Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Dipes and Wipes

I am convinced that, were aggravating messes actually physically painful, Karel would be nominated for sainthood for living with me.  I'm not very messy...ok, maybe I am, but these days I'm a lot better about keeping things clean. Mostly for his sake, but also for my own--ever since I discovered I'm allergic to Noodle, daily vaccuuming of the apartment is a must, and is much easier if things are put away regularly.  The pregnancy has dampened my allergies, but on the other hand one doesn't get into regular habits for two years to lose them overnight.

That being said, there are some things that don't lend themselves to being put away regularly, and one such thing is a long, ongoing sewing project:  I'm making cloth diapers for our Little It--we also have a goodly stash of the traditional sheet kinds of diapers, that you can fold, and I plan on buying a few commercially available cloth ones off Amazon this month in a shopping spree of Little It things.  Babies don't need that much, but what they need are things we don't have.

Why cloth?  Well, for starters, they're cheap--okay, they seem expensive at first, costing (in US terms) around $20 each if you buy them.  It's a lot cheaper to make them (around €6 in materials, in my estimation), but of course you'd have to have the time to cut and sew.  On the other hand, you "only" need around 20 of them, and it sure beats the pants off of buying two or three packages of disposables a month for two years (to say nothing of the extra trash bill--and the stench of poo if you only have trash removal once a week, like we do).  Even with the extra cost of extra laundry, the difference between cloth and disposables is vast enough to make even the most profligate Republican consider doing a few extra loads of laundry.  And if you have more than one child, the savings are even better.  And while I'm not a member of the tree-hugging elite, I don't think anybody can honestly say that they don't feel a little guilty about tossing all those diapers, especially if it's only been 5 minutes since the last changing.    

These are a somewhat-modified version of the pattern gotten here.  Modified, in the sense that rather than 9 layers of flannel or God-knows-how-many layers of other absorbent stuff, I cut up a microfiber towel and used that for the soaker pad.  Modified, too, in the sense that the pattern is for a serged edge rather than the traditional take-two-pieces-sew-together-and flip--neither of my machines does a serge stitch, so it was just going to have to be a "normal" sewing project.  It takes a surprisingly long time to make these, not because the sewing is difficult (it's not--promise!), but because cutting them in a way that makes the most efficient use of your fabric is actually quite difficult.  If you don't care about keeping your fabric costs down, then it becomes a lot easier, but with flannel running at €11/meter (it's 240 cm wide), you'll understand why I've been a bit stingy (comparison:  none of the curtains in our window cost more than €2 per meter).  Then, too, you have the cute prints for the diaper shells--technically this is optional, and I could have shelled out a lot less than €5/meter, but it's for a baby, and if there was ever an excuse to splurge on the cute stuff, this would have been it.  That being said, I estimate a total cost for 20+ diapers to be around €125, including the elastic and the thread but not including the sewing machine, which was a gift.  I don't know if they will last the full 6-18 months that they're supposed to, but I am quite pleased with how they turned out--the flannel lining the inside is soft, and while I was afraid that three layers of microfiber wouldn't be enough, I'm now convinced that it's overkill.  Plus sewing elastic isn't as hard as I was afraid it was going to be.

You'll notice that I don't have any way of fastening the diapers.  This is not because I'm a flake and forgot.  It's because I don't trust Velcro (what the pattern recommends) to hold up to lots of washes in hot water, and I'm too lazy to painstakingly put in snaps.  One of the things we're going to order off Amazon this month are Snappis, which you can use on all kinds of cloth diapers to hold them securely in place.  We also have some of the traditional ginormous safety pins as a backup, but of course I'd rather not risk stabbing the Little It.

It is a lot of work to make dipes and wipes--less work to make the wipes, of course, but they ain't gonna hem themselves--and I'm not sure if I'd be doing it if I had a regular job.  But it is a lot of fun to turn out things that are so damn cute, and it does make the coming baby seem a lot more present.    


  1. Oh my goodness, great job. I am waaay too lazy to sew a million diapers. I've tried cloth diapers and I just can't get the hang of it, they look so cute on my baby but they are always leaking (maybe he just pees a lot?). I have no clue, but every nap, every time we went anywhere, they leaked. Yours look adorable :)

  2. Hehe, irony was that the day after I posted this, my sewing machine went down and I had to take it in for repairs. I tried one out under the sink and it sucked up the water like a boss, so fingers crossed!

    And thanks! Karel was also relieved to see the mess getting smaller, with uber-cute results.

  3. I do not know how to sew :/ I pressed the husband on teaching me how to so that I can sew cloth diapers for my little one. He said it will only take about 20 minutes for him to show all the basics of sewing, and for that, I am hopeful. Two weeks ago we bought a how-to book on how to make cloth diapers. Using cloth diapers is economical and environment-friendly.