About Me

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My tremendously supportive husband & I have 3 wonderful children, 1 dog, 12 laying hens, 2 dairy goats, 3 bee hives, and a 2000 sq foot vegetable garden on a small 1/4 acre lot in the city. In the center of it all is our small 1,000 sq foot house purchased in 2008 as a foreclosure that we fully renovated to host our growing family, home school adventures, and small home business (CozyLeaf.com). We have a desire to learn a path to self sufficiency finding ways to be good stewards of the resources God has given us. We want to learn to live with less as we laydown roots to our little homestead.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Cloth Diapers

When I was about to have my first child I realized that diapers were an obvious necessity and were VERY expensive. I purchased a few cloth diapers but at the time couldnt afford to purchase anymore and realized I needed more than just a few cloth diapers to do "full time cloth". An amazingly talented friend of mine helped me come up with a pattern so I could make my own!
For those of you completely overwhelmed at the idea of sewing your own cloth diapers I would like to add...I had never sewn a project before in my life, never used a pattern, never owned a sewing machine - duct tape was my idea of "fixing things". So with the encouragement of my friend I decided to give it a try. Now there have been dozens of girls who have been able to save money using this pattern. I continue to have more people wanting to borrow the pattern so now Ive decided to post it online so anyone can print it off and use it for free!

There are sooo many options for cloth. A Couple issues Diapers, Inserts, Wipes, Cost Premade and Homemade, Bags, Scent control, Leak control, Washing, Disposable!

DIAPER: First issue: I realized I didnt want pins (ouch!) and I realized I didnt want velcro (nasty and ratty after too many washes) so I looked for snaps. Second issue: I realized I didnt want AIO (All in One) meaning the diaper is all one piece, the soaker and the "plastic pants". I didnt want this because they get so bulky and have so many layers to be enough cloth to soak up the "stuff" that I just dont trust it to get clean enough, so more of a sanitary issue. And also it is alot less drying time if they can seperate. But I also realized I didnt want to put on a cloth diaper and then have to put on "plastic pants" over it to protect from leakage! They just dont sit still that long! This led me to pocket diapers. There is an opening in the back where you can stuff the insert in and you can take it out for cleaning. Making it harder for bacteria to stick around. With these factors in mind, I found "Fuzzi Bunz" (www.fuzzibunzworld.com) They have an outside layer of waterproof material called PUL (Polyurithane Laminate) and an inside layer of microfleece (extremely soft and absorbant and easy to clean) and they fasten with snaps (several different levels for baby growth) and they are a pocket diaper. So I bought the small size. I loved them.

INSERTS: (What you stuff inside the pocket to soak up the "stuff") They make them out of all sorts of materials, the basic one that you get with the basic package is MicroTerry. Basically just a really absorbant bath towel material. I found what I like the best is Hemp French Terry (I had to make these myself but of course cheaper that way). Hemp because it is "supposably" antibacterial...to a certain extent and French terry because it is highly absorbant. I sewed them together in two layers and them fold them over to be 6 layers thick. (This way when I wash them, they unfold to be cleaner and dry much faster). Anyway! More Cost efficient is just sewing up some old towels or some cheep terry fabric. Anything that can absorb will work GREAT!
WIPES: I tried cloth wipes and they just never really worked for me. But when they are newborn and the diaper contents really isnt that "solid" cloth wipes work alright. I cut up my own squares of microfleece and mixed them in a wipes solution (water, baby oil, soap, tea tree oil).

$$$COST TO PURCHASE THEM PREMADE: First off the Cost of various items will constantly change, more than likely going up so it is hard to give a definate price depending upon what your materials cost. Ok when I first bought them (2006) I only bought a package of 6 because it is quite an investment and I wanted to be sure I would use them a six pack was right under $100. They say you need about 18 for full time diapering (just depending on how often you want to wash them)18 pack is $297 (and this is only for one size) you will need 3 different sizes to get you through to potty training S, M , L. So you are looking at around $1,000 to Purchase them premade. That is for 18 of each size and you may want more depending on how often you want to do laundry, when I made them I made about 25 medium size diapers so I wont have to do laundry as often (but it is cheaper to make them) and since I had 2 children in diapers at the same time. And this is for basic solid colors, no cute prints (those are about $20 each purchased premade) So you could easily spend up to $1500 to purchase premade, but that just depends on what you want! Ok, there is the money speal. It is alot up front, but I promise it will save you money in the end and will be better for your child! The nice thing about it is that you could ask for this as a gift and then you may get it partially paid for for you. They say fuzzi bunz will last up to 4 kids.Ok a quick price comparison (I budget everything and I am a ridiculous tightwad so I might as well share this part also). A kid will go through 6-8 diapers a day (so lets say 7 average). 7 per day times 2 years (very optimistic age for potty training but...) 730 days = 5110 diapers (average). Sams Club disposable diapers (which are the cheapest) $27.88 for 156-200 diapers (depending on the size). Ok 178 diapers average per package and you are looking at buying about 5110 diapers over 2 years so that is about 29 packages * $28 = $812. And this is only for one child and you will probably not have him/her completely potty trained by age 2 and this is budgeting on the cheapest diapers. Both my kids werent potty trained completely until the age of 3 so that would have cost me EVEN more! However, with cloth diapers you also have to wash and dry them and I dont exactly know how to figure that cost. One website I found www.punkinbutt.com says "Total detergent, energy, and water for 30 months = $230 or less than $8 per month"

$$$HOMEMADE POCKET DIAPERS: Under $6 each to make Pocket Cloth Diapers (you can do it even cheaper too with a few tricks and finding discount fabrics!!). To save even more money. What is needed... PUL material (available online) I have found cute pattern material and great solid colors at www.diapershop.com. There is 1mil and 2mil...just the thickness (1mil for everyday use and 2mil for nightime). I also got some material off ebay. White Pul 60" yard. Then you need microfleece also from diapershop or you can sometimes find it on sale at your local fabric store. You will need 1 yard of Pul and 1 yard of microfleece to make 4-8 diapers (depending on the size). Inserts: www.thesnapstore.com - Hemp French Terry 5 yds (makes about 18-20 inserts) or you can find really cheep terry cloth that works great. Even better are cheap microfiber terry towels that you dont even have to sew up, you can just fold and put them int he diaper!!! I found them cheapest at Sams club, but I dont know what you guys have there. You can probably get them online from Sams. OR even better...Just use old towels!! Anything that will absorb will work GREAT!

BAGS: You dont need these, but they are convenient. When you travel, you need something to take the diaper home in without a dirty diaper just laying in the diaper bag. They are made out of the PUL material and have a little piece of terry sewn inside for some odor control. They come with elastic and a snap on top to help contain the diaper. They have travel size (3-5 diapers) and pail size (alot of diapers). These can all be thrown in the wash along with the diapers. More info on these at fuzzibunzworld.com under "Diaper Pails and Totes". $10-$20 each. I have several small and 1 large. You can also put the dirty diapers into a ziplock bag and then throw the bag away. I do this sometimes when the travel bags are dirty or if I forget one (usually you can find either an old Dillons plastic sack or something if you are out without a bag) I keep a couple zip lock baggies in the car just in case. One poopy diaper can stink up the car REALLY fast!

SCENT CONTROL: Several things I have found very effective are 1: Tea tree oil (very potent only a few drops needed per load) available online www.iherb.com for $12 (1 bottle will probably last you through your entire diapering). 2: Dryer sheets. 3: Baking soda

LEAK CONTROL: Every once in a while your diapers may start to loose their waterproofness. You can buy DWR (Durable Water Resistant) Spray and spray down the outside of the PUL, then throw them in the dryer to set it in and it will restore the leak control. This will cost you anywhere from $6-$20 an application (for about 25 diapers) depending on where you buy it from. In 1 year of diapering I have only had to do this 2 times, so not a huge expense (unless you buy the most expensive DWR and do it all the time!) I bought the $6 can from Gander Mountain.

WASHING: (This is usually the defining line in doing cloth) With a newborn you dont really need a prewash, just a regular cycle in the washing machine. However, when there is more contents and depending on how long it has been since you have washed... Now when my kids got older and were eating solid food Id take off the Pocket diaper, give it a quick dunk in the toilet and if it has "contents" in it, I make sure to get it all off in the toilet. I'll be honest have some antibacterial hand soap close by, your hands will get dirty. You can buy diaper sprayers at fuzzibunzworld.com for around $35. but you may just end up spraying contents all over. What I do once it is pretty clean is pull out the insert and put it in a plastic pail that I have right next to the toilet. At the end of the day I empty that pail into the larger pail with PUL bag that I have in the garage next to the washing machine. Wash time...I empty all the diapers into the wash and do a quick hot prewash with some antibacterial dish soap (not suggested by many, but it works for me and it is cheaper - hasnt hurt my diapers yet) Once that is done I just run it through a regualr wash with regular detergent (I dont buy the special the detergent and it hasnt hurt my diapers).

SNAPS (or you can use velcro): www.thesnapstore.com 36 pieces per diaper about $.30 per diaper but without a snap press it makes it hard. Elastic: just cheap stuff from walmart 3/8in. Thread: just cheap stuff from walmart. For both elastic and thread, budget about $5-10 for each size. Bags: I just use leftover PUL material to make a couple bags and sew in a piece of old wash cloth inside for odor control. If money is a concern, you could even have some family members buy you gift certificates to various websites such as www.diapershop.com and then you wouldnt even have to pay for material. For a quick price idea. I just got 6 yds of PUL (basic solid color 7.95/yd = 47.70) and 6 yds of microfleece (8.95/yd = 53.70). I already had elastic, thread, and snaps (about $20 worth). I cut out from this material 30 diapes. So for 30 diapers it was about $120. Then the hemp french terry about 10 yds and so that is $67 for inserts - so for about $190 you have 30 large diapers and inserts (fuzzi bunz would be a 12 pack and an 18 pack for over $500) if you figure 3 different sizes at this price, that is quite a large savings. This is the price breakdown for the Large size, you can get more mediums and smalls out of each yard so those are even cheaper! BUT now Fuzzibunz has the One Size diaper which is $19 per diaper, Im not sure how they work exactly but it would be something to look into.

Ok I will post the step by step photo instructions and pattern next.


  1. Abby, you are AMAZING! I read ALL of this even though we're not doing cloth because it was really, really interesting...plus I love your obsessiveness :) I want to see goat pictures, too!

  2. Hi Abby! My mom just made all the pocket diapers for our twins with your pattern - THANKS! One question: Do you line dry them or put them in the dryer? Does a dryer damage the PUL fabric?

  3. Nicole, I put all mine in the dryer! Ive heard some people say that they prefer to line dry theirs, but I used mine through 2 children so far and have had no problems with drying them. I also found that the heat from the dryer helped to "set" the Pul and help with leaking issues :)