Friday, May 15, 2009

How I Became Queen of the Seam Ripper

I have been saying for quite some time now that I would start sewing up some cloth diapers. I researched the possibilities, knowing that I wanted something close to a Fuzzi Bunz or Happy Heinys pocket diaper. While on Ravelry I got a suggestion to try which is run by a work-at-home mom (WAHM) and fellow Raveler. So I priced our the diaper kits as well as buying a pattern, fabric and notions separately and it seemed like it was going to be just as much (if not more) to purchase those items myself (don't forget shipping) and I'd still have to make all the fabric cuts, pre-wash the fabric, cut the notions to size, etc. (Here's the DiaperKit comparison.) Now, I did all this back in January or so, thinking that I would start sewing when it got closer to baby's arrival - perhaps in March. As the time came to order and start sewing though, I kept putting it off. In all honesty, I have been incredibly intimidated by this project - it involves something I have been avoiding for quite awhile now - elastic.

So, here it is mid-May and I finally placed and received my order. I can't say enough good things about Amber and I ordered on Monday and by the end of the week 10 diaper kits were in my mail box. I emailed her about one small issue, received a response almost immediately and it's corrected.

I chose to get the "Small" size since we expect to be in flux for most of the "newborn" stage and don't plan to cloth diaper until we get settled in. I requested both "scraps" and instructions since I'm a first timer. Their website also has tutorials for sewing elastic and creating a pocket diaper rather than an All-in-One. I ordered 9 AIO kits and 1 Pocket kit, just to see the difference. I think I will have to buy more elastic in order to convert all the AIO kits into Pocket diapers, but we shall see.

I read the instructions - three or four times - then watched the video tutorials on elastic, then watched other video tutorials on elastic, then started sewing on the elastic and fabric scraps. It was not pretty. I stitched, then ripped, stitched then ripped, probably half a dozen times until I got it to look somewhat "normal". Then, for the first step on the diaper - the elastic on the "pocket" portion at the back of the diaper. It's sewn within a fold, yet another challenge, but I managed. A few "easy" steps later (straight stitch on the hook'n'loop, hem the edges, etc) and I was back to the velcro - for the legs. I thought it would be easier since it wasn't to be sewn within a fold. Boy was I wrong! I stitched and ripped each side 2-3 times until it came out mostly even. Word to the wise - do NOT change anything from one side to the other (duh). The stretch in my elastic came out slightly different from one leg to the other because I was more comfortable by the time I got to the second leg and was going a bit faster on the machine. Unfortunately a bit faster meant a bit off from the other leg - oops! But by that time, I was d.o.n.e. ripping seams!

And now...PICTURES...keep in mind - this is a first effort...

Here it is all closed up.

And here it is open - note the pocket at the back where it gets stuffed. There are also two tabs on each side so the hook tape will be secured to the loop patches next to it while in the wash and prevent any "velcro chains" or fuzz build up in the hook tape.

I am also making up the "soakers" (stuff that goes inside the diaper to soak up the 'mess'). The kits come along with fabric for sewing those as well. I did one on my machine with a flip/top stitch method, but it's a pain so I'm going to wait until I can use my grandma's serger and just do one overlock stitch to hem them up - MUCH faster and easier (so long as I can figure out how to thread the serger).

And now...on to diaper #2...

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