April 22 is Earth Day and in thinking about what we can do to as a cloth diapering community, our friend BethAnne has some ideas here for "upcycling" apparel, receiving blankets and other items you have to make into adorable cloth diapers using Babyville Boutique PUL fabrics as the hidden inner layers. Your baby will look as cute as can be and Mother Earth will thank you too!
So you want to cloth diaper your baby, are thinking about the upfront cost to get started? Do you sew? Have you ever thought of sewing your own cloth diapers utilizing materials you may already have? It's time to upcycle!
Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.
Cloth diapers can be made from a variety of fabrics, therefore giving you a wide range of fabrics to choose from with upcycling. Jersey Knits, Cottons, Wool, Micro-Fleece and Flannels are great choices! Who doesn't have a bunch of old t-shirts, sweaters and baby blankets lying around?
Here is my stash of upcycled diaper making fabrics. There is everything from knit dresses, nightgowns, knit and flannel baby blankets and an old sweater. All of these were picked up at yard sales or thrift shops for literally pennies!
Here are a few of the upcycled projects I have made:
One-size fitted cloth diaper made with a vintage Carter's knit baby blanket.
The inside yellow layer was the backside of the baby blanket. Worked out perfectly and gave my diaper a nice designer look. I also sewed in a hidden soaker made with ZORB and made a snap in soaker which also consists of an inner layer of ZORB. Now, ZORB isn't really a fabric you can upcycle, but you can also cut up some of your old flat cloth diapers for soaker pads or even make some using dual layers of flannel.
My little guy in his mom made fitted cloth diaper!
Total cost to make this diaper - $2.75
Most OS fitted diapers run you anywhere between $15-$30!!!
One of my favorite finds for my upcycled diaper making is Gymboree knit blankets. They are made with high quality jersey knit, have the most adorable prints and are dual sided. Last summer I snagged two of these babies at a yard sale for 25 cents a piece! You can get 4-5 diaper cuts out of one of these blankets (depending on the diaper size). I personally cut out 3 OS diaper cuts and a cloth trainer (soaker) from this one blanket. This included the inner layer and outer layer.
Here is the cloth trainer I made for my 3 year old son. VERY easy to make! No elastic needed and it gives a great fit! I added a hidden ZORB shaker pad for extra absorbency, but you can make these without for a great pair of little boy's underwear.
FREE Soaker Pattern can be found here.
I made this trainer/soaker and pair of longies out of an old Merino Wool Sweater I picked up at Goodwill for $4.00. You can use the soaker over a fitted diaper as a cover. Same thing goes for the longies. 100% wool works fabulous as a diaper cover as wool is highly absorbent and can hold up to 35% of it's weight in moisture. It is also very breathable making it a great choice for overnight diapering and for babies who have a tendency to rash. You will need to lanolize your wool after each wash, but one of the most amazing things about cloth diapering with wool is you will only need to hand wash about once a month (unless poop gets on the diaper covers). Wool can be saturated with urine, air dried and used again. Sounds gross, but it dries with NO odor! Try it for yourself if you don't believe me. You will fall in love with wool!
Utilizing old t-shirts is one of the easiest and most fun ways to make cloth diapers. I purchased these two tie dye t-shirts at a thrift shop for $1.00 each. I was able to get 4 diaper cuts from the two shirts. Which gives you a pretty cool outer layer for your diaper for only 50 cents! No messing with dye either. Love it!
Here is a previous upcycled tie dye diaper I made. This diaper is a one-size AI2 style with a hidden layer of Babyville Boutique white PUL. No cover required! I sewed this using both a serger and regular sewing machine.
Besides the inner layer of PUL for waterproofing, this diaper also has a hidden inner soaker I made cutting up an old prefold cloth diaper. The snap in soaker is also made with a sandwich layer of the prefold fabric. You can use old white t-shirts for the diaper inside layer. I used white knit fabric I found for real cheap at a thrift shop.
As you can see cloth diapering can be done on the cheap. With a little creativity your old cast offs can be re-purposed to diaper your baby! All you need to purchase are your snaps, elastic, and PUL (if wanting a hidden waterproof layer). Babyville Boutique's line of diaper making products can cover these things and you can pick them up at your local JoAnn Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, and Hancock fabric stores. Don't forget those coupons to make your projects even more affordable!
*Note: When sewing with knits and wool, please be sure you are using the proper needle. Failure to use the right needle will result in diapers that come undone and or create holes. For more information and tips on sewing diapers with a variety of fabrics please read Babyville's Cloth Diapers Made Easy book.
Mama to 4 (almost 5), wife, homeschool teacher and blogger, Beth Hunter is one busy stay at home mom! She has been cloth diapering for the past 4 years and loves to share about her cloth diaper experiences, her life, and all things homemaking over at Happily Domestic.