Today I want to share with you how I made Organic Bamboo Cloth Diaper Inserts for around $2.00 per insert. I was hooked on cloth diapering but the cost of the inserts floored me. Once you have a diaper cover you need something to stuff in it to absorb all that pee. If you are like me I didn’t feel that spending up to $12.00 for an insert (for a ‘name brand’ bamboo 3 layer insert) was in my budget. Even if you aren’t looking to buy organic bamboo and opt for the cheaper microfibre fabrics, it can still cost you $5.00 for an insert, still not in my budget. So I figured I could make some, true homesteader style!
While we were preparing for A’s arrival we decided that we would try cloth diapers, both for the economical benefit and environmental. We have been fortunate enough to build our cloth diaper stash without spending a fortune; thanks to friends, family and smart shopping. While A was just tiny (as tiny as a 9.1 ounce baby can be!) we experimented with different types of diapers, and settled on the pocket style. We like these because they are fast drying and when pre-stuffed are simple and quick to use. I will be doing another post on the different types of diapers we use and why another day.
To begin, I don’t sew. I don’t know how to sew. This tutorial is made with zero knowledge of even the basic concepts of sewing. It was a trial and error project 🙂 the results aren’t pretty but are very functional.
I borrowed my sisters sewing machine, which was gifted to her by our Oma (our grandmother, who is a wonderful seamstress) It’s old, but it works and was free to use.
I ordered my fabric online from Simplifi Fabric – they have an excellent selection of organic fabrics and great customer service. They were having a special on pre-cut fabrics for diaper making. 100% organic bamboo/cotton for $1.75 (US) per 18″ x 20″ cut.
I ordered 5 pieces of Bamboo French Terry, 5 pieces of Bamboo Charcoal Fleece and 5 pieces of Bamboo Cotton Fleece (all organic).
Step 1 – Pre-wash all fabric, it will shrink.
I started by using two inserts that I already had as templates, one booster and one flat. Both of these inserts fit well in my style of pocket diapers.
Step 2 – Pin the template on the fabric so it doesn’t move, cut out using sharp scissors. Remove the pins and repeat until you have all of the pieces cut out.
I decided to make multi-layered inserts to increase absorbency. Remember the thicker the insert the longer it takes to dry. I like two layered flats the best, you can fold into thirds and have a six layered insert that dries fairly quickly.
I also made layered booster style inserts, each piece of fabric was big enough to cut one flat and one booster.
Step 3 – Pin the pieces you are going to sew together. Tip, put the pins in the same direction to avoid poking yourself – yes, I learned the hard way. 🙂 When putting two layers of fleece together I made sure one side was smooth and the other side was fleece (see above picture). For the knit fabric I put two pieces together with the looped sides in, so both outer sides were smooth.
Now it’s time to sew!
If you are able I recommend practicing on your sewing machine to get a feel for it, it will save you time and frustration. Unless you already know how to sew, then jump right in.
Step 4 – Leave the pins in and straight stitch around the inside of the insert, about 1/2 an inch in. This will hold the layers together so you can take out the pins and zig zag the outside.
These are the setting on my machine.
Straight stitching the inside.
Step 5 – Remove the pins and Zig Zag stitch the outside. Remember to let the stitch hang over the edge of the fabric, this will stop the fabric from fraying.
Zig Zag Stitching
If you have access to a serger (and know how to use it) I would recommend serging the outside, it will last longer and have a nicer finish. I didn’t have access to a serger so I did a wide zig zag stitch.
I went around the outside twice with the zig zag stitch for more durability.
And that’s it!
Finished booster insert in a pocket diaper.
Finished flat insert folded into thirds.
All together I was able to make 11 inserts of varying layers and 4 mama cloths (made with the scraps), not bad for $26.00. I have been using these regularly in A’s diapers and they are holding up well with all the washing. You could use old cotton t-shirts or blankets to make inserts for an even cheaper option.
Please comment with any tips or suggestions, I’d love to learn from your experiences!
Happy sewing 🙂