Concerning Baby Supplies; Cloth Diaper Inserts:
Recently Hubby and I have found that the standard microfibre inserts that came with our Piddly-Winx diapers don’t seem to have the capacity to keep up with Doll.
Of course, the issue is not helped by the fact that many of her diapers need the leg elastics replaced (my sewing table is currently more like a heap; I know there’s a table under there but . . . I kind of take it on faith these days). Or that Doll is now over a year and a half old, which means that is the approximate age of her diapers as well and, as I have learned, microfibre tends to get “flat” and lose absorbency over time and use.
To combat the leaks, I began stuffing the diapers with two inserts; one microfibre and one bamboo in each one. And it works, yes.
It makes her diapers pretty dang bulky. And it’s really not helping the stretched-out elastic problem.
So after many long nights Googling (and getting distracted and heading down rabbit trails) I decided that I wanted to make my own inserts using hemp (or bamboo, if I couldn’t get hemp) and Zorb. I read many tutorials about how to make inserts. I read up on the different materials (eg/ hemp fleece vs. hemp terry). I was super excited about it and couldn’t wait to try!
And then I tossed everything I had learned in the trash because unfortunately I just don’t have the money to buy hemp, bamboo, or Zorb. My local fabric store doesn’t carry hemp or Zorb (they had never heard of Zorb, actually) and I didn’t want to ask about the price of bamboo, if they even had it.
But that’s ok. Lots of people make inserts out of many many things. So I reimagined what I wanted and here is what I came up with:
A “sheet” of flannel (with terry sewn in between the layers) that will fold in thirds (hence the name Thirds Diaper Insert) to the width of a standard insert.
I started by cutting out 6 pieces of flannel in the shape of one of Doll’s inserts. I did not leave a seam allowance.
(In order to reduce cutting and sewing, I actually fold my fabric in half and line up the insert on the fold. In this way, I get “two” pieces with one cut and one edge will not need to be sewn together.)
Then I cut out three pieces of baby terry (from a baby towel bought from the second hand store for 50 cents). For the sake of ease, I again folded the terry in half before cutting it. You can cut the layers out one at a time if you want. You don’t need to put two layers of terry in each panel. This is just how I did it.
Each piece of terry will be folded in half so that its finished shape will fit within the edges of an insert. It will not reach end to end nor side to side. I don’t need the extra bulk by going end to end and I want the side edges to be a bit flexible therefore I don’t want the terry to go to the edges. My terry is not cut in perfect rectangles because I’m using the edges of the baby towel, which has rounded corners.
I sewed each folded terry inside each folded flannel. I sewed the terry to only one side of each flannel so that when the flannel is folded closed, the stitches holding the terry are only visible on one side. I sewed the terry on using the zig-zag stitch right at the edge of the terry. The terry will stretch as you’re sewing so don’t be surprised when it moves some. It’s not a big deal. Just keep going along the edge and if it exceeds the edge of the flannel, sew the zig-zag along the edge of the flannel until it comes back over then trim off the overhanging terry. Mine never did stretch that far though that I had to trim it.
I don’t have a serger so the next step was to do a zig-zag stitch all along the outside edges of each panel. And by panel I mean two layers of flannel with two layers of terry in between. This will keep the flannel from fraying while also holding the layers together.
I very carefully trimmed along the outside of the stitches so that the stitches WERE the outside of the insert.
Now I need to sew the three panels together in such a way that they fold easily into thirds. How do I do that? Easy, no worries.
Stack the three pieces in the way you want them to be once the insert is folded. In this tutorial, the middle panel is black while the side panels are pink flowers. If you used the same fabric for all the pieces, it doesn’t really matter what order they are in.
Now pick up the first two layers together and without separating them, sew one long edge together using the zig-zag stitch. Now when you unfold the two pieces, they are attached on one long side. From one side the seam stitches are not visible and from the other they are.
Now fold them again and put them back onto the third panel. Fold the top layer away from the other two so you now only have the middle panel on top of the bottom. Without separating them, sew the available long edge of the middle panel to the matching long edge of the bottom panel.
Once unfolded, you should have three distinct panels. And only one set of stitches should be visible no matter which side you look at it from. And this is how the insert is easy to fold because it naturally only folds one way.
Just because I think a little too much (although at other times not enough), I sewed my panels together in such a way that the stitches holding the terry are not visible when the insert is folded. Honestly, it does not matter seeing as Doll is just going to pee on it . . .
I also made an experimental rag burp cloth at the same time, if you want to take a look at that.
So what do you think of my Thirds Diaper Insert? I loves how it unfolds so it dries faster than if it was all sewn together and I love how it practically folds itself. It was also really easy to make! If you need inserts and have some flannel lying around (and really any other absorbent material) then give it a go and then come back and tell me how it worked for you!