Sunday, June 24, 2007

Diaper Your Own - Recycled wool sweater covers for cloth diapers

Sewing Skill: Medium - binding, stretch and sew, curved seams

Cost: under a buck if using old items, 2-3 dollars for picking up at thrift store


elastic - 1/4" for cover, 1/2 or 1" for pants
sewing machine
wool fabric, 100% is best, any variety, marino, lamb, etc, even 80% and up will work. Best candidates, medium weight sweaters, jackets, skirts.

Optional: fleece or FOE

Velcro hook and loop

You can use one old wool sweater to make 3 of the best, ovenight approved, breathable covers you own! These are to be used OVER cloth diapers, either fitteds or prefolds. Cut down on clothing consumption by reusing and recycling!!!

Well, its really one pair of longies, and 2 covers if you bind. One longie and one cover if you do a 2 layer turn and topstitch for a thin one :) Remember, wool breathes, and although you do have to hand wash it in cool (splash of baby wash), you have to wash it less often and is much healthier for your babe than plastic. Its also actually COOLER in summer than PUL. These homemade covers were our ABSOLUTE favorites. Washing is ..hand wash in cool...when they get stinky or poopy, and an occasional splash of lansinoh BF cream dissolved in hot water for softening and extra water repellancy. I am not EXACTLY sure how wool holds the water in and absorbs excess without stinking of pee, but it does and it works!

I am still in the process of uploading my pattern for a one layer cover without binding...unfinished, but if your wool is felted enough, the edge should not unravel. Please email me if you need me to send you this. Only for thick wool.

1)Wash sweater/clothing in warm for thick, hot for thin to shrink. Shrink until approximately sweatshirt thickness. If its a thin Marino, for example, it will still work, just wash it on HOT a few times, then make a turn and topstich 2 layer cover.

2) Lay out your sweater. Line up all seams. Use the instructions here to complete the pants. I recommend using your favorite, well fitting pair of pants as your guide.

3) Use your favorite cover pattern to cut 2 pieces out of the sweater body. see patterns page for lots of options (free printable ones)

If you have a thin sweater, you should use a 2 layer turn and topstitch pattern. For a thick sweater, you should do a single layer and bind. You can see my pattern page for instructions on turning an topstitching. The difference between a turn and topstitch pattern and a bound pattern is usually the 1/4" - 3/8" seam allowance included in the turn and topstitch one.

Also your cover should be slightly larger than your diaper to keep all edges and moisture in!

To make a single layer cover, you need to either bind with FOE, a whole new adventure, OR bind with wool strips cut from your fabric, or bind with fleece. Do not use cotton. You need to add the elastic in the legs and back and then bind OVER it..without catching it

I am going to add the pattern for a single layer with no binding, but it is just an added seam allowance where the elastic will go on a bound cover pattern.
I know these "instructions" are far from complete, but you can use the instructions included in each pattern to complete your covers. I hope to add a full tutorial soon. Please email me if you have problems or are confused.


Laura said...

Love your cover pattern! Thanks for sharing! I noticed you alsohave soft soled shoes for sale. Do you custom make them? Mydaughter is very tiny for herageand I have notfound any small enough. I would like a pair for summer to avoid sun burn on her toes. Email me at and let me know. I willsend whatever measurments you need.

Angele said...

Thanks for these instructions. best i've seen on the net! Now, i just need to find a 100% wool sweater from a thrift shop and i'm good to go! Fun!

Heidi said...

Where is the patterns page? I wanted to look at the patterns to find one to use for the wool covers, but I can't seem to find that page. Thanks!

Abby Green said...

if you created a pattern for the cover, would you mind emailing it to me?

beka said...

hey! please id love to try your patterns. were helping introduce cloth into some daycares here in chile and teaching the mums to make their own, old wool is so great as its low cost! i have a great jersey ready to go. cant wait to try on my own babes. thanks beka