PUL around the edges, like a brand new pattern floating around recommends. From the reviews I've read, this is a great idea, but it's kinda tricky to sew.
My most recent pocket diaper features an upcycled tshirt outer, a hidden PUL layer, and an athletic wicking jersey (upcycled dri-fit shirt) inner).

Here's my method, step by step:

1. Cut your fabric pieces out, using whatever pattern you choose. Cut your outer fabric using the same pattern piece as the one for the PUL. *It helps to cut the inner fabric ~1/4" narrower than the outer fabric. Then, when you sew it all together, the inside won't fold outward.*

2. Trim about 1/2" of the outer fabric along the legs.

3. Along the leg openings only, fold the edge under and press, as if you were going to hem it. 

4. "Pin" your outer fabric to your PUL. Every time you add a hole to the PUL, you're risking a leak, so I would recommend using clips. I use alligator clips (like the kind hair bows and flowers attach to).

5. Sew your outer fabric to the PUL, using a ballpoint needle, which slides into the PUL without tearing it. In this step, there's no seam. You're just stitching the outer fabric directly to the PUL.

6. Iron on top of your stitches. You want to protect your PUL, so use mid-level heat and cover the PUL so the iron never touches the shiny side directly. This step will seal your stitching holes.
I covered my PUL with the papery stuff that comes with iron-on vinyl
7. Treat your PUL + outer fabric as a single piece in your pattern from this point forward! 
Now you just have your two main pieces instead of three!
The rest of the steps should include applying your snaps, assembling the rest of the outside and inside as your pattern recommends (attach the tabs if separate, sew the pocket if it's not going right along the top of the back, etc.), assembling your diaper and inserting elastics, topstitching around the outside of the diaper, adding snaps to your tabs, and sealing your stitching holes with the iron and in the dryer.

Applying snaps 
Rest of the outside and inside assembled
The finished product
Pocket stuffed with a microfiber insert 
Back of the diaper
Front of the diaper on the smallest rise 
See how the red outer fabric never touches the purple stay dry fabric along the legs?
On the bum!
Once your diaper is finished, you can wash it just like any diapers: two cycles, one with a little bit of detergent to get all the bodily fluids off (so you're not doing your main wash in poopy water) and another heavy duty wash with what might seem like an excessive amount of detergent to really get them clean. NO EXTRA RINSES. You should never have to bleach your diapers unless your baby gets a yeast rash or if you have to sanitize them after stripping them of mineral build up due to a poor washing routine, but if you do, the outer fabric COULD fade a little bit. Most fabrics are not color-safe like PUL is, so keep that in mind when you select your fabric!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Nursing friendly quick dress

I have a total of about three nursing friendly dresses... oops! My cousin got married last weekend, and I needed something I could throw together quickly, while babywearing the little girl who never naps. I used a basic half circle skirt with pleats (the easy breezy skirt), but the bodice was tough. I have my go to patterns I've created, but my shape has changed a lot since having a baby! I had to modify it quite a bit and am kinda shocked at how well it turned out.  
Frantically sewing to get this dress made in time!
I used Kam Snaps down the front of the bodice for easy nursing access. If you've never heard of them before, it's probably because you've never had a baby in cloth diapers... they're "diaper snaps." I have made a few diapers and realized these snaps are so much more versatile. Here are 101+ uses for Kam Snaps, but I think they should add my nursing dress to the list because they worked perfectly! 

Snaps down the front
The Kam Snaps I have are standard prong length, which is ideal for diapers (which have a thick PUL fabric layer), but not ideal for the thin flowy fabric I used for this dress. Kam Snaps recommended snipping the tips, and I have to say, it worked perfectly!! I had tested them out on another thin fabric before, and after going through the wash once, they got a little warped and didn't snap properly because they weren't on tight enough. Snipping the tips solved that problem. 

Stretchy Wrap Carriers

All my stretchy wraps (one with my gift label shown)
After about a year's hiatus from the blog, I'm back! This past year has been a little different for me in terms of sewing. I started off making lots of baby gifts for one of my best friends, who had a baby in July. Then, I made lots of things in preparation for my own baby, born in December! I'm sure I'll be back to making adult clothing soon enough, but there will be plenty of baby items interspersed as well in my upcoming posts, starting with wrap carriers :)

Bonding, cuddling, and having two free hands - perfect. Moby wraps are the most popular brand, but there are many others. I decided to make my own.

My tags