Everyday many of the same questions are posted on the Sew Your Own Diapers e-mail list.  These are just a few of the questions posted.

A big huge thanks to Sophie, a member of the Sew Your Own Diapers e-mail list, for creating this FAQ page!!

Table of Contents:

Equipment:

Q. Do I need to use a commercial pattern?

Q.
I’m looking for a good sewing machine, any
recommendations
?

Q. I’m thinking of getting a serger. What
should I look for?

Q. Do you need a serger to make diapers?

Fabrics:

Q. Where can I get good quality diaper
flannel?

Q. Can I use recycled materials to make
diapers?

Q. What other materials can I use for making
diapers?

Q. Where do you buy your fabrics? I read
someone’s comments somewhere

about “super flannel” but where do you get it?

Q. What kind of fleece and what weight
works well for covers?

Q. Are there places to buy fabric
on-line?

Q. What’s the best kind of elastic to
use?

Q. How do you put elastic on a diaper
without having to measure it?

Q. How can I put elastic in a one-layer
fleece cover?


Q.
What kind of materials and how many layers
should I use in the soaker layer?

Closures:

Q. Where can I get Aplix?

Q. More questions on Aplix:

Q. What’s the difference between Aplix
400 and Aplix 800?

Q. Where can I get the plastic snaps?

Q. Do I need to use a commercial pattern?

A No!
Although sometimes it can be
helpful to use a commercial pattern,

you can either just
“wing it” using the dimensions from Debi’s page as a
guide,

or you can trace a favorite cloth or disposable diaper
that fits well.

Back
to top

Q. I’m looking for a good sewing
machine, any recommendations?

A.
Nine years ago I got an
“elnita” for less than $300. Of course, prices and

models may have changed since then, but I’ve loved my little elna
all this

time, and I’ve had very few problems. In fact, the only troubles
I’ve had

have cropped up in the last few months when I’m using it a LOT,
and have

been “user induced”–that is, I haven’t cleaned it
enough, or using problem

thread, that sort of thing. It’s a simple little thing, but it
has all the

zigzag stitches, buttonholes, and all that I’ve needed up til
now. Now,

nine years later, I’m dreaming of fancy stitches, etc, but I’m
still doing

quite fine with my Elnita. 🙂

A. I’ve only heard good things about Elnas, too.

Good luck!

Valerie

A. I
also had a Kenmore and hated
it. It could never

zigzag. I took it back and got another and had the

same problem. I saved up and finally got a great

Elna.

Kimi

A. i
have the janome L344 and LOVE
it. it was about $250, and i am finding it

does more and more neat stuff.

-sarah

A. LOL!
thats my big problem with
Kenmore too, I had the entire tension knob

come flying off at me one night while sewing, I hadn’t TOUCHED
it, they

accused me of messing with it, but put it back together and that
thing never

did work right after that. It was a first for me, but I went out
and bought

another one, <stupid> and I regret it.

I also have a singer merritt machine, that I love, it has the
drop in disks

for fancy stitches, it was given to me, and it is probably a good
15-20 yrs

old, but its WONDERFUL! I also have a singer serger that is about
15 yrs

old, that I love dearly also. neither of those have given me any
problems

considering the use I give them, and never geting them serviced,
I can’t say

enough good about singer, the only bad thing is their stores for
servicing

and general customer service usually bite big time.

I’ve heard good things about the Brother that walmart sells for
about $150,

might try that one.

jeanette

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Q. I’m thinking of getting a serger. What
should I look for?

A. I
would definitely recommend a
good machine, that means European or

Japanese to me. The number one machine that I’m hearing about
lately

is the Janome (Juh/no/me) which is also the New Home. It is made
all

in one place by its own company, nothing contracted out. I have
an

Elna myself that I simply love. Bernina, Pfaff, Viking, I think
rate

about the same as Elna. I suggest you go to a shop or two or
three in

your area and try them out and see which one feels best to you.
Once

you know which model, search around for the best deal. Someone on
this

list, I can’t remember who, got hers off the internet. I would

recommend a machine that has an overlock stitch and three-step
zig zag.

Good luck shopping!

Kimi

A. There
are so many sergers out
there that it’s hard to

know any more. I can recommend Elna just from

personal experience. Mine is a basic model, Pro 4

Lock, no computer and it’s 12 years old and has NEVER

given me trouble and I’ve sewn everything on it!

What I like about it is:

It’s easy to thread.

Has a full 1/4″ seam.

Durable machine.

User friendly.

Easy to clean and maintain.

Great performance record.

Now, I am following with great interest the troubles

of sergers that have recently come up on this list.

Take down brand names when you hear about problems and

avoid those machines.

I would recommend that you go the several dealers in

your area and let them show you all the different

models. Steer clear of department store brands. At

the dealer, don’t let them trash one brand just to

build their brand up. Each brand has pros and cons

and the top brands are all very similar. I would

compare Janome (NewHome), Elna, Viking, Phaff. As I

have heard from many sources, the Janome is the best

out there right now in sewing machines because of the

company’s structure and manufacturing methods. I

haven’t looked at any of their sergers myself because

I am so happy with mine, though.

As for a used one. Just make sure that it has a

warranty and sew like crazy with it during the

warranty time, it should be clean and recently

over-hauled before being put up for sale. If

something is going to go wrong, it will do so within a

short period of time, not counting normal wear and

tear. You may be able to get a good deal on a used

one because many sewers get one and don’t use it

because they are intimidated by it or just don’t

really sew much and got tired of it taking up space.

Little old ladies sometimes get them and then realize

they don’t want it.

Good luck.

===

Kimi

A.
Well, I just got the Elna 704 dex
Plus. I love it so far. I think the

tension problem I’m having is just my inexperience. It’s sooooo
easy to

thread and has a lot of stitches. My Elna is one of the only
sergers out

there that will do the coverhem stitch without having to replace
the plate

or foot. That’s why I got it.

Debi

A. It
really all depends on a)what
you are planning to do with your serger, and

b) what your irritation threshold is.

I have a mid-range Babylock, and it’s excellent for what I want –
mostly

garmnet construction, and I also wanted to be able to do a rolled
hem and

flatlock. It’s manually threaded, but easy enough to thread that
I don’t

consider it a major hassle – it takes me less time to thread from
scratch

than to tie on.

When I was buying, the dealer showed me the Babylock Imagine,
which had

these cool air-jet threading things and automatic tension
settings, etc. but

she pointed out that really, the main difference was that it was
easier to

use, but didn’t do any more stitches or have a better stitch
quality than

the less-frills model I bought did.

I personally like doing things manually – I don’t mind threading
it myself,

or playing with the tensions myself, so for me the extra $$$
would not be

worth it for convenience – but for others, it may be!

I would think being able to do knits and wovens would be pretty
important,

and having a differential feed is pretty nice to help control
stretching and

waviness in sewing knits.

Here’s a pretty good link with some info on what to think about
when looking

for a serger (you may have to cut and paste, it’s pretty long):

http://www.nancysnotions.com/library/WhichSerger.asp?id=99072250206152712210

Sophie

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Q. Do you need a serger to make diapers?

A. No
you don’t need a serger. It
takes more time to sew a diaper without one,

but you don’t need one. It looks best if you sew the diaper right
sides

together and then turn it and topstitch. On the soaker I used to
do a

straight stitch all the way around and then a zig zag all the way
around.

Very time consuming!

Debi

A. not
at all! some people feel the
turned dipes are nicest of all (method

shown on debi’s “dipe with aplix” page). even with just
a sewing machine

you can use an overedge stitch if you don’t want to turn them.
mine look

really lousy that way, <SNIP> as for the soaker pad, zig
zag is fine,

pinions seem to differ on how tight.

Sophie

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Q. Where can I get good quality diaper
flannel?

A. I
saw that Elizabeth Lee was
advertising diaper quality flannel. I don’t

know the weight or price and was thinking of checking into it
myself. I

think they only have white.

Here’s the URL: http://www.elizabethlee.com/index.htm

Hope this helps!

Suzanne (mommy to Jenna)

  • Flannel…
    an someone help me out with the

    > various weights of flannel.

    I would not go less than 8oz.

    =====

    Kimi

  • Back to top

Q. Can I use recycled materials to make
diapers?

A.
Sometimes the old receiving
blankets are a better quality than the stuff you

find in the stores. I have a receiving blanket I picked up for
.50 cents

that is really thick and soft.

Debi

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Q. What other materials can I use for making
diapers?

A.
Everything I’ve felt recently
that my mom called flannelette was

appropriate for diapers. 🙂 For any fabric you’d like to try for
diapers,

ask this: Is it 100% cotton? (or nearly so) Is it absorbent
enough for

me to waste my time on it? Will it hold up to every-other-day
washings in

hot water? If you can answer yes, then give it a try. Oh, and
also ask:

Will it bleed its colours all over my other diapers? Obviously,
if that’s

a yes, don’t use it. 🙂

Valerie

A.
I’ve heard that birdseye if very
durable; but you would have to use several

layers and/or some terry or something with it to get some
absorbency. I

use flannel and terry for my diapers; mainly because it’s readily
available

in different colors/prints.

Blessings, Traci

  1. My
    ultimate absorbent diaper is one I made with Birdseye. It’s only 2 full

    layers of Birdseye and about 5 layers of stretch terry in the soaker.
    That’s

    it. Birdseye seems to get more absorbent the more you wash it. It’s

    wonderful stuff!

    Debi

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Q. Where do you buy your fabrics? I read
someone’s comments somewhere

about “super flannel” but where do you get it?

A. Wal-Mart. It comes in white, yellow, pink, blue
and
red.

Debi

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Q. What kind of fleece and what weight works
well for covers?

A. If
you use Malden Mills fleece I
use 200 for day and 300 for night. They also

have windblock fleece which I use day or night.

Heather

A. Check this url:

http://www.escribe.com/children/clothdiaper/index.html?mID=5552

Carla

A. The
200 stuff is definitely WAY
thick. I would never double the 200 stuff.

There is really no need to. It is also not as soft feeling as the
cheaper

stuff. It is squishy soft, but not buttery soft. I’d rather buy
the

cheaper fleece and double it than use the other, but the 200 sure
is nice

for a 1-layer nighttime cover.

~*~*~

Jennifer S.

A.
The 200 wt is what we use for day
and the 300 wt for night.

I have NEVER had a leak with the 300 wt… it doesn’t even seem
to get damp!

It is a bit bulkier, but IMO well worth it. Sometimes Reid wears
the soaker

I made as pants all by themselves (hence the name “Parka
Pant” *S*) during

the day if I am using that one.

The 200 wt IMO is for people that are wanting to change their
babies

*whenever* they are wet, even if it is not a really sopping wet
diaper. IE

not for those that want to get all the mileage they can out of a
dipe. I

think that it is awesome as I can tell when he wets as it lets
out steam and

feels warm… I can tell right away when he goes, but have only
had an

actual leak when he was in the johnny jump up (IE compressing the
loft of

the fleece). I guess technically from that description it is good
for

people that push the mileage too… but I don’t like *knowing*
that there is

a wet dipe in there without changing pronto. I can’t tell with
the 300

wt… can with the 200 wt although like I said it is not a leak,
but more of

a “heat” escaping.

Blue skies,

elke

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to top

Q. Are there places to buy fabric on-line?

A.
Well, there is this one: http://www.bargainfabric.com/
and 

http://www.polartec.com/ also

http://www.netins.net/showcase/bnbfabric/index.html

Amy
Willoughby

A. a
lot of people also like to shop

on-line, try phoenix fabrics for a start,

http://st6.yahoo.com/phoenixtextiles/

Sophie

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to top

Q. What’s the best kind of elastic to use?

A. I
use 1/4″ swimwear elastic.

Amy

A.
Motherease
uses clear elastic in their dipes. I’ve

not heard of those dipes losing their elastic’s

recovery.

I use swimwear elastic myself and that stuff can last.

Kimi

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Q. How do you put elastic on a
diaper without having to measure it?

A.
Mark where you want the elastic
to start and stop. Tack it down at the

start and then sew with a smallish zig-zag (one zig, one zag).
Pull it

tight and sew until you get to the second mark. Tack it down and
take out

of the machine. Cut the elastic at this point. No waste!

Jennifer S. ~ Mom-o to: Joshua, Molly and Joseph.

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Q. How can I put elastic in a one-layer
fleece cover?

A. I
make one-layer covers. I sew
the 1/4-inch elastic about 1/4 inch from

the edge. Then I fold the fleece over so the elastic is now
covered and

then zig-zag it closed. Makes sort of a casing but covers the
elastic with

fleece. If your fabric is cut nice and straight (no bumpy edges)
it makes

a nice clean-looking “casing.”

Jennifer S. ~ Mom-o to: Joshua, Molly and Joseph.

A. I’ve
only made single layer
covers so far. What I did was to put a

contrasting color on the tabs and front panels for reinforcement
(don’t know

if that’s actually necessary – probably not). I sewed the tabs
and front

panels on, turned them and made casings for the elastic along the
legs and

back with the seam allowance. This did mean that the casing was
sewn on the

*outside* of the cover, which didn’t bother me since I was making
them for

myself, and anyway I figured the smoothest side was towards the
baby’s skin.

Sophie

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Q. What kind of materials and how many layers
should I use in the soaker layer?

A. I
started with 3 flannel and 2
terry, but that extra flannel layer was

getting annoying. I couldn’t cut things in even numbers, and even
that one

little extra layer made it harder to sew. So I took it out and
now do 2

flannel/2 terry. Works like a charm!

Jennifer S.

A. I prefer
3 full flannel bodies and 5 to
6 layers of stretch (knit) terry

for the soaker

Debi

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Q. Where can I get Aplix?

A.
<< You can get it from
Jennifer Dehart. Her url address is:

http://home.att.net/~tjatsdehart/Aplix.html
She’s super fast at shipping so you won’t have

to wait too long =) >>

she was great to work with. i need to get more from her!

Sarah, mom to Hanna 5-16-95 and Faith 2-21-99.

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Q. More questions on Aplix:

A.
-Do you need a special needle to sew it on?

Another no here, go slow though.

-What is the difference between the 400 and 800?

The 800 is loops (very soft, last 10,000 pulls, doesn’t stick as
well as

400), the 400 is cut loops(lasts 1,000 pulls, tends to pill
though doesn’t

really affect sticking just appearance)

-What is the ratio of hook to loop you need? (assuming a strip
across the

front and on the wings and maybe something to keep it closed
during washing)

I use about 3 loop per 1 hook also.

– And for those of you who use it how do you keep it from
destroying

everything in the wash with it?

Attach extra loop next to the hook part to fold over the hook
part during

laundering.

Jennifer D.

Back to top

Q. What’s the difference between Aplix 400
and Aplix 800?

What kind of
width do I want for a diaper?

A. The
Aplix 400 has cut loops. It
is supposed to last up to 1,000 pulls. The

loops are not rough, but not soft either. It attaches very well.
The loops

tend to pill after time. This does not affect stickyness.

The Aplix 800 has continuous loops. It is supposed to last up to
10,000

pulls. The loops are soft. It attaches well, but not as well as
the 400.

This doesn’t pill. I have also seen diapers with the 800 wear out
before

the Aplix.

The loop part is the soft part of the Aplix that is generally on
the front

of a diaper or cover. The hook is the scratchy part generally on
the wings.

I think that the width is a preference thing. I like the 1″
for NB stuff.

The 1.5″ anything else. The 2″ is great for medium
diapers and up and also

for covers. This is just my experience, YMMV.

Jennifer D.

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top

Q. Where can I get the plastic snaps?

A.
(The plastic snaps like you see
on many diapers aren’t available at your local

fabric store. They
require a special snap setter and must be ordered. Info below)

Fastener
Supply 415-392-6968

The press is
the AE press and you get it
from Fastener Supply. Their

number is: 1800 224 6609 Ask for Oscar.

I cancelled my order from them since I found (thanks Suzanne!) a
used

one for like 60 dollars cheaper (including shipping) But they

mistakenly sent it to me COD anyway. The total I had with
shipping

from CA to WI was 140.00 egads..so glad I was able to get the
used

one for a whopping 82.00 with shipping!

Snaps and dies you get from Universal fasteners. Ask for Jerry,

562 921 1440

(does anyone else have the item numbers on the snaps? I dont have
my

info very handy)

You’ll need three dies for each of the snap parts (cap, socket,
stud)

Tell jerry what the item number is on the snaps and he’ll send
you

the correct dies.

If you look around for another press other than the one at
Fastener

Supply, just make sure that the press can fit a 3/8 inch die
(This is

information Jerry told me to look for in a press)

My order from Universal for my dies and about 6 bags of snap
parts

came to 225.00 with shipping…much better than I was
anticipating 🙂

Back on the press thing…I know Fastener Supply has them in
stock

again since they screwed up and sent me one so you might want to
call

this week before this new stock is all gone. Oscar told me they
go

fast once he has them in.

Good Luck!

Carla

<<
(does anyone else have the item
numbers on the snaps? I dont have

> my

> info very handy) >>

> I am still looking for the item numbers on these so I can
order

> them… anyone?

>

> Sacha

Here ya go Sacha..

Universal: K49-839 (socket)

562-921-1440 K50-839 (stud)

K53-839 (bigger cap)

K43 (smaller cap)

dies for all of the above

A.
Got my plastic snap press from
Fastener-Supply, $115, and my dies and snaps

at Universal Fasteners (you need 3 dies, at $40 each), snap parts
are around

$15 for a bag of 1000 parts (two parts make 1/2 snap, stud or
socket).

Sooooo, the initial investment is A LOT, but the snaps themselves
are only a

couple cents each, so in the long run . . . if you’re using a lot
of them

(for WAHM dipes, for example), it *might* end up being economical
– but you

have to make a lot of dipes! 🙂

Jennifer Reed,

The numbers
I have are Fastener Supply
(800) 224-6609, and Universal

Fasteners (562) 921-1440.

Jennifer Reed