Tutorial: How to Make Cloth Pocket Diapers out of Old T-Shirts!

Okay, so I’ve had a few people ask me how I made my diapers out of old t-shirts… It might be easy enough for a cloth diaper vet to figure out how to make them, but for a lot of women, especially people who are new to cloth diapers, it can be really… elusive? So, I’ve broken down the steps in this video with directions on how to make your own cloth diapers out of old t-shirts. Alternately, if you don’t want to watch the video, you can read the tutorial below.

Okay, so you already watched the video, rated, commented and subscribed to show you love me? He he he. Just kidding… You don’t have to. But, I really enjoy it when people do!

Onto the Tutorial

**Note: I use 1/4 inch seam allowance. You can use whatever you like for yours, or whatever your pattern calls for. Just make sure you backstitch at the beginning and end of EVERY seam!!!!

This set of instructions can be used, and reproduced as long as you give me credit and link back to this blog post.

1. You need an old t-shirt.

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

Now, preferably, your shirt should be a size Large or bigger. But, depending on what size of diaper you’re making, you may be able to get away with using a small or medium shirt.

2. Pin and cut your pattern.

Now, I don’t know what pattern you’re using. I’m using one I made myself… But, for obvious reasons, you have to pin your pattern. You can lay you’re shirt out a few different ways, but if you want to use the design or logo that’s on the shirt, you should fold the design part of the shirt in half and cut the two peices for your diaper separately. If you don’t care about the design, you can just fold the shirt in half (both layers) and cut both peices out at once.

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

I laid mine out in a way so I could get the design on the body of the pattern. Like I said, you don’t have to do it this way, but when there is a design on the shirt, I prefer to. After all, who doesn’t like having cool designs on their diapers?

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

Pin your pattern down. Depending on what pattern you’re using and how big it is, will determine how much you can get out of a shirt. I’m using a size large pattern that I designed myself, and I can get enough for both peices out of a men’s size large t-shirt. With smaller shirts, you may only be able to get one piece, depending on your pattern size. In that case, use two shirts, and mix and match the pieces.

3. Cut your pattern out.

Might seem obvious, okay, it is… But you’re going to need to cut your pattern out!

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

If you’re only cutting one peice at a time, be careful not to cut the other layer of the shirt while cutting out your pattern. Make sure you smooth it out really well, and check it every few cuts!

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

So, now you have one (or both, depending how you cut it) pieces for your diaper!

If you cut out one piece, continue on to step 4. If you cut out both pieces, skip to step five.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the second piece.

Like I said, you’re going to need two pieces for your diaper, so if you only cut one piece out, then repeat steps 1-3 using the other side of the t-shirt, or a second t-shirt depending on your shirts size. When you’re done, you should have two pieces, identical in size.

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

5. Pin and sew the side

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

Lay your pieces right sides together and pin ONE side together, edges even. Then sew that side. Repeat for the second side, leaving the ends open.

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

6. Sew the front end of the diaper shut.

You have both sides sewn. Now, you need to sew the front end of the diaper shut.

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

I don’t even use pins for this. I just hold it as I’m going, make sure the edges stay even, and sew it shut. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can use pins, but its not necessary.

7. Mark your pocket and sew.

This step is a tiny bit trickier. I fold my diaper in half (in order to ensure the pocket is directly in the middle and not off center), and then use a pin to mark where each side of the hole will begin.

It’s a little difficult to see in the picture, but I have two pins, about 6-8 inches apart. It really doesn’t matter how far apart they are, however, keep in mind, you want to pin it at least two inches bigger than the actual finished hole will be because the elastic will shrink it, and you need to be able to fit your hand in it.

Once you have your pins marking where the hole will be, sew from the side, to the pin on both sides, leaving the hole open.

8. Sew in your side elastic.

Now, it’s time to add your side elastic! This step is relatively easy and for the most part, you can just eye it.

Cut your elastic (I use 7-8 inches and then trim the excess). You’re going to sew it right along the side seams, starting at about the bottom of the front diaper flap, and ending at the bottom (as if it were being worn) diaper flap. You do not put elastic on the flaps at all. Just along the side body part of the diaper. I use a zigzag stitch for this step. Make sure you’re stretching it tight as you sew!!! Repeat this step for the opposite side.

**Note:If your diaper has a pattern on it, make sure you’re sewing the elastic onto the side of the diaper that does NOT have the pattern you want shown on it.

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

9. Make a casing and add elastic.

Now, you’re going to fold the fabric on one side of the hole down, and sew it straight across, leaving both ends open. This will serve as a casing for your elastic.

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

As you can see in the photo, I simply folded it down, and sewed from one finger, to the other, leaving the ends of my casing open.

Cut your elastic slightly larger than half the length of your pocket hole, and sew it on one end of the casing, before threading it through and sewing the other end down.Your elastic is only sewn on the ends, and is simply threaded through the casing.

Repeat this for the other side of the hole. Your entire pocket hole should have elastic in it now and should look similar to this.

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

10. Turn your diaper right side out.

Your diaper has been sewn together inside out. By reaching into the pocket hole, you can turn your diaper right side out and then use a point turner, to make sure all of the corners and points come out as well.

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

Congratulations, you just made a diaper out of an old t-shirt! Your diaper should look somewhat like this:

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

You can leave your diaper as it is, and use diaper pins with it, like I do, or you can add velcro, snaps or buttons to help you fasten it! I prefer snaps, but unfortunately, I don’t have a snap press, and my son LOVES taking off velcro, so we use diaper pins!

11. Using your diaper.

Before you use your diaper, you’ll need to stuff some kind of soaker in it. You can make your own soaker pad out of old sweatshirts (I sense a future tutorial…) or you can simply use prefold cloth diapers, or even just a terry cloth towel.

Cloth Diaper Tutorial

Stuff whatever soaker material you’d like to use into the diaper, and you’re ready to go! Put it on baby, fasten it, and you’re done!

Please keep in mind that this type of diaper, because its made out of cotton and old t-shirts, will most likely need a diaper cover, since it’s not water proof. You don’t have to use one, but a lot of people do. If you pad it well enough, and change your baby often, you might not need to, but to prevent accidents, I would recommend using one. You can buy plastic pants and just pull them up over the diaper, or use an actual velcro or snap diaper cover as well, or even a wool cover. Whatever you prefer.

Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the tutorial! If you liked it, let me know! Leave me a comment! Rate, comment and subscribe to my youtube video! Make your own diaper, show it on your blog and link back to me or even just throw me a comment with a photo! I’d love to see what you create!

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Hygeia EnJoye Breast Pump: Taking Care of Mothers, Babies & the World + A Surprise Giveaway.

As many of you may know, I have spent more time in my life using a a breast pump than most women spend just breastfeeding! Ha. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I have spent a significant chunk of time attached to a pump! I breastfed both of my kids, and I have donated milk to nine babies. You can read more about that by visiting my personal blog AnotherTeenMom and click on “My Milk Babies.”

Anyways, back to the point! I am extremely well educated when it comes to breastfeeding, and very soon, I will be working on getting a breastfeeding counselor certification. One of the biggest mistakes I see in my clients (I’m a birth doula) and in my friends, and former classmates, is that they make the mistake of believing all pumps are equal! Nothing could be further from the truth! If you are only going to be pumping once in a blue moon and mostly just to relieve engorgement, then sure, a hand held trigger operated breast pump should suit you just fine. However, if you plan on pumping on a daily basis, or even just a couple times a week, you really need to invest in a high quality, double electric breast pump. You’re wasting your time, effort and money if you don’t, because those hand held ones, and AA-battery powered ones don’t even come close in regards to how effective a good quality double electric pump is. Like I said, if you don’t plan on pumping much, getting much, or doing it often, then that kind of pump should be fine, but otherwise, please continue reading!

I run a breast milk donation website called www.breastmilkdonation.com. While setting it up, I signed up for google adsense, and one of the ads that came up on my ad bar, was for a Hygeia breast pump. I had never heard of hygeia (and I was pretty sure I had heard of almost every breast pump) so I decided to check out their site.

I was incredibly impressed with what I saw! Hygeia is the only company that makes “Green” breast pumps! Now, typically, most breast pumps are single user products. Almost every breast pump I’ve seen or had, has had that little sticker telling you “This product is a single user product. Use by more than one user may void the warranty.” This is because most breast pumps are open-circuit, meaning there’s the risk of contamination if one woman uses the pump, and then another does too. Rental grade pumps are known as closed-circuit pumps, meaning there is no risk of contamination when multiple users use the same pump. Well, this is where Hygeia’s pumps differ from the rest of the ones available on the market! Hygeia’s pumps can be used by one user, five users, two-hundred users, however many users you wanted, and there is no risk of contamination as long as each woman has her own accessory kit! What’s even better, is that the accessory kit is only $35! That’s practically a steal! Now, not all pumps that are intended to be single user pumps are only used by one user. I’ll admit… I have shared some single user pumps with some close friends I trust.  However, I was still hesitant to do so because of the risk of contamination. With Hygeia’s breast pump, this isn’t a concern at all!

Now, this is great for women who want to share or pass along their pumps to someone who needs it, but guess what else it’s great for? The environment. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of single-user breast pumps that are thrown into the landfills and dumps every year (and google couldn’t think of a figure either).  What’s so unfortunate about this, is many of these pumps were probably only used for a matter of a few weeks or a few months, because let’s face it, as sad of a reality it is, many more mothers start out breastfeeding their babies, than continue to breastfeed beyond six weeks. These single-user pumps can range anywhere from $200-400, and they’re being thrown away in the garbage? By creating a pump that is safe to share between users, a single Hygeia breast pump could see years upon years of use between several women, without putting them, or their babies at risk for the transmission of infection or disease! And at the same time, we’re protecting our environment, and reducing waste! Can it get any more eco-friendly than that?

Yes! It can! On top of creating a pump that can be used by more than one woman safely, and preventing more waste from accumulating in our landfills, Hygeia has a breast pump recycling program! When you’re done with your pump, even if it’s broken or damaged, you may return it to Hygeia, and they will salvage the parts they can, or refurbish the pump, clean it, whatever it needs done to it, and then put the pump to use as samples for the salesmen, as loaners in their rental stations, and for use by other customers. When I spoke to Debra at Hygeia about their recycling program, she also said “I’m sure the day will come when we can no longer refurbish our returns. In that case, we would recycle by disassembling the pump, taking parts that we could still use, and finally discarding the excess with a reputable recycling company.” Way to go Hygeia!

Could it get any better than this? Yep! It sure can! Hygeia also has a three week return policy, even after the pump has been opened! Every other breast pump on the market, once it’s opened, it’s non-returnable, and how are you supposed to know if you like something or not unless you try it? So, with a Hygeia pump, you can return it at anytime for any reason within the first three weeks for a refund. In addition to this, Hygeia’s breast pumps are  are warrantied for THREE years! Even the other leading breast pump brands only offer a one year warranty! This means if anything happens to your pump the first three years you have it, then you’ve got nothing to worry about! This policy is right in line with Hygeia’s pledge to their customers!

Have I mentioned Hygeia’s pledge? It’s rather impressive.

“Hygeia is dedicated to increasing breastfeeding rates. We strive for a goal of “70/24” (70% of mothers breastfeeding for 24 months).

Hygeia supports breastfeeding moms through sales of our quality products which allows us to allocate at least 5% of our profits to supporting breastfeeding.

Knowing that most mothers currently breastfeed for only for a short period, often less than 3 months, Hygeia encourages a ‘rent first-then buy’ approach to breastpumps.

We believe that the Lactation Community, along with mother-to-mother support, is one of the key factors in extending breastfeeding rates. Hygeia listens to and supports Lactation Professionals who understand clearly that breastpumps are medical products and are merely another tool to be used to help the breastfeeding mom be more successful. Breastpumping should not interfere with breastfeeding but provide a means to maintain milk supply when mothers need to be separated from their child. Breastfeeding is always encouraged over breastpumping.

We make quality pumps and products for mothers. Our pumps incorporate a robust cylinder and piston design with some styles offering additional safety provided by a barrier filter. Hygeia pumps will always be marketed with integrity as we will endeavor to ‘do the right thing’ regarding satisfaction with our pumps. Our Total Compatibility Guarantee is an integral part of that effort.

Hygeia promises to be innovative in the creation of products and development of services that truly assist mothers and their caregivers.”

Wow. So, this is just about the company. Are we ready to hear about the actual pump itself?

I’ll admit, I was pretty loyal to another breast pump brand before trying Hygeia’s breast pump… But my loyalties have completely flipped! I wish I would have discovered Hygeia sooner, I would have never wasted the money on my other single-user, limited-warranty, non-returnable, non-eco-friendly pumps! Hygeia’s entire goal, mission and how they go about conducting business, it’s commendable and inspiring. They deserve recognition for the good they are doing!

On to the pump.

Here’s the feature list from Hygeia’s website.

Proven performance for working moms with long-term and frequent pumping needs. Plus, your satisfaction is guaranteed
Usually more affordable than other rental pumps
More portable and convenient than other rental pumps
Features the unique Hygeia CARE Button for Customized, Audio, Recording, Experience so you can record your baby or other sound to enhance your breastpumping experience
Offers single or double pumping flexibility
Electric or battery operation with the included internal battery pack. The rechargeable battery is ideal for battery-dependent pumpers
Green Breastpump, Can be shared by multiple mothers when each has her own personal accessory set
Recycle the EnJoye when you no longer need it. See recycling instructions.
Mimics your baby’s unique suckling patterns with customizable speed and pressure controls
Safe, because all parts that come into contact with breastmilk are

Assembly of the pump was incredibly easy to figure out. I didn’t have any trouble with it. It did take me a minute to figure out the right combinations of the strength and speed settings, but other than that it was pretty simple and straightforward.

The settings are really cool. You can adjust the speed and the suction strength. Every other pump I’ve ever had, you have a slow speed, with low suction, or a fast speed with high suction. You couldn’t have a little bit of both. With the EnJoye pump you can! It’s awesome. Also, on every other breast pump I’ve had, I’ve always had to use the maximum setting. On the Hygeia breast pump, I didn’t have to! I was incredibly impressed with the suction speeds, strength and pattern. It was incredibly comfortable. It didn’t hurt. It wasn’t annoying (sometimes, breast pumps feel physically irritating and annoying). It was pretty comfortable. I actually didn’t dread pumping the next time. Normally, I don’t like pumping (Who does? It’s kind of boring…) but it was comfortable, so I wasn’t trying to put it off like I tend to do with my other pumps sometimes.

One thing I really liked was that the tubing was much longer than the tubing on some of my other pumps. It makes it easier because I don’t have to sit in awkward positions just to be able to reach my pump. I could lean back, relax, and just be comfortable… Which is something new when pumping! I’m so used to having to sit really close to the pump (often on the floor if I have to plug the pump in)! So this was a very welcome change!

Another really unique feature that I have never seen in any other breast pump is the C.A.R.E. feature. It stands for Customized Audio Recording Experience. You can actually record your baby crying on to the pump, and play it back later when you’re pumping. The whole idea behind this, is that the sound of the baby crying helps trigger the let down reflex, and makes pumping easier. Trust me! It works with me! It dosen’t even have to be my baby! Heck, it dosen’t even have to be a baby! My five-year-old brother was crying and asked me for a hug when I was still breastfeeding my daughter and I ended up getting the let-down reflex! So, if you’re a mom who has a little bit of difficulty getting let-down, then this could be really handy for you!

There was really only one thing I could think of that would improve the pump, and that would be to make the shields pull off of the pump assembly to make it a little bit easier to clean (and easier to fit into a makeshift pumping bra), but other than that it was amazing.

I emailed Hygeia again, letting them know just how impressed I was with them. I seriously, can’t stress it enough. This company is amazing and they are doing an incredible thing for our world. I really hope that women will see this, and start bringing their business to Hygeia, rather than wasting money on single-user non-environmentally-friendly pumps. Hygeia not only carries a great product, but they’ve got a good set of values, ethics, and adhere to a very admirable credo.

I know one thing. I will never buy another breast pump from any other company again. Hygeia is it for me. They’re helping me. They’re helping women. They’re helping the planet. They’re helping the world. And it’s incredibly rare to find a company that does that anymore. They truly are one in a million.

Why don’t you take a moment to check out their website. Heck, you can even find them on facebook. Become a fan, let them know what you think and keep up to date with their products! I enjoyed doing this review, and hopefully, I’ll be able to work with Hygeia more in the future.

So, why don’t you leave me a comment and let me know what you think about pumping. Do you love it? Hate it? Don’t have an opinion? What’s the hardest thing and the easiest thing about it? Why do you do it? Let me know your thoughts and you could win a secret prize from me, personally! (This prize will not be useful to women who are not currently breastfeeding.)

**This post contains affiliate links. I recieved a sample product in exchange for an honest review and critique.

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