MAKE YOUR OWN DIAPER COVERS

    Commercially manufactured plastic pants are not very expensive; they usually cost a dollar or two per pair at discount stores. They are not, however, much to look at. Crafty mothers with recycling in mind may wish to make their own waterproof diaper covers. The following diaper covers are not only easy to make and waterproof; they're cute, too.

    Materials:
   
    brown paper bag for pattern
    cute "outer" fabric, preferably cotton or a blend
    a cheap plastic shower curtain liner from the dollar store
    1/4 inch elastic
    permanent marker
    sewing machine, pins, scissors, and thread
    sew-on velcro

    Instructions:
       
    Spread out your paper bag. Spread a disposable diaper that fits your baby flat on the paper. Leaving 2"extra space all the way around the diaper, trace a line the exact shape of the diaper with the permanent marker. You should end up with a big fat capital "I" with rounded corners. 
    Spread out your shower curtain. Spread your cute outer fabric right on top of it (make sure the "out side" of your cute fabric is facing the shower curtain). Pin the cute outer fabric to the shower curtain in several places. Place your paper pattern on the fabric and trace as many diaper covers as you want. Cut out your pieces, leaving the layers of fabric together. Pin each "pair" together in several places.
    Stitch around the edge of your first cover; a regular straight stitch is fine. Leave a 4 inch opening at one end because you will be turning the diaper cover right-side-out through it. While the diaper is still inside-out, sew the elastic to the leg holes (the place where a disposable diaper is gathered around the legs):
    Cut 5 inches of 1/4 inch elastic per leg hole. Using a zigzag stitch, attach the end of the elastic to the edge of the inner corner of the "capital I" (the arm pit, not to be too crude). When the end is securely attached, press the fabric flat with one hand and hold it down. With the other hand, pull the elastic taut (stretch it out). Now, carefully, slowly zizgag stitch the stretched-out elastic to the edge of the inner curve of the diaper-cover (the long part of the "capital I"). Trim elastic if needed when finished. When you let go of the fabric and elastic, the leg-hole should gather itself up... just like the leg-holes on a disposable diaper. Repeat this process on the other leg-hole with another strip of elastic.
    Now, reach into the opening you left at one end of the diaper, and turn it inside out. Push your fingers against the insides of the seams to make sure it's as "out" as you can get it. Turn your ragged edges (around the opening) together, pin them neatly, and sew them (with a straight stitch this time).
    Your diaper cover is almost finished. Now you need to try it on your baby, so you can figure out where to place your velcro closures. Try it on over a cloth diaper, to be sure to get the right fit. With your permanent marker, mark the best places for the velcro on the front and back. (Note: If your cover fits funny, try switching front for back before you put the velcro on.) Sew on the velcro in the places you marked. Ta-daa! Your homemade diaper cover is finished.

    Helpful Hints:

    This diaper cover will be machine washable, tumble dryable, and absolutely adorable, especially if you get fabric with little duckies or lollipops on it. I used tie-dye! When changing your baby, if the inside of the cover is just a tiny bit wet, it's okay to wipe it clean with a baby wipe and use it again. Sopping wet or poopy, however, means a trip to the laundry room.
    One caveat. Just like the commercially-made plastic pants, these diaper covers are only about 95% waterproof. You can expect a little bit of leakage when a diaper is very wet. How do you avoid the leaks? Change your baby often, every few hours whether he looks wet or not. Catch him while he's damp, not soaking. The good news is, frequent changes are wonderful for your baby's skin; you shouldn't have trouble with diaper rash. At night, I either had to put my son on a waterproof pad, or put him in a disposable.
    If you really want to be thrifty (and green), don't buy more new materials than you have to. Use an old shower curtain, and get your fabric from old clothes, baby sheets, or whatever you have on hand.    

    Savings Calculator:

    A yard of fabric costs about $3.00, so let's say $6.00 for 2 yards of cute outer fabric, and about $3.00 for your velcro, elastic and shower curtain. That's $9.00 for about a dozen homemade waterproof diaper covers. If you bought that many, you would pay a minimum of $16.00. You saved about seven bucks... but aesthetic value is more important than the savings in this case; your little darling will look cute, cozy and cared-for in his homemade diaper covers. The store-bought ones (at least the CHEAP store-bought ones) look like shower caps for your tush.
       

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