Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

What you'll need: 
An absorbent or wicking material (I used flannel)
Snaps or Velcro
Elastic ( 3/8 inch is usually good)
Diaper pattern
Sewing machine, thread, scissors

To get started, cut out your materials. Since I'm showing you how to do a pocket diaper with a top stitch, you'll need to leave a seam allowance for this one! I did one layer of PUL, a layer of flannel, and 2 tabs made out of the same flannel pattern. 
Start by sewing on your tabs. Tuck the edge under and hem it, if you have tags, get them in there too! Sew around the entire edge of the tag and along the edge of your tab. 
Take your flannel and fold down the back edge. I folded mine over twice to avoid any kind of fraying. Give it a quick hem. As you can see from the pictures, I only hemmed it in the middle. The rest of it will be sewed into the tabs, so there's really no reason to hem this part.
Whether you're applying snaps or velcro, you'll need to do this part BEFORE you sew. Don't worry about the snaps/velcro on the tabs, just what's in the front. Mark where your snaps need to be, and apply them. Since this is a pocket diaper, the insert needs to go between the layers, so you can't have your snaps gluing those layers together!
Now, time to sew it up! Place your layers together, right side in. The shiny side of the PUL will be on the outside, along with the non-printed side of the flannel. Place your PUL facing down. I mentioned in my FOE diaper tutorial some good tips about working with PUL. Make sure you read them!
Start sewing where your hem ends on your flannel. This will be where the pocket opening begins. It's also right next to where the tab begins. While you're sewing, leave enough room so that your stitch won't come undone when you turn it back right-side-out. Flannel will fray just a little bit, so leave enough room! 
If this is one of your first diapers you're sewing, it might be a good idea to mark out where your elastic begins and ends. I didn't do it with this diaper, and ended up starting my elastic about in inch late! I can still easily fix it because of the way I sewed it. 
For this diaper, I chose to sew my leg elastic right into the seam. You can also encase your elastic, which is how we'll do it in the back. Measure how much elastic you'll need by stretching it along the leg opening. Cut two pieces the same size for both legs. You'll need to use a zig zag stitch for the elastic. When you get to where your elastic begins, sew a couple zig zag stitches to secure it. Stretch your elastic as far as you want it stretched (I stretch mine as far as it goes), and start stitching! When you get to the end of the elastic, switch back to your straight stitch. 
Finish sewing the rest, get the other leg opening sewed up with elastic, and finish off the tabs. Don't forget to NOT sew up the back opening! This is your pocket opening, and will be used to get the insert into the diaper. Turn your diaper right-side-out and make sure you don't have any gaps in your stitches. There were a few spots that I had sewed too close to the edge, and when I turned it back out, the came undone. Just re-enforce it with another stitch on the inside of the diaper, and you should be good go to!
For the back elastic, measure your elastic by stretching it along the back opening. Fold over the PUL and place the elastic inside the opening. Make sure the PUL is folded over far enough that you can sew a little pocket for the elastic without accidentally stitching the elastic in. Secure your elastic by stitching back and forth the end of the elastic. Again, the elastic will fray also, so make sure you leave enough room for this. It's difficult to fix a problem like that once the diaper is sewed together. Try tugging on the elastic a couple times to make sure it's secure. Stretch it along the back, and secure it at the other end of the pocket opening. Now do a straight stitch to encase the elastic into it's own little pocket. 
Finish it off with a top stitch. I only did the top stitch along the edges of the diaper, I chose not to case in the elastic. I kind of like the look if gives this way.
Now it's time to add your last snaps! Add them to your tabs, and you're done!
As you can see in the pictures, I didn't make the leg elastic long enough. It should have been stretched almost all the way to the tabs, but I wasn't paying enough attention. Because of the way that I sewed them, I can just go back and add a little more elastic to the legs and sew it right in. if I'd done it in a casing, it would be a lot harder to fix!
If you found this tutorial helpful, make sure you check out my FOE Diaper Cover Tutorial!


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