I was the kind of person that had a clear idea of how I would parent and what type of mother I was going to be. I’m a planner, so naturally I had it all figured out. I thought that over 15-ish years of being a babysitter, I’d seen it all. I knew what worked and what didn’t. I swore I would never do “x,” “y,” or “z.” Yet here I am now, a mama to a 4 year old, 2 year old and another on the way and I cannot help but chuckle. If you are a parent, I have a feeling you probably get it too.
I could go into all the details of the changes in my plans that have occurred (both drastic and mundane) over the years, but really, who wants to hear all that. Let’s just say I’ve definitely detoured from plan A. Mostly for the better, some not so much. Don’t sweat the small stuff, right?
However, one thing that DOES relate to sewing is the change in my views on cloth diapers. I admit that I may have been one of those people that thought cloth diapering was strange. Crazy, even. I didn’t get it. At all. So I can completely understand where the hesitation/confusion/disgust from so many other people stems from. My husband thought I was crazy when I announced that I wanted to try cloth diapers 10 months into our new roles as parents. I pretty much threw that curveball at him out of the blue.
You see, my daughter had a bleeding diaper rash that, despite all efforts (creams, “air time,” I tried it all), didn’t want to heal. The tears, screaming and shaking with each diaper change broke my heart into a thousand pieces every single time. The memory still makes me shudder. So when a friend mentioned her kid never had a rash with cloth diapers and a few other mamas piped in with similar results, I was up for the challenge. Never mind that the rash probably only lasted 3-4 days in the whole grand scheme of things. That was 3-4 days of suffering that I was determined to avoid again, if at all possible.
I’ve now been cloth diapering for over 3 years and have tried so many different types. I have some wonderful WAHM (work at home mom) diapers and thought I’d like to try my hand at making a few. Just for fun. This required new fabrics to me… specifically PUL (polyurethane laminate). I swear someone got it wrong. PUL should be a 4 letter word that shouldn’t be spoken of. PUL and I just don’t seem to get along well. Yet it’s necessity in waterproofing cloth diapers is difficult to argue.
We tend to lean towards pocket diapers, which are essentially diapers that have a waterproof outer, a soft wicking inner, and an absorbent insert that is hidden in a pocket between the two layers. I had heard great reviews of Rocket Bottom patterns and found this pocket diaper pattern.
I ordered PUL and microfleece (for the inner layer) from Diaper Sewing Supplies. Since I’ve discovered that velcro on diapers drives me a little mad, I ordered snaps and a snap hand press from Kam Snaps, a well known snap supplier for those who make their own cloth diapers. I’ve actually used the snaps for several of the clothing items I’ve made for the girls and I’ve found it’s quicker and easier for me than buttons/button holes.
I figured this would be a super quick project. It probably is… for someone who has more experience than I do working with these materials. The PUL did not like to be sewn on my machine and kept sticking. I tried using my walking foot… nope. Still painful. It was definitely a “slow and steady wins the race” kind of project for me. Then, sewing the layers of micro fleece for the pocket opening tested my machine’s fortitude (as well as mine). Pretty sure I had to walk away for the day in the middle of that part.
I did gather a few pertinent tips beforehand. You must use 100% polyester thread and a ball point needle for the diaper to be waterproof, otherwise there would be leaking at the seams. Ain’t no one got time for that….
The snaps were tedious. Note to self: next time I pick snap colors, make sure I have enough of the desired color before I get started, off white looks deceptively white with indoor lighting, and try not to use the colors of one of your college rivals… oops. At least it was pastel green and off white??? These are the things I clearly don’t think of in advance.
Despite it all, the fit turned out pretty well, I thought. It’s the tiniest bit narrow through the crotch, but only in the sense that the insert (which is NOT made by me) is a tight squeeze. Best part of all, it functions well and I’ve had no issues with leaks! Mission accomplished.