My husband and I have decided to cloth diaper baby S as soon as she is born. My newborn diaper stash consists of pockets, all-in-ones and prefolds. Many people love Little Joey's and THX newborn AIOs but others complain that their babies outgrown the absorbency quickly. Some of our THX all-in-one diapers have a pocket to add an insert for extra absorbency. Making your own inserts can be cheaper than buying pre-made ones. It also allows you to customize your inserts with different fabrics and make them to your size specifications. Today I will show you how to make your own cloth diaper inserts.
There are many different fabrics you can use for inserts. Some of the most popular include microfiber, cotton, bamboo and hemp. Each has pros and cons. Some people choose to make inserts out of fabric they already have lying around, or out of old clothing. I wanted something super absorbent and super trim. After doing some research, I discovered a new textile called Zorb via Wazoodle Fabrics. Regular Zorb is used as a lining between two pieces of fabric (it cannot be used alone). I chose to spend a little more per yard to purchase Zorb II - Dimples, which has a bamboo/cotton face on both sides and doesn't need an outerlining.
I started with my newborn diaper:
Isn't it adorable? "It's so fluffy I'm gonna die!"
I measured the size of the pocket and made a pattern for an insert a little smaller so I can stuff it easily.
Zorb fabrics must be sewn before washing. I calculated for 10% shrinkage (specifications state when washed hot it can shrink up to 12%). I blew my pattern up 10% using a copier, then added a 1/8" seam allowance. If you are using a different kind of fabric, prewash it, then cut out your pattern with seam allowances.
I cut two layers for my insert and put one on top of the other. Before I serged the edges together, I used the sewing machine to stitch a line down the center. I'm hoping this will keep the two layers from bunching after I wash them. It also makes the pieces less likely to slip around when I serge them together.
Use a 4 thread overlock stitch to serge the two pieces together. When sewing bulky fabrics, it's extra important to use sharp needles and a sharp serger knife. You will also want to decrease the tension on the lower loopers slightly. Do a test strip before you begin to make sure the stitch looks the way you want it to.
....And that's it! Super easy! If you use Zorb fabric, you'll need to wash it in hot water and dry it before using. I was curious to see how much this insert would shrink.
I put the before and after images together so you can see how much the insert shrunk in the wash. It was about the same as I had accounted for, except that in this picture it appears that the insert shrunk more lengthwise than widthwise. The insert barely fits inside the diaper. I think I will make the insert a little narrower next time because it's really difficult to fit my hand inside the tiny diaper to stuff!
The insert did fluff up some in the wash, as you can see by the fluffy-looking edge. I can see why this would be more difficult to sew with after washing.
I'm really excited to see how this Zorb insert performs in a wet diaper!
If any of you make your own diaper inserts, I would love to hear your take on Zorb, as well as any tips or tricks you'd like to share.