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Thread: For *Bs and carers - choosing cloth nappy type?

  1. #1

    Default For *Bs and carers - choosing cloth nappy type?

    I'm thinking about making myself some cloth diapers for home and night use. I sew, they're not difficult to make (even fitted/shaped types) and it's a lot cheaper than buying. Buuuuut... so many options!

    I want something cheap, durable and easy to make (so not AIOs!). Not super bulky (so not terry squares). I can wash them in privacy and air-dry in my room, though I'd like something that hangs flattish to dry so that I can hide it between some T-shirts if I have to! So I'm guessing my options are:

    • Flannel flat diaper used with a terry booster
    • Terry fitted diaper fastened with pins or Snappi
    • Flannel prefold


    (I'm in the UK so gauze/birdseye fabrics aren't so common over here; flannel is by far the cheapest to get).

    What do you use and how do they work out for you? How are they to wash and dry? And what are the pros and cons of different sorts of plastic pants?

  2. #2

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    These are complex questions and you complicate things more by indicating you will make yourself diapers. Adults in care homes etc. used (before the advent of disposables) to wear nappies that were either 48 or 60 inches square. This indicates the size (no pun intended) of the task they have to fulfil. Modern fitted cloth nappies cost a fortune but are quite good - as are high quality plastic pants.

    Ebay have a few cloth nappies - mostly terry ones and, as a guide, the advert for a 39 inch square one says "suitable for up to a 42 inch waist". Plastic pants are easier to come by but it is very hard to get ones that work well - not because there are not a lot of reliable makes - but because to be effective the pant has to suit your size and build.


    Having said all this I was once in a car smash and had to recover at home - bladder control was shot to pieces and we got by with carefully folded bath towels and plastic pants - our only option as we had both in the house, but lived too far from a town for my wife to get anyhing on a Sunday - the pants were left over from a elderly relative and had been kept "just in case we ever needed them". They got us out of trouble, but we sure needed the waterproof cover for the mattress!

    I would (like you) prefer to wear cloth but the hassle is just to much for us as a family - I hope you manage better and get a good cost effective solution.

  3. #3

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    Flannel is a good option, since it's so breathable. One thing to consider is if you want to make diapers with soaker inserts or not, I'm not sure which would suit your situation best. But here Sewing FItteds is a link to something that might help!

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by tinyfish View Post
    I'm thinking about making myself some cloth diapers.......it's a lot cheaper than buying.
    not always. in fact, seldomly: economy of scale, y'see. factor in your total costs and you'll probably end up around the same cost as buying ready-made. the primary benefit with home-made stuff (in this day and age) is the custom design; but, a natural part of that process is trial and error, which puts your costs up further.

    and don't be put off terry-towelling: there's lots of different grades and ways of wearing them. grade-wise,



    hotel grade towelling (on your right, in the pic) is best (as far as i know) and you can get way with just a single layer of towelling, though it's best to keep a good length (from front-to-back) so that it gathers between the legs/at the buttocks area.
    btw, the one on your left is a P&O towel; i don't know if they class them as decent quality, but i don't.
    hotel grade towelling is available from Dunelm, in the towel section.

    if that bulk is too much, there are pull-up towelling pants of a standard quality towelling (ie, low quality) which result in less bulk between the legs and buttocks and are especially good for bedwetting (if anybody cares):
    h++p://www.home-n-dry.co.uk/healthcareproducts/PullOnTerryTowellingPants.html
    (ignore the website; phone them to place an order).
    you can see from the prices that they're pretty cheap, though well-made. drying time for the triple-layered pants is about a day, on a radiator and a little bit longer if just hung to air in your bedroom or similar. and on that note, it's worth saving those cheap, plastic pants hangers that come with pants, for to hang your diapery stuff from.

    between you and your nappy (whichever kind you choose, including the pull-ups), it's best to have a liner which will keep stains of your nappy and also give a soft, to silkysoft, feel when worn. the silkysoft feel is attained by doubling the liner.
    'adult sized' liners are available in the guise of frost protection fleece, from garden centres and the like, and come as pre-cut sheets (NO!) or on rolls (YES!), which you can cut to size.
    http://s7g3.scene7.com/is/image/ae235/60228_P?$p$

    wash before use.

    as mentioned by the other poster, placky pants are quite varied, coming in a range of materials and thicknesses, and different kinds of elastication.
    the biggest problem with them, though, is that they tend to be very badly cut/shaped and sized. that being so, it's generally best to buy a size up from what you'd think, with enclosed elastics, and you can then size them down to fit.
    the pants from Home'n'dry are good quality, but size up, as said, even though they have 'plush' elastics.
    other pants can be had from Arizona (google 'arizona incontinence').

    and if you end up handsewing pants, a camera tripod comes in handy

  5. #5

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    There's a good reason why people buy birdseye and gauze diapers. They are specially made. The outer material is a tight weave which wicks the urine away from the skin. There is an inner material which is more absorbent, holding the wetness there until they become overburdened with more wetting. Just flannel or terry will keep the wetness against your skin, but they will work.

    Any thick fabric takes a long time to dry. Professionally made gauze and birdseye take two runs in the dryer for me. Terry or flannel will take quite a bit of time to dry, and if your room is not heated in the summer, or air conditioned, they could take a very long time to hang dry.

    As for plastic pants, I love the Leakmaster high backs because they cover the entire diaper, and are very good at preventing leaks. At the same time, they are thin, very pliable, and comfortable. I don't know if you can get them cheaply in the UK, but if you can, give them a try. As for size, I have a 30-32 waist, so I buy small.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by ade View Post
    the primary benefit with home-made stuff (in this day and age) is the custom design; but, a natural part of that process is trial and error, which puts your costs up further.
    I've studied pattern design enough to know how to make a mockup out of disposable fabric before I buy anything expensive, and my disposable fabric stash is pretty well served



    Quote Originally Posted by ade View Post
    and don't be put off terry-towelling: there's lots of different grades and ways of wearing them. grade-wise,hotel grade towelling (on your right, in the pic) is best (as far as i know) and you can get way with just a single layer of towelling, though it's best to keep a good length (from front-to-back) so that it gathers between the legs/at the buttocks area.

    hotel grade towelling is available from Dunelm, in the towel section.
    We don't have a Dunelm in this town, the only place to go for high quality fabrics is John Lewis, which would make terry about 18 quid a metre if I recall rightly. I can get good quality quilt backing flannel for 3.19 a metre online... and I'm on a budget.



    Quote Originally Posted by ade View Post
    between you and your nappy (whichever kind you choose, including the pull-ups), it's best to have a liner which will keep stains of your nappy and also give a soft, to silkysoft, feel when worn. the silkysoft feel is attained by doubling the liner.
    'adult sized' liners are available in the guise of frost protection fleece, from garden centres and the like, and come as pre-cut sheets (NO!) or on rolls (YES!), which you can cut to size. wash before use.
    Now that's a really interesting tip, thankyou - I was going to ask about adult size liners. Are they reusable or do you just toss them after one use? And do you still need them if you're not incon and aren't planning to mess in a cloth diaper? If they have to be thrown out I was wondering about finding something biodegradable, given that part of the reason I feel so bad about disposables is the landfill thing!



    Quote Originally Posted by ade View Post
    as mentioned by the other poster, placky pants are quite varied, coming in a range of materials and thicknesses, and different kinds of elastication.
    the biggest problem with them, though, is that they tend to be very badly cut/shaped and sized. that being so, it's generally best to buy a size up from what you'd think, with enclosed elastics, and you can then size them down to fit.
    the pants from Home'n'dry are good quality, but size up, as said, even though they have 'plush' elastics.
    other pants can be had from Arizona (google 'arizona incontinence').

    and if you end up handsewing pants, a camera tripod comes in handy
    I was going to get some pants from nevergrownup on etsy, who is AB himself and knows what he's doing. Plus he makes them in awesome colours

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by tinyfish View Post
    IWe don't have a Dunelm in this town, the only place to go for high quality fabrics is John Lewis, which would make terry about 18 quid a metre if I recall rightly.
    hmm, we don't have a John Lewis.......but, i have come across their stuff through work and, er, well....it's supposed to be quality gear, isn't it? or at least they claim it is and charge accordingly.



    Quote Originally Posted by tinyfish View Post
    and I'm on a budget.
    me, too; that's why most of our towels are throw-outs (stuff that the importer has assigned to land-fill) or half-inched. technically, they'd all be 'stolen' (cos you know what rich people are like).
    we've also got NHS towels: poor quality, though the NHS are charged retail prices (and above) by the suppliers. i keep meaning to do some pics of me wearing a 'nappy' that has a 'hospital property' logo



    Quote Originally Posted by tinyfish View Post
    Are they reusable or do you just toss them after one use?
    very reuseable. of course, there are variations, depending upon the quality/brand of fleece. it must two years since i bought my last roll and it's still going strong.
    i wash them with the nappies at, up to, 60C.



    Quote Originally Posted by tinyfish View Post
    And do you still need them if you're not incon and aren't planning to mess in a cloth diaper?
    i only wee in mine and i use liners all the time. i drink lots of fluids to stave off UTIs, but you/we still shed the linings of our bladders and associated plumbing, so wee ends up having a fair bit of mucus and silt in it and they can discolour the towelling if they work their way into the fibres.



    Quote Originally Posted by tinyfish View Post
    If they have to be thrown out I was wondering about finding something biodegradable, given that part of the reason I feel so bad about disposables is the landfill thing!
    they're made from polyester type material, though i'm not sure about the original 'baby's' liners (not used them in years). environmentally, a full roll (minus the cardboard tube) weighs very little and would have a minimal impact.



    Quote Originally Posted by tinyfish View Post
    I was going to get some pants from nevergrownup on etsy, who is AB himself and knows what he's doing. Plus he makes them in awesome colours
    don't forget to show us the results

  8. #8

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    The whole John Lewis partnership pride themselves on quality. They're a bit out of touch with the idea that not everyone has the money to *buy* the best available, bless them, though they're getting better - they even have a Value range now. It's kind of sweet. But for my money the best thing about them is the customer service; you can tell the people who work there have a stake in the business because they actually give a damn about making you happy. Not many shops run like that in this day and age.

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