Sewing your own cloth nappies can be easy and fun with just a little preparation. These directions are for making a simple fitted nappy with hook and loop closure. ; What you will need for each nappy
;2-3m of fabric, depending on the size of your pattern
Cardboard or paper to make your pattern
Pen or sewing chalk to draw the pattern and then trace it on to the fabric
Pins (to hold fabric together when its time to sew)
A sewing machine
Thread – I prefer 100% cotton
Elastic – I prefer 6mm elastic
Hook and loop – you will use 3 times more loop (the soft type) than hook (the firmer type)
Step 1 – The pattern ;There are several places on the internet to download and print a free pattern which can be adjusted to your preferred size. Another option is to draw one of your own or trace around a nappy you already own (as long as you don’t intend to use the pattern for profit). For the booster draw a rectangle that will fit into your nappy (see picture). I like to make mine about 1 – 1.5 cm from the legs and then about 2cm from the back. ;
Step 2 – Choosing your fabric ;There are many options when it comes to fabric but the easiest, cheapest and most readily available is flannelette. It comes in a range of colours and patterns and usually retails for around $2 – $4 at the local fabric store. Old flannelette sheets can also be used. Other popular nappy fabrics are hemp, chenille, jersey, burley knit terry – basically anything with a high percentage of cotton, but 100% cotton fabrics are the best. ;Some fabrics have a tendency to shrink and darker colours may run in the wash. For these reasons I always recommend pre-washing the fabric before you start sewing. ;
Step 3 – Deciding on the layers ;These instructions are for a nappy with 10 layers of flannelette. You will need 4 layers of body (the large pieces) and 6 for the booster (the rectangle pieces). Once you know how to make a nappy don’t be afraid to experiment with different fabrics and layers. ;
Step 4 – Time to cut it all outLay out your fabric on a dry, flat surface and trace around your pattern. Then remove the pattern from the fabric and start cutting. With normal scissors you can cut 2-3 layers at a time but if you have a rotary cutter (like a blade wheel) you can cut all the body pieces and then the booster pieces out at the same time.
Step 5 – Time to start sewing Take all your booster pieces and pin the layers together.
- Set your sewing machine to do a straight stitch and sew around the edge of the booster about 1cm from the edge.
- Take one of the body pieces (one that you want on the outside) of the nappy and place it right side down.
- Place the booster in the centre of this body piece and pin it in place. If possible, set your machine to a double or triple straight stitch and sew around the booster this time right beside the previous stitches. This will secure the booster to the body. Now turn the body piece over so it is right side up.
- Take the other outside body piece and place the right sides together (so they will be facing out when you turn the nappy the right way after sewing).
- Lay the remaining body pieces on top and pin these 4 layers right around the outside.
- Keep the machine at the same setting and start sewing from the right corner of the top of the nappy (the top is the shorter side that will be what sits below your baby’s belly button).
- Sew right around the nappy about 1cm from the edge until you reach the left top corner of the nappy.
- This should leave the top section open.
- Now take the elastic and stretch it along the leg.
- Mark on the elastic where to cut and cut 3 pieces this size.
- Using single straight or zigzag stitch, sew the elastic (stretched) along both legs and also in the centre of the back (the long side).
- When you let go of the material it should bunch up and give the nappy some shape.
- Turn the nappy so the right side is facing out now. At the open end tuck in the material about 1-2cm and pin together.
- Now cut a piece of loop to fit along the top of the nappy. With a straight stitch sew it in place starting along the top. This will also close up the opening. Be careful to take the pins out during this step.
- Now cut small squares of hook and loop to fit on the tabs – 2 of the hook and 2 of the loop.
- Sew them (hook closest to the edge) to the tabs on the inside if the nappy using the same stitch as you did before.
CONGRATULATIONS. You have now finished your nappy. Trim off all the excess thread and then sit back and admire.