Sew your own nappies

Sewing modern cloth nappies is becoming more popular as some brands of MCN are quite expensive, so if you have the time and your own machine – why not? I’ve ordered in the Jalie nappy pattern, and since adding it to the store there have been a few questions about them, so I thought I’d have a quick chat during kids sewing week about modern cloth nappies.

The why

Firstly, I’m not a raving hippie, and I am busy. Yet we still manage to use MCN’s with very little fuss. We’ve saved heaps of money already, even only using them 3 days a week. They’re in use when we’re out and about, but never overnight. We started using them as our weekly garbage bin was full of disposable nappies, and knowing it was all going to landfill was starting to frustrate me, not to mention the crazy cost of nappies. If you’re paying nearly 50 cents per nappy, it adds up really quickly. We’ve been using them since April, and our weekly shopping bill has greatly decreased.

Personally, I didn’t make my own, as I was skeptical about how well they work, and I was unsure what type to make as there is a giant range of styles to choose from. The ones shown above are from Greenbubs, and are the organic nappies at the very reasonable price of $120 for 10. That’s only 4 boxes of huggies nappies. If we decide to have another baby, I will be making some as they are very simple, and the only tricky part is sewing the elastic into the legs (oh and picking colours to cover those cute little bums)
The how

Oh its very simple. The nappy has a big thick insert, which is just layers of absorbent bamboo fabric sewn together, which you stuff into the middle of the nappy. I then use a nappy liner like this and put the nappy on.

At changing time, nappy comes off, the liner gets flushed (with any contents) down the toilet and the nappy goes into a pail dry. At the end of the day (or after two days if it’s the weekend) all the nappies go into the washing machine. Rinse cycle, then a wash cycle. I’ve got a little peggy drying thing which I peg them up on, and they dry reasonably quickly as the liner is separate to the nappy itself. For winter I have spare liners as they take longer than the nappy to dry. DONE.

If I’m out and about, I take a kayaking dry bag (about $17) which is air-tight so I pop any used nappies in that, and it keeps everything outside the bag dry, and not a whiff can ever escape. What about leakage you say? My nappies are done up quite tightly around the leg. That makes a huge difference, but it also really depends on how chubby your baby’s legs are. More chubb = less leakage.

You can buy everything you need to make them off ebay (PUL, bamboo, microfleece), or if you still aren’t sure, you can do trial runs from ecotushies in Melbourne which convert most people I know! Sorry to hardcore clothes sewists, we will return to normal programming shortly. It IS kids clothing week though!


10 thoughts on “Sew your own nappies

  1. I could not have done this with my first – she was a poo explosion baby. And I never went anywhere without a towel as she also rejected half her feed from the top end as well. Yuk. Messy stuff. Surprisingly she was a big happy baby and grew like freight train. Yes, midget Lizzy had enormous bubbas. One week she put on 500g!

    • How did you do it? Mine is such a skinny bub all her pants are 3/4 length as her waist is too small for the next sizes! Chubby babies are gorgeous, those little thighs…
      With the adjustable legs tabs, I think we’ve never had more accidents than with disposables. They actually give a snugger fit.
      At least you’re well past those days too šŸ™‚

      • Zo was very long and not terribly chubby – but she has an adorable Afro. Giselle was the classic chubby happy baby – never wanted to sleep but always a barrel of giggles and raspberries right from the start. My main memories of Gigi are complete exhaustion for 18 months and an aching back!

  2. I diligently used MCN for my son until he was 14 months old and found it all very easy. Then he started chemotherapy and not only did we have to switch to disposables but had to double bag each nappy and used a pair of disposable gloves. Talk about creating waste! We will be able to switch back this December but perhaps I will make some more when number 2 arrives in April. The PUL fabric I’ve seen in the shops was quite expensive though.

    • I’m sorry to hear that, how awful. You would be a super mum for even thinking of trying to continue using mcn šŸ™‚ congrats on your impending arrival – it’ll be here in a flash!
      Have you tried eBay for cheaper suppliers of pul?

  3. I used modern cloth nappies much of the time for my two, and sewed quite a few of them myself. The secret is in the cover – you’ve got to have good covers! With a good cover I had much fewer poo explosions or leakage issues than I had with disposables. I really enjoyed using them (I have a “thing” about poo in bins; I really hate it and always used flushable liners and scraped the poo into the loo with both cloth and disposable nappies, but few people bother to do that with disposables). Good on you for sewing your own! And I’m glad that I’m well past nappies now. I was able to pass all my fitted cloth nappies and covers on to my cousin, so they got used for another couple of babies after mine.

    • I’d love to be past nappies but we have a few years yet! It’s so much easier to get a good fit in mcn’s, and the flushable liners just make it so easy! The next step is to completely abandon wipes, we use the Eco ones, but even still, it would be nice to give them up. Any suggestions? I’m thinking of making little ‘bumwashers’ out of old clothes, but the wet factor is missing.

  4. I used Cushie Tushies for my two boys. They didn’t last all the way for Mr H as he was well over 100% in weight and wouldn’t go around him!! Very good and very cute but there was no way I was using my precious sewing time sewing nappies. Sorry, I’m too selfish!

    • Nothing wrong with that! We tried some cushie tushies through Ecotushies, but little miss had such skinny legs they didn’t suit. It amazing how much resale value the cushie tushies nappies hold. A friend of mine paid $15 per nappy for secondhand ones!

  5. I used cloth for all three of my kids and mcn for my third. I was so impressed that I started my own manufacturing business and was a Napoy Network foundation member in New Zealand. I found that not only did I not like a stinky disposable rubbish bin but disposables did not contain like cloth did. I even used to use them overnight because it was the only way of keeping my boy dry. I liked being able to deal with the dirty nappies daily or every second day and not have them hanging around until rubbish day.

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