Cloth diapering thoughts

We’ve been talking cloth diapers a lot around here lately. Caleb’s diapers have been leaking, and we’ve been trying to find out what exactly the problem is so we can solve it. I think I have it figured out.

I’ve seen a lot of ladies make cloth diapers using links I’ve used. I’m honored that people even read my blog! But since I’ve seen so many people sewing the same patterns I have, I wanted to share some of my observations about them, a year later. Maybe it will help other mamas not deal with a bit of the frustration we’ve dealt with.

Mama Bird Pocket Fitted – this was a great diaper because we could use it on a newborn. I stuffed it too full sometimes though so he ended up pretty bowlegged at times. I didn’t sew many because I didn’t want to keep sewing more every time he hit a growth spurt. Her sizing is pretty accurate too. Just make sure your printer is set to 100% or else you’ll have a bunch of preemie dipes.

Rita’s Rump Pocket – the one we use the most now. I love it. It’s easy to sew, goes together quickly, and is really versatile. We have 2 dozen of these. They fit well from about 10 pounds and up. When the babies are much smaller than that there’s just too much diaper.

Diapersewing.com – a great how-to site with lots of pics

I did learn a few things along the way. The first dipes I made were actually fleece covers and not the diapers themselves. I used two layers of fleece and drew my own pattern, following the instructions on diapersewing.com. They’ve held up wonderfully, and I’m actually using them for Caleb right now with his nighttime diapers. The fleece will compression wick some though, so now I add a waterproof layer and that is solved.

The RRP and MB patterns are really nice, but I would change things around the next time I make them. Made just as a diaper that needs a cover, and they’d be great.

I didn’t see that there was a pattern for the Rita’s Rump Pocket cover until I’d already sewn all of the basic pattern as fleece outer pockets. That’s ok, but one of the other patterns on her site would have probably worked better for us.

The way I made them was with an outer layer of flannel and an inner of fleece, and they wick. A lot. The problem is there’s too much of the inner flannel edges exposed to baby’s clothes – which ends up getting everything wet. I would either make the outside out of PUL the next time or find a way to keep the flannel away from the edges (I just saw a pattern on the RRP site today that looks like it would fit this description). I chose fleece for the outer because it’s water resistant, but either the fleece I used was too cheap (a possibility) or the flannel gets too close to the outside. When you sew the leg elastic area, you can pull the flannel so that the fleece rolls to the inside, but I didn’t do a good enough job of it.

The fleece outer is great because it’s pinnable, but it compression wicks too. I stuff them with two pieces – a waterproof rectangular piece (which was an old crib liner I had laying around – I needed something fast and it worked) and a microfiber shop towel. The microfiber is a lot more absorbent than the cotton I was using.

I was using cotton washcloths, sandwiched in a flannel case to stuff the diapers with. Those were ok, and I used them because I had them. Then I read about how good microfiber was, so I bought a pack of the cloths. They’re about the size of a large washcloth. Folded in thirds, and they hold just as much as the cotton did – without as much bulk. I’m a lot happier with them so far, but we’ve only had them for about a week so that opinion could change.

I’ve been reading up on diaper sewing again wanting to get ideas to make our system work better. I like the ease of the pocket diapers, but that’s useless if they leak.

I’d considered going back to diapers with covers, but don’t really want to mess with prefolds again (we probably have a good 6 dozen of varying weights).

Another thing I tried was turning the elastic edges of Caleb’s diaper in when I change diapers. That seems to be working, but I’ve not done it long enough to have much of an opinion on it yet.

All that said – I wanted to give an update. I still love cloth diapering (my blue plaid diapers are just too fun), but we’ve had just enough leaks that it’s time to revisit our system again. Having cloth diapers is useless if you end up buying disposables just to avoid leaks!