Friday, September 9, 2011

Re-Waterproofing Cloth Diapers

Recently I got a huge windfall. My cousin, who cloth diapers her two children, gave me a bunch of pocket diapers that had lost their waterproofing but were otherwise in great condition, figuring that I could use them for parts. After staring at them for a week or two, dreading tearing apart otherwise perfectly fine cloth diapers, inspiration hit: I was going to re-waterproof them by sewing in new waterproof fabric (aka PUL) on the interior of the diaper.

I grabbed the massive amount of PUL fabric that I’d bought (check out Celtic Cloths for a great explanation of the type of PUL to purchase - trust me, don’t get the other stuff) and set to work.

Just to be clear: These are instructions for pocket diapers, not all-in-ones. I still haven’t figured out how to do it for the AIOs… when I do I’ll let you know.

Materials: Cardboard, Marker or Pen, PUL (1ml or 2ml), Sewing Machine, Thread, Scissors, LOTS OF PINS

First: Make a template. I suggest using sturdy cardboard. (I used a pizza box because I'm classy like that.) Take the diaper and trace it on the cardboard, making sure to stretch out the elastic so you have an accurate size for the fabric. There is no need to adjust for a seam allowance, just trace the diaper exactly on the cardboard.

Second: Trace and cut the PUL. Using your template, place it on the PUL and trace. Cut out your PUL. Again, there is no need to adjust for a seam allowance, just trace exactly. Keep in mind the interior of the diaper when tracing the PUL – for example, I did not cut out the tab areas since the interior of the diaper has a seam there and the tabs don’t need to be waterproof.
notice the lack of tabs on top

Third: Insert the PUL and pin. Insert the PUL into the pocket of the diaper and pin it in place around the edges, stretching the elastic and making sure to get the PUL right up to the interior seam, all the way around the interior of the diaper. It’s very important to get the PUL right up to the interior seam to ensure that there are as few leaks as possible. Remember – any spaces between the PUL and the interior seam are potential leak areas.

Fourth: Sew. Put your sewing machine on a wide and long zigzag stitch. (4, 4 worked for me) Carefully sew around the edges of the diaper, making sure that you are sewing the PUL. Stretch the elastic areas as you sew. Remember to backstitch at the start and end of your zigzag seam. After you have sewn and removed the pins, double check that you sewed all of the PUL down by either turning the diaper inside out or by inserting your hand in the diaper and running your fingers along the inside of the seam you just made.  Trim your thread ends.

That should do it! I’ve found that was all I needed to re-waterproof the diapers. I still make sure to change the diapers often like I would with any cloth diaper, and I haven’t had any leaking issues (beyond the normal Max-pees-like-a-mighty-waterfall thing).

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