Saturday, January 31, 2009


Since I had a baby I have become even more of a eco nut (although I have been a local crackpot for a while). I really enjoy finding a re-use for something or re-purposing something else.

My classic example is using vegetable containers for drawer organisers.

Crafters has a whole forum dedicated to this topic -

And what about this list of recycled crafts from craft bits? I love these projects
* denim flower (pictured)
* funky glass bottles which are great vases (I don't particularly like this example, but minus the gold paint will be a lot cooler)
* baby water bottle rattle (I always have way too many of these bottles floating around)

My cloth nappy experiences

I made 6 cloth nappies last week and have been trying them out. In conclusion, the next batch will probably not be aio... I definitely prefer the separates, it's really not that much extra work to change and I think there will be less moisture leaking onto the outside through the leg holes. Sewing the soaker pad in is the best option - easier and one less part.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Making my own cloth nappies

The cloth nappy adventure continues ...

The turning point came when I searched on Etsy for cloth nappies. Unfortunately they weren't any cheaper, but now I really knew I could make my own.

When I spent a little more time searching I came across a pattern for fitted nappies.

Great stuff. I now just had to make some choices about what fabric to use. Bamboo would have been first prize, but I didn't know how to get it aside from ordering online. Then I had to decide whether to make AIO or buy some waterproofs. I decided to try out an AIO and managed to find something called 'incontinence fabric' (used for making matress protectors) at the market - I was looking for PUL, but this was the closest I could get. Most importantly it is washable in high temperatures and is also breathable.

Cutting out the pieces is what took me the longest - the soaker pad took quite a number of layers. In total,
- 6 x soaker pad out of cloth nappy fabric
- 2 x soaker pad out of cotton quilters batting
- 1 x nappy out of cute penquins flannel
- 1 x nappy out of waterproof fabric
- velcro strips as explained in the pattern (4cm and 19cm)
- elastic, much shorter than in the pattern (12 cm for the back & 11 for the leg). I think my elastic needed to be much tighter because my nappy had to be waterproof and had to stop moisture leaking out the leg hole.

The construction was also fairly pedestrian - nothing complicated at all. I followed the instructions on the pattern, except I tried to be a little creative with the soaker pad.

- pin and sew velcro and velcro pocket covers (for washing to protect fabric from the hook side of the velcro because it must be washed undone) onto outside and inside nappy panels

- pin and sew elastic onto inside nappy panel. make soaker pad

The most important piece of the puzzle is the soaker pad. I tried a creative option of keeping it separate. This, I thought, could improve drying times and mean it could be possible to use a dryer. An advantage I didn't think of was that the soaker pads could be re-used in the bigger sized nappies. If you decide to go with this option, remember to give yourself extra seam allowance.

To make the pad, stack in a sandwich with 2 pieces of cloth then 1 piece of cotton padding and so on. If you are going to make it separate I suggest sew inside out as a tube - take two of the top layers and turn face down. sew down the long edges and then turn inside out so the two layers are now the right way). Finally serge the top and bottom edges (with an overlocker). If you make as the pattern says, cut one piece larger than the rest, serge the edges (with an overlocker), then place the soaker pad sandwich on the right side of the inner panel with the larger piece on top. Sew around the edges.

- sew inner and outer together and then serge.

- sew over the elastics with a zig zag stitch through the outside panel.

Cloth nappies, going eco

When I had my baby I wanted to go eco friendly, so I decided to use cloth nappies. Researching the choices was mind boggling. Not only are there so many brands, but there are at least 3 different types (4 if you count the towelling nappies we all grew up in).

First there are prefolds (like Bambino Mio) which have a traditional-like cloth pre-folded nappy insert. The inserts require folding into thirds and fit into the bottom of special waterproof outers. These are great because you don't have to change the outers at every nappy change and the inners can be tumble dried. The disadvantage (which I found) was that there were lots of leaks (especially poo into the waterproofs) which is caused, I read elsewhere, because the cloth part does not go around the legs.

Then there are all in ones (AIO) which are shaped very much like disposables with cloth inside and waterproof fabric on the outside (like Bumgenius). The advantage of these nappies is that there is only one piece, but the disadvantage is that you can't tumble dry them because that shortens the life of the waterproofing.

Finally, there are the fitted nappies which require separate waterproof pants (like Bamboozle). These have the best of both worlds, except require two steps to put on.

In the confusing haze of cloth nappies I chose Bambino Mio, spending around 100 euros before my babe was 3 months old. She grew fast and soon outgrew newborn size (up to 5kgs) which required me to go out and buy more size small waterproof outers. Luckily I could use the cloth prefolds until she was 7kg, but by the time we got there I was disillusioned. The only thing that kept me going was that I read babies in cloth nappies are toilet trained quicker. I wanted to keep using cloth nappies but I didn't think it was worth spending so much money on them - it didn't look like a complicated sewing project, if only I had a pattern. A quick google later and I had some inspiration. More in my next post...

If you are interested in my opinion on the best option to buy, I would say choose either the aoi or fitted nappies, preferably bamboo fabric, and definitely one size fits all.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ngi Dala (I create)

How cute is this Nelson Mandela bag?

I sell a similar Madiba shwe shwe fabric (but in blue) in my Etsy store.

Here is the bags for nelson blog post from my friend 'b'

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My first post

So I have been waiting a few days to get my hands on the computer so I can post about the sewing projects I have been beavering away at. It's been so much fun to have some spare time with B around to help out with the baby C. That of course means more time for me to sew.

I have borrowed H's old Elna SU. I love the mechanical, solid sound it makes when it sews (much more satisfying than my Elna 2004). But that's not the best thing about it. It has these things called Elna discs which you place in a flap at the top of the machine that allow for a wide selection of fancy stitches. Such as ducks, butterflies (together they make flowers), cross stitch, and many more.

This is what I have lined up. Stay tuned.
Fitted cloth nappies (with a free PDF pattern)
Strapless dress made with Shwe Shwe fabric panels
Quick and dirty quilt which I use as a play mat. Made from Shwe shwe.
My cute baby sheets.

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