Here’s many of the diapers and elements I’ve tried
small T-shirt set– nice to have a specific small size. These were my first diapers, and I was excited making these and did cute little pictures on the back. BUT, T-shirt wicks, so I pretty much never got to see those cute little bums. I would have been better off to make some cute little fleece covers instead, and it would’ve taken less time. To sew them together took making up the individual layers, then putting the layers together in a particular order, sewing all the way around the outside, cutting a hole in the T-shirt inside of the pocket, turning inside out, sewing the hole closed, and turning the pocket inside out. A bit tricky to get all the layers in the right order at times! But it worked.
The insides of these I originally tried a strip of fine mesh/net poly fabric, thinking it would help with moisture against baby skin and make them easier to clean off. I ended up taking it out, I was concerned it might be irritating/rubbing their bottoms.
The tabs to fold over the velcro in the wash worked great. For any velcro diaper, I would do them again.
I used velcro, which worked fine for little babies and when used with a cover, but didn’t work well once they became more active and if I chose to not use a cover.
The inside pocket attached at the back and along the inside leg, with an opening at each side. I liked this pocket style, but it took longer to sew them this way. you can see the pocket in the picture of the next size up set down a bit.
This first picture shows one of my first diaper attempts (right) and my actual size/used diapers to begin with (left). The pattern I used was SUPPOSED to be newborn size- hahaha…
I tried a G-baby version (I think that’s what it was… a kind of elongated shower cap looking thing to set a re-usable (as opposed to the disposable interior brand name version), but it wasn’t coming out well, so I gave up on it quickly.
Premie sizes- Since my twins were a bit smaller than average, I tried to sew up a few quick, smaller, premie sized diapers to use until I felt more comfortable using my newborn size. I tried some water resistant insides with a print outside and just a set-in soaker so that I could re-use the outside as long as no mess got on it.
premie diaper “thong”– it ended up too small and way too skinny in the back! And I’ll also say it was too small to soak up anything or contain anything. Had to wash an upholstered chair because of that failure.
‘sposie look-alike– just didn’t end up working. didn’t fit well and the “gussets” just didn’t work for me like I expected they would.
Inserts/soakers- I originally did fleece covered sweatshirt and turned them inside out so they looked nice. The fleece was in case I used them to set inside my diapers instead of inserting in to the pocket, which I briefly did, but never did much. The fleece doesn’t absorb, so it actually adds some bulk with little absorbency returns. I still use them, and they work well for smaller babies with less production. Likewise, all fleece doesn’t hold much, nor does synthetic sweater. Flannel and terrycloth (recycled towel) worked fine, but I didn’t have a lot of that, so I didn’t make many that way. I tried 2 stuffed with scraps of sweatshirt and sewn so they would stay in place, but they were a pretty immediate failure- ugly and bulky to try to sew (sorry, they didn’t make the picture)
I briefly experimented with a fold in soaker that attached to one end of the diaper, and a snap in soaker. The fold in I felt would take too much abuse and tangling in the washer. The snap in failed because of the extra work of snaps, my poor skills using the little snap machine, and the lack of consistency in my snap collection to make them interchangeable.
I’ve moved on to quicker and more absorbent. I now use strips of sweatshirt (all or close to all cotton), untapered. They are zig-zag stitched and raw edged, as sweatshirt wont unravel. I make them twice as long as needed and fold them in half so they dry quicker.
A conversion– I tried the possibilities of expanding my newborn diapers to be bigger around with a tie- extender. But I really needed longer diapers from front to back, and I didn’t like the ties and button holes, so I didn’t try much more with it.
larger flannel set- made these the same as my small set, but used flannel on the outsides. I did NOT like how it wore- it seemed to deteriorate very quickly. The pocket was modified a bit to keep the insert from sliding back. It was the same size pocket as the original, but sewn about 1 1/2 inches down in the back. Another step in the sewing process that made them take longer to make.
I tried to modify and use a fabric that velcro would grip. That didn’t go well as it didn’t grip once on the baby. I mostly held them in place while I wrapped a cover on to hold them together, or pinned the wings if I didn’t use a cover.
larger set with fleece exteriors and smaller wings- I wised up a bit as the larger set from flannel wore out. I gave up on velcro and just moved to pins, since I was too much in need of diapers to fiddle around with buttons. I used a fleece exterior to limit wicking and to save on fabric I shortened the wings. I did like them better. I’ve gone back to longer wings, though. My mom and sister don’t like the shorter wings as well- they’re harder to pull snug and fasten. They also still wicked along the edges.
My twins had no real issue with leakage from these diapers, but my youngest did. I had better experience with a channel into which the elastic was sewn rather than an undefined edge. I thought this would allow for more seeping through along the seam, but I haven’t had that problem since I’ve tried it.
The Triangular– going back in time a bit for this concept. I didn’t end up liking it- very bunchy in all the wrong places and I wasn’t fond of ties.
elastic loops and buttons– They worked, in general, but the elastic deteriorates too quickly to make it worth the effort. The wings also have a tendency to slip out/down in this design. I still intend to try adding buttons back onto my current diaper design somehow, so that they’re more user friendly for those who don’t care for pins. Just haven’t gotten to it yet…
sweater exterior- good in concept, since these wouldn’t wick. However, AWFUL in the laundry- collected lint and junk, and exposed velcro beat them up. Stick to making covers if you want to use sweaters.
roll down: I tried several versions of this when I made my second size of diaper. In hindsight, I didn’t even need to try this, as in this size, I never need a longer diaper, or even bigger around, for that matter. I was trying to make it TOO adjustable, and it looked bad, worked poorly, added too much bulk, and was just unnecessary. I think it would have probably fit a third grader. My current design is slim enough that it can fold over once and work well, so as a one size from birth to potty training, that would be good, but I don’t need anything larger.
If you’re looking for a diaper that goes from newborn up, there’s ways todo itso you should only ever have to make one set of diapers to get your little one from newborn to potty training. Rita’s rump pocket has a workable fold down design (more below and a link on another page). There are also snap systems out there, but I’ve never tried them- I felt they would be too bulky and too complicated for those unfamiliar with them to use well. And I STILL can’t use that snap machine well enough to want to try.
roll down with a “tube”- the idea was that I could roll down just once and still line up my velcro, as the velcro was on more of a belt that went through a tube in the back. Didn’t like it, for many of the same roll down reasons. It shifted some, too. Not to mention I tried it with the sweater fabric that I’ve explained above was a fail.
detachable “wings”– again, I tried for too much adjustability, and was still working on that roll down. Besides all that, I HATE to do button holes. What was I thinking?
T-shirt interior in the same shape as the exterior– biggest problem is that the T-shirt deteriorated to quickly with the pinning. It’s not as strong and more prone to breaking and ripping, as well as the wicking to the outside edges. I THINK the shirts that were a poly blend stood up to it a bit better than the 100% cotton shirts, but I couldn’t remember and didn’t have the tags anymore to be sure.
Washcloths for soakers– AGAINST baby’s skin. They’re fine inside a pocket, but not next to the skin. It’s too rough and will rub their little buns too much, at least with a newborn.
Rita’s rump pocket– was very quick and easy. I have a link to the pattern and directions (and alternative designs for it) on another page. If I was using pre-folds and liked them, I would have loved these, as they seemed like an elasticized, simplified to use pre-fold, not to bulky, very use-able for newborn to potty training with the absorbency adjusted for the appropriate stage.
I really prefer some sort of water resistant layer, and I also like the extra stretch of a piece of elastic in the back. I did try a few modifications on this diaper- added water resistant lining, made an opening in the front for easier access to the pocket, added elastic in the back (outside edge of the pocket). I took away some helpful elements in my experiments, anyhow. I did decide I liked longer tabs again, but they need to be secured on both sides to prevent the front wings from dropping down (and making the diaper useless).
A few steps along the way to my current design:
Just fleece inside and outside- let some of the liquid get through still. The current design with T-shirt inside the pocket helps to get any of the moisture that doesn’t channel to the soaker right away.
Fleece outer (like my cover, but with elastic in the legs and back and a literal pocket sewn inside. I tried waterproof back and flannel front to the pocket. These leaked at the sides, I couldn’t get the insert to stay forward in the pocket, so they leaked in the front (until I opened the front) and the elastic was TOO snug on little legs so it rubbed and caused sores. Plus I still don’t like flannel for anything in my diapers. I feel it rubs and irritates inside, wicks moisture to edges, and just isn’t durable. On the upside, it’s a bit better for potty training since it FEELS wet to them.
Inside and outside layer the same shape- like rita’s, but with my preferred materials, waterproof layer, and back elastic. BUT, It bulks it up a bit more and decreases the stretch.
my current design is a balance and culmination of features I prefer. Water resistant, no wicking, not bulky, easy to use, flexible fit, and reasonably quick and easy to make out of readily available materials.