Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cloth Diapering Twins: Part 1 {The Making Of}

Once we found out we were expecting twins, I knew things were going to get expensive fast. I was neighbors with this super great girl at the time who had bravely entered the world of cloth diapering all on her own. If I hadn't been able to see how easy it was first hand, and ask her all my questions, I don't know that I would have been able to commit to cloth. I'm really grateful for her, because man this has saved us some money! To date, we have spent $30 on disposable diapers, and $170 on my cloth diaper stash. From what I researched online, you can count on spending roughly $2,500 on disposable diapers per kid from newborn to potty trained. That was $5,000 for us. ouch. and no thank you.

I joined a cloth diaper sewing group on babycenter and started researching. And it was like drinking out of a firehose. I probably read and re-read and clicked on new articles and re-read those and downloaded free patterns and tried to remember what kinds of fabric was good for what and what all the slang and acronyms meant and then I closed my eyes because my head hurt. And this went on for a couple of months.

Finally, I got stubborn and a pen. And I started writing things that I found out down. I got organized. It was go time. In my head, I figured that I am the kind of person that makes it work. I am not going to be selling these, they just have to work for us. Here's what happened:

  1. Pick type of diaper. I had seen Dani use Pocket Diapers and Covers with Prefolds. So that's what I was planning on doing. They looked easy enough. And apparently the other types of diapers take forever to dry. She sold me. I'm making a decision. Decision made. (+10 if you can name the reference.)

  2. All of the patterns that are off by minuscule measurements? Just pick one! The only things that really mattered to me was that it could be used for both pocket diapers and covers and that it was a 'one-size' pattern, meaning it would fit my boys from newborn to potty trained. I ended up using this one. [Not an affiliate link. I just like the pattern.]

  3. Figure out how many you need, bare minimum. For my two boys, I needed 16 pockets and 6 covers, and I was committing to laundry every evening.

  4. Figure out fabric. I knew I wanted cute diapers, and I wanted them cheap. My pocket diapers are made up of 3 layers, inner, outer, and hidden PUL. Inners are made of 'stay dry' fabrics, so they help keep your baby's bum dry. I used navy blue and dark brown suedecloth and white knit for my inners. PUL is poly-urethane laminate. And I searched discount PUL and found off-white PUL for $4.99 a yard. This is where I found it, but it was on clearance so the price is a little higher. Either way, it sure beats $15.99 at Jo-Anns. [And the women in my cloth diaper sewing group sure have issues with Jo-Anns PUL quality...] I ordered 9 yards, enough to make my 22 diapers and a wet bag. They sent me probably double that, because I did my measurements to scale in a photoshop doc and laid out my diaper shapes on the fabric and I have a mondo roll left. Maybe I'll give some away in a giveaway? thoughts? Anyhow, the outers, if you do hidden PUL can be made out of whatever you'd like. I bought cotton because it has the cutest prints. For a date, Cam took me up to a specialty fabric shop in this cute little place. He gave me a hard time about needed cute diapers, but before I had gone down the first aisle, he had 4 picked out. So I made some pirate diapers. [We bought a fat quarter of each fabric, OR 1/2 yard if we wanted two of the same. Don't just buy a 1/4 yard though! It will be too skinny to cut out the diaper shape.] I like when Cam's encouraging. Covers are made of 2 layers of PUL, but I didn't want 6 off-white covers so I bought 6 pieces of PUL in little packs from Jo-Anns with a 50% off coupon. They work like a dream and I don't know what my friends in the sewing group are talking about. Maybe they got a bad batch?

  5. Figuring out how to actually sew the diapers was another story. I finally found this video tutorial and it cleared everything right up. Bless this woman.

  6. I joined a co-op group on babycenter as well to score a good deal on snaps. I know you can make diapers with velcro, but people say they don't last as long, and that once your baby gets older he will be able to take them off. I don't want that. ha. So snaps were it for me. Through the co-op I was able to get 600 snaps for about $20. It's worth figuring out. I used another coupon to buy snap pliers from Jo-Anns. They work great. Cost me about $12. Because I went through a co-op though, it was going to take quite a while for them to get to me, and I didn't want to wait to start sewing the diapers until they arrived because I knew they wouldn't be done in time. So I sewed everything and added the snaps last. I asked around to see if it would be possible, and no one saw any problems with it.

When it came down to actually making the diapers, my mother, Cameron & I cut the pieces out over the Christmas holiday. It took a long time. I hate cutting things out and I couldn't hunch over the table with my belly, so it was really great to have such willing helpers. We traced the pattern piece with fabric markers and then could sit on the couch cutting away during a movie. And then the pieces sat in a bag in my living room. When I finally got the guts up to actually try to make one, I stared at the pieces for an hour and then took a nap. It's intimidating!

The next day, I was bound and determined to make one diaper. And it was so not bad. Figuring out how to make the pocket opening lay flat was the toughest part. But once the elastic around the back and legs ruffled up I was just beside myself. It took about an hour to make that first one, but then I was in business. The rest took about 35 minutes each to sew. I cranked out one after the other. And then I had a cute little stack. Once my snaps came in, I could sit on the couch and put them on the diapers. The snaps took for.e.ver to get on, but I wasn't sitting at the sewing table so it was alright. I would watch Cake Boss on netflix and just snap away. I would snap each diaper down to its very smallest size and put it in a pile for Cameron to admire when he came home.

It was a big job, but most places say to count on paying $400-500 for a cloth diaper stash. Mine [for the actual cloth diapers...not inserts] cost $120. I say that's worth it. And they're so much cuter!


  1. Love this post, I love how you and Cameron area always figuring out how to do things on your own and in a "cheaper" fashion.

    Someday when I have kids of my own I want to do this. Thanks for the first part, can't wait to see the second part and how you like them.

    I was suprised how easy and neat you changed Gray when I last saw you.

  2. I love that you posted this. I plan to do this when I have babies, and I am mentally bookmarking you as my reference :)

  3. [...] Cloth Diapering Twins: Part 1 {The Making Of} – 1 freebie(s)? [...]

  4. Love this! Please keep posting more about the topic! I plan on starting to make cloth diapers soon. I'm really scared to get started but thanks for doing all the dirty work and supplying us with the links and products that you used! I only have one question, what are the covers? you said that you bought special PUL for those, but I'm just not sure what they are! (Sorry, I'm sure it's a dumb question!! I am just totally clueless!)

  5. I copied your idea and I blogged about how I diaper my twins, with disposables! I am in such awe of you and your awesomeness. The fact that not only you clothe diaper but that you sewed your own, you are seriously skilled.

  6. [...] Cloth Diapering Twins Part 2: Inserts 11.01.12 See the first post in this series here. [...]

  7. Thank you! I am feeling the apprehension about starting to sew cloth diapers... I have not used a sewing machine in maybe 15 years. And I'm not crafty. Your post really lays it out and gives me some motivation to at least try. If you read this, I have a question. I'm worried about making the diapers before my twins get here. what if I do all this and the diapers don't even fit them! I know I won't have time after they arrive, but it almost doesn't seem worth it. (Maybe I'm making excuses)

  8. Starr! You're very welcome. And I get the apprehension about starting...It's enough to make you cry. And eat ice cream. I read all over message boards about how you have to pick the "right" pattern for your baby and I kept thinking "There is NO WAY I am sewing these AFTER my boys get here." So I picked one and went with it. And seriously, I don't know what all the fuss was about. As a twin mama, I figured I would just make things work. And we do. The diapers fit great though. And after I looked at a bunch of different free patterns and purchased patterns, they are all VERY similar. Only a little variance in the snap placement or width/length of the diapers. I would say just go for it! Because once they exist, it's not like you're going to say "Welp, nope. This diaper is off by a 1/4 inch. It's no good."