Monday, September 8, 2008

Quick and Dirty Diaper Cover

We made books again this morning, among other things. Willow dictated and illustrated this awesome little story about a butterfly that goes fishing, then finds a hole to live in, until he's scared out of his hole by the Thump! Thump! Thump! of a huge herd of diplodocus stampeding by. Sydney, well...Sigh.

There is always so much drudgery around the house the day after a vacation--clothes to wash, unpleasant smells to investigate, the cat to clean up after, breakfast and lunch to fix without the benefits of fresh food--that it makes me kind of twitchy after a while. So I felt like making something. Of course, the kids were twitchy, too, all fighty and pestery, so I ended up making a quick-and-dirty ten-minute diaper cover out of an old sweater. Wanna see how?

Quick-and-Dirty Felted Wool Diaper Cover: A Tutorial
This tutorial will make a pull-on diaper cover, to be worn over a fitted diaper or a pre-fold that has been fitted with a Snappi.
1. For the quickest and the dirtiest diaper cover, you should already have on hand a felted wool sweater or two. You can felt a wool sweater by running it through the washer and the drier a few times until it reaches the right consistency--it doesn't have to be too thick or stiff or anything, but you should be able to stretch it a bit without being able to see through the weave. There is a lot of room for error here, though, so don't get too anal. Feel free to just throw the whole sweater in the machine to felt it, but if you get really into making things from felted wool, you'll eventually want to start cutting it up at the seams to help it felt more evenly and without wrinkles.
2. Measure your baby around the waist and around her fat little thighs.
Syd is sort of (you see her helping, right?) 18 inches around the waist, and 13 inches around a fat little thigh. You won't need to add in a seam allowance, but you might want to add in a little extra for growth.
3. Measure out an equilateral triangle (three equal sides) on your sweater, with one side (this will be the diaper's waist) made up of the finished hem of your sweater. 4. Cut out the triangle, and lay it out like this: The finished edge that will be the waist is at the top now, and you fold the bottom angle of the triangle up to touch the top side, and fold the two angles on the left and right in to meet that top angle.
You should have a little square now. The top is the diaper's waist, and the two bottom corners are going to be the leg holes. Halve your baby's fat little thigh measurement (I have 6.5, rounded down to 6 because I'm lazy), and measure up that many inches from each corner and mark it. You're going to be sewing DOWN to this mark on each side.
Later, you might want to experiment here to really custom-fit your kiddo. For instance, if you have a very fat-thighed baby, the rise of your diaper will be lower than it would be on a skinny-thighed baby, but don't worry--the equilateral triangle, though indeed quick and dirty, will work.
5. Sew down from where the angles meet to the leg-hole marks you made. I use a strong thread and a zig-zag stitch to keep the diaper nice and stretchy. 6. For the best water-repellancy, you'll want to lanolinize your felted wool diapers--I use Imse Vimse wool wash that has the lanolin in, and it's really not hard.
7. Try the diaper cover on your little monkey, and admire:

Well, maybe I'll try again while she's sleeping.
There are a lot of modifications you can make to this simple pattern to make it more attractive and give it even better absorbency:
  • Add regular elastic or FOE to the waist and/or leg holes
  • Sew on the ribbed cuffs from the sweater sleeves to the leg holes
  • Sew on cuffs from a different sweater for a cute color combination
  • Make a pair of baby pants out of a felted wool sweater for a winter longie diaper cover
  • Applique felted wool embellishments
You can also use this same technique to make a pull-on diaper cover out of fleece, which is nice and light but will be affected by compression wicking (so don't strap your kid into the carseat with it on) or even a thick cotton terry, which technically isn't water-tight but is nice for messy activities or beach play because you can wash it in as hot of water as you want. Or just let your kid run around naked. Whatever.

1 comment:

rebekah said...

omg, was looking for a wool cover pattern and could not stop laughing at your marker covered baby! adorable, that is awesome haha.