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Thread: just what is your cloth culture?

  1. #1

    Default just what is your cloth culture?

    earlier, i was going to don a fitted, flannel diaper, stuffed with a terry-towelling (a combo that has bacome a regular for day-time use) and the combination of american and british style materials got me thinking about what the american cloth culture really is.
    i suppose the revelation, if you choose to do so, will help those who aren't familiar with traditional diapering, especially in the american context as it seems quite complicated, with all the different types of materials, folds and cuts.

    the british culture is fairly simple: terry-towelling squares. and it's much of a puzzle for me as to why it is so varied in America. and i have to say that i'm thinking it is so because the materials used are inferior to what we use.
    i remember wearing flannel (just an old bed-sheet) when i was younger, but only for comfort and play as it wasn't too good for absorption, and my most recent and practical experiences are of the fitted diaper, above, and of the YuYun AIOs i bought a while ago - and none of them come close to the capacity of terry-towelling.
    some others have mentioned other types of materials for diapers and, to be honest, from i've seen of them, they don't look too good for absorption; is this the case?
    additionally puzzling is that you use 'towels' in everyday life - are these the same terry-towelling with which we, in britain, are familiar? so, i guess the quesiton of 'what is your cloth culture?' also incorporates your use of materials to dry yourself after bathing, as it would seem a logical step to use one for the other, depending upon which is best, as is the culture in britain (cloth diapers generally go on to be used as general towels, and normal towels can be used as diapers).

    and so, i'm still puzzled by the reasons for the variety of styles and materials (and the benefits, thereof) which are used in America, and still not sure if all of those are a traditional part of your cloth culture and not just a recent fad.
    as a part of the idea of a 'recent fad', i've also been thinking about the use of the word 'diaper' (orignally used by the british, too) as this relates to a specific type of cloth, and i wondered if this aspect of our cultural difference lay behind the different practices (as in, you never adopted a different word for 'diaper' as you never adopted a different material for diapers)?

    the experiences of other nations and cultures is also welcome, naturally.

  2. #2

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    Yes, American towels are terry cloth, the selfsame material you brits use. No, the reason we have a varied cloth culture is not because our materials we "inferior." Come now, let's not get elitist. Terry cloth is amply available in the states, at any rate, and some people use it for diapering. Frankly, I don't like the texture -- it's too rough. I prefer fleece and flannel, which absorbs just fine and is a lot softer, plus it's less bulky than terry. Fleece has great wicking power, too.

    Birdseye and gauze are probably the most popular US fabrics for prefolds, with flannel close behind. I've heard that gauze has superior absorbency, but birdseye is more durable. I can't comment on either from experience, though. Regarding the style/fold of your diaper, it's all about taste. The simple answer is that there are different fabric choices and styles and whatnot because different people have different tastes and different needs. Some folds are better for fecal incon, some are better for urine incon. AIO's are more convenient, prefolds are cheaper. I don't need a diaper to absorb a swimming pool, so my biggest concern is wicking ability, thinness, and comfort. I use prefolds because they're inexpensive and do the job well, but I do have two good AIOs because they're just so comfy. Why there isn't the same variety in the UK, I cannot say. Maybe there just isn't as big a market for it there? Or maybe the market in the UK isn't as developed? I really have no idea.

    Regarding Yunyun: are those even American diapers? I thought they were headquartered somewhere in Asia, but I can't find out because the website is down. If I'm right, there's your problem >.<

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by slim View Post
    No, the reason we have a varied cloth culture is not because our materials we "inferior." Come now, let's not get elitist.
    that wasn't the intention, just a wondering of along those lines; especially with the situation of what appears to be a seeking of various solutions to the one problem, when there is one that already seems to work for a similar problem of holding fluid (terry-towelling for towels).



    Quote Originally Posted by slim View Post
    Terry cloth is amply available in the states, at any rate, and some people use it for diapering. Frankly, I don't like the texture -- it's too rough.
    it's rare to see a reference to terry-cloth for diapering, in an american context, and i can understand the issue of roughness (this is usually off-set by the use of liners - i use them, too).



    Quote Originally Posted by slim View Post
    I prefer fleece and flannel, which absorbs just fine and is a lot softer, plus it's less bulky than terry. Fleece has great wicking power, too.
    fleece is a puzzle as i'm not entirely sure that i'm thinking of the same material as you; there's just no association between fleece and diapers over here. i see it mentioned all the time by the home-made brigade (US) and i just can't imagine it ever being suitable, so there may be cultural difference in perception and reference there??



    Quote Originally Posted by slim View Post
    Regarding Yunyun: are those even American diapers? I thought they were headquartered somewhere in Asia, but I can't find out because the website is down. If I'm right, there's your problem >.<
    yep, they're chinese, but use flannel for the absorbant material. that's also why i'd like to hear from some other cultures, as to what they use and why.

  4. #4

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    there are certain kinds of high-quality fleece available in the US (malden mills) through which liquid can pass without getting the fabric wet. it's used as an inner layer in many AIO cloth diapers, between the skin and the absorbent material.

    terry cloth is probably the most absorbent diaper material, but it's also the bulkiest, and the roughest on the skin. it doesn't wick very well, or draw dampness away from surface, and it'll squeeze back everything it's absorbed under pressure. a lot of cloth prefolds have an absorbent core of terry cloth sewn inside an outer layer of flannel.

    i think there are so many choices in the US just because there are more consumers, so it can be profitable to market several different styles of cloth diaper.

  5. #5
    Peachy

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    Keep in mind that "America" is a lot larger and comprised of many different "cultures". There's older, more European parts (northeastern coast), there's a rural culture in most of the midwest, and then you have the hip Californians. You need to take into account the different climate in those regions (hot climates would require more airy material than cold climates), people's general circumstances of living (people who moved and colonized the west need something light and convenient, why settled people in the east could go for heavier stuff) etc.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Peachy View Post
    Keep in mind that "America" is a lot larger and comprised of many different "cultures". There's older, more European parts (northeastern coast), there's a rural culture in most of the midwest, and then you have the hip Californians. You need to take into account the different climate in those regions (hot climates would require more airy material than cold climates), people's general circumstances of living (people who moved and colonized the west need something light and convenient, why settled people in the east could go for heavier stuff) etc.
    ah, not considered that; but i guess that would tie in with the american use of the [older english] word 'diaper', as i'd suspected?
    language: says it all, really.

    so, what's the tradition over yon, peachy?

    [on edit] just been looking for information on the origins related to some of this; direct link for the first bit:
    http://www.ehow.com/about_5478837_de...rry-cloth.html

    and for the second, i'll just quote, so as to keep our heads down:


    Etymology of THe Word Nappy

    The word nappy began its life innocently enough as the adjectival offspring of the word nap. Nap is a fuzzy surface layer on yarn or cloth. Nap is teased up or raised higher by brushing the cloth against a rough surface. Our common weed teasel is named because it was used long ago to tease up the nap on cloth. Nap on wool was often shaved off and used to fill pillows. A number of words were brought to England during the 14th and 15th centuries by Dutch weavers who came to Britain to ply their trade. One of these words from Middle Dutch was noppich , ‘nappy’ an adjective referring to cloth that had a fiber-thick surface layer that could be trimmed down or teased up and cut even.

    Late in the 18th century or early in the 19th century, Americans in the southern U.S. began to refer to negro slaves as nappy heads, comparing some tightly curled negroid hair to the nap on some cloth or fur. It was not a compliment.
    from an article about a 'racist slur' - i didn't read the whole thing: not before breakfast, thank you.
    the latter contrasts quite a bit with the popular view of the word 'nappy' (as from 'napkin') and actually seems to make more sense. especially more sense in the context of a divergence of word use between America and Britain, and the development of terry cloth. i can definitely imagine someone saying, in the olden days, "oo, it's got a nice nap to it, an't it, ethel? very nappy, indeed.", upon their first feeling terry cloth.
    Last edited by ade; 01-Feb-2011 at 07:20.

  7. #7

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    I was born in the early 80's and wore cloth diapers until I was potty trained at around age 3 as my parents couldn't afford disposables. I think at the time disposable diapers were very popular although some people still stuck to the old ways. The most popular cloth diapers at the time were soft flannel with the center being built up of several layers of flannel and were pinned on and covered with a vinyl diaper cover.

    By the mid-eighties everybody was using disposables and I donít think it was until the 90's that people started to think about the environmental impact of disposable diapers in landfills. At that point I think cloth diapers started to make a come back among the more environmentally conscious but by the time it started to gain steam the price of disposables was so low that it was in many cases more expensive to use cloth diapers and obviously more work.

    The odd thing is that I love plastic-backed diapers even though my mom used cloth ones on me.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bokeh View Post
    I was born in the early 80's and wore cloth diapers until I was potty trained at around age 3 as my parents couldn't afford disposables. I think at the time disposable diapers were very popular although some people still stuck to the old ways.
    By the mid-eighties everybody was using disposables
    your experience almost mirrors my observations, in the timeline of things, despite it often being presented as America being 'ahead' by ten or twenty years (or the Brits just following) in social and technological advances. i'd got the impression that the change to a dispie dominance occurred sometime in the mid-late 70s, in America.
    i don't remember any reference to disposables until the early 80s and it took a few years for them to catch on.
    i had a mate, ten years younger than me whose mother used to 'brag' about how her kids had to use disposables, as babies, as they we're 'allergic' to cotton and that in 'those days' (late 70s-early 80s) disposables we're hard to come by and very costly.

    given the range of materials and styles over there, we're you ever told by your parents why they chose flannel over any other cloth (ie. a preference, the culture or just simple cost)?
    (for a matter of perspective: if you asked the similar over here, you'd be met with blank stares - as if to say 'but, there isn't any other choice')

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by ade View Post
    fleece is a puzzle as i'm not entirely sure that i'm thinking of the same material as you; there's just no association between fleece and diapers over here. i see it mentioned all the time by the home-made brigade (US) and i just can't imagine it ever being suitable, so there may be cultural difference in perception and reference there??
    Fleece can either be a wool product or a synthetic material (usually called polar fleece). The latter is what I'm referring to. It doesn't really hold much, but for that very reason it does a great job of keeping moisture off your skin, and it's super soft. I use it for the lining of the diaper.

  10. #10

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    I was born back in the late 50s and there were only cloth diapers back then. I don't remember many of the diapers I wore as a baby but as I got older and still wet the bed I was diapered for that. Most of the diapers I wore were the Gerber style flat diapers and mostly Birdseye material. Mom had to diaper me with 2 or 3 of them to absorb what I did during my sleep. I often look back and realize that the terry toweling diapers (nappies) from the UK would have been better for us to use too. We also had a diaper service when I was little and living in Southern California. Those diapers were the same Birdseye ones too. This just made it easier for my mother she just removed my diapers in the morning and put them in the pail that was picked up once or twice a week. They also provided plastic pants that we kept as we out grew them or when I stopped needing diapers at night.

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