I guess this isn’t really a “Make-It Monday,” more of a “Fix-It Monday” :) I got a ton of BumGenius 3.0 one size pocket diapers for cheap off craigslist. They were in pretty rough shape. One example:
It may not be real obvious from this picture, but the front velcro/aplix was super pilly, the elastic in the legs was loose, the tabs were curling… this diaper had definitely seen better days. But the PUL was good (I’ve owned tons of BGs over the years and can count on one hand the number that had PUL issues) so with just a bit of effort, I was able to turn it into something much more usable — and much cuter!
These basic techniques can be used to fix up just about any kind of pocket diaper.
Step 1: Let ‘er rip
I started by grabbing my seam ripper and pulling off all the “bad” stuff I wanted to replace.
First up was the elastic. There are lots of different ways to replace elastic, depending on whether you prefer hand vs. machine sewing (I loathe hand sewing!), whether the elastic is sewn down in the casing vs. just tacked down on the ends (BG’s have it just tacked down on the ends), whether the elastic is easily accessible via the diaper’s pocket vs. sewn inside an AIO or fitted, etc.
What I did was carefully remove a few stitches around one end of an elastic casing. In this picture, I’ve drawn over the remaining stitching in black. You can see how there are stitches missing from the very end of the casing.
Through the hole, I could see where the elastic was tacked (sewn) down. I pulled the elastic out through the hole and snipped it close to where it was tacked down. Then I removed a few stitches around the other end of the casing, pulled the elastic all the way out, and snipped it again. I repeated this until I had removed the elastic from both legs and the back.
Next came the velcro. If a diaper just has icky tabs and/or laundry tabs (the piece on the inside of the diapers to which you stick the tabs when laundering), I replace those, which is really quick and easy to do: Pull off the old ones, sew on new ones. Do not use Velcro brand hook/loop tape. It sucks. You’ll want to order the good stuff from an online store that specializes in diaper-making stuff, like Wazoodle or Diaper Sewing Supplies. Another option is to order the Cotton Babies refresher kits, which include precut aplix tabs and laundry tabs (as well as elastic), and are only $1 apiece with free shipping. That’s more expensive per yard/inch/whatever than bulk aplix, but if you only have a few diapers to fix up, it’ll wind up being a lot cheaper overall.
Here’s how I pull off the tabs. I cut them in half, which makes it easier to get in there with my seam ripper. Ewwwww, look how gross that old tab was.
Now, this diaper had an icky front aplix strip too, and that strip is really hard to replace. It’s much easier to just convert the diaper to a snap closure. So, I went ahead and carefully pulled off the entire front aplix strip.
Here’s the stripped-down diaper. (In this picture, I know it looks like there’s still elastic in the casing, but there’s not — the legs/back have just been scrunched up for so long that they stay that way!)
Step 2: Getting snap happy
You can use either a snap press or snap pliers to add snaps. I have both. The pliers are much cheaper, but I strongly prefer the press for doing snap conversions. I find that when I use the pliers, I can’t “smoosh” the front snaps at quite the right angle, so they are hard to snap closed. The press works flawlessly every time. That said, the pliers do work OK so if you don’t want to invest in a press, the pliers are definitely a workable option.
I’ve done a lot of BG snap conversions, so I have a snap template, traced onto vinyl with all the appropriate markings so I can get things lined up right. (There is a good template here to get you started.) I even added a row of sockets to my template vinyl so that I can snap them in to the top row of rise snaps and keep the template from moving around too much.
It is hard to see in that picture, but there are holes punched in the vinyl for the snap holes. I took a washable marker and marked through the holes in the vinyl. I find that my marks usually aren’t quite straight, so I take a yard stick and draw straight lines across the diaper and use those as guidelines when placing my snaps. My top row of snaps is about 1″ down from the top of the diaper, and the bottom row is another 1″ down from the top row.
For this diaper, I chose pink snaps. If you want your snaps to match your diaper, KAM Snaps sells matching snaps for the other BumGenius colors (besides white, obviously). Look for the colors that start with “BG.”
Anyway, once I finished the front snaps, I brought the tabs around to the front (like I was fastening the diaper) and felt through the tab for where the underlying snaps were. Then I marked those locations on the tab.
All done. So much better than that old yucky aplix.
Step 3: Ruffles have ridges
The pink snaps were a good start, but I wanted to spice up this boring white diaper even more. I decided to add a snap-on ruffle to the back. Snap-on ruffles are awesome: They are super easy to add to an already-sewn diaper (a sewn-on ruffle is easiest to add before you sew the diaper together), super easy to remove if you don’t want a “fancy” diaper that day, super easy to put on a different diaper, etc. I got the idea from this tutorial, but I made a couple of slight modifications.
I measured about 1″ above the end of the leg elastic. The diaper was about 10″ wide at that point. I made five marks, about every 2″, starting 1″ from each side.
I put a strip of PUL behind this line to reinforce.
Then I added a snap at each mark. I used white sockets, so that they would not be very noticeable when the ruffle was detached.
Next I moved on to making the ruffle itself. For the backing, I took a strip of PUL 9″ wide (remember, my outermost snaps were about 8″ apart) and 4.5″ high. I made a mark 1.5″ down from the top.
I folded up the bottom of the PUL strip to the mark, with shiny sides together. I used a glue stick to baste it down.
I flipped the strip over, so that the folded-up piece was on the bottom. I drew three vertical lines to divide the width of the strip into quarters, roughly 2.25″ apart. Then I made three horizontal lines. The first was about a quarter inch down from the fold, the last was about a quarter inch up from the raw edge (I could see it through the fabric), and the third line was a little less than halfway between the other two.
Next I moved on to the ruffles themselves. I made them out of strips of PUL, 18″ wide (i.e. twice as long as my backing) and 3″ tall. I drew vertical lines to divide them into quarters, too. (Yep, I goofed on my original lines on the top white strip…)
I did a basting stitch (0 tension, long stitch length) down the middle of each strip, then pulled on the bobbin thread to create the ruffle.
Working with the first ruffle, I pinned it down to the backing strip so that the center of the ruffle matched up with the first horizontal line I had drawn. I lined up the vertical lines on the ruffle with the vertical lines on the backing strip — this helped ensure I had distributed the ruffle relatively evenly.
Then I sewed down the ruffle along the basting line. And repeated all this for the other two ruffles, sewing them along the other two horizontal lines.
The ruffle looked great… the back, not so much. Crooked stitching, etc.
So I folded up the bottom part of the backing strip over the top part (where all the stitching was) and topstitched it down. Way better.
Then I placed the backing strip over the snaps on the diaper back. I felt for the location of the snaps on the diaper and marked them on the backing strip. I added the snaps to the backing strip, in the wider of the two gaps between ruffles.
The end result!
Step 4: It’s elastic… boogie woogie woogie
I had to pull the pretty ruffle off and get back to work finishing my fix-up job. The last remaining piece was to replace the elastic. There are lots of different ways to do this. I’ve described what I’ve found to be the easiest way for me, but your mileage may vary.
Remember how I had unpicked the ends of the casing to cut out the old elastic? Now I sewed them back up, leaving just enough room to get the new elastic in. Again, in these pictures, I’ve drawn over the remaining stitching in black to make it more visible.
This is the front of the diaper. The casing has a very defined end here, so I sewed up to the point where the stitching “turns” perpendicular back to the edge of the diaper. This left the end of the casing open.
In the back of the diaper, the casing “trails off” to meet the topstitching. So I just left a hole around where the old elastic was tacked down.
I cut the elastic. I use Wazoodle elastic and love it, but you can definitely use the elastic you can buy at Joann’s, even Walmart. Just make sure you get the stuff that says it’s chlorine safe and suitable for washing at up to 200 degrees F. BumGenius diapers need 1/4″ elastic.
As for length, the elastic that comes in the repair kits from Cotton Babies is 4.75″. I like having a bit more of a tail to work with (if you tack down too close to the end of the elastic, it’s liable to pull through the stitching and come loose), so I added .75″ to each end, for a total of 6.25″. I marked off that extra .75″ on both ends.
I put safety pins on both ends of the elastic.
I inserted the elastic into the casing at the back of the diaper. The marks I made on the elastic came in handy for making sure I didn’t twist the elastic inside the casing. Here, I’m putting it in with the mark up/facing the diaper inner, so it better come out the other end with the mark up/facing the diaper inner…
I used the safety pin to move the elastic down the casing until the mark at the other end of the elastic was about to disappear into the casing. See that little bit of blue about to go into the casing?
I removed the safety pin and stitched the casing closed on that end, taking care not to move the elastic around before I got it sewn down. I went back and forth a couple of times, as this would be the only seam holding that elastic in place! Here’s the sewn-down elastic:
I finished pulling the elastic through the casing, scrunching up the diaper as I went. I pulled it way through so that the mark on that end of the elastic was visible.
Then I stitched that end of the casing closed as well.
Close up of the casing:
I repeated that process to replace the elastic in the other leg and the back. The back elastic in a BG is the same length as the leg elastic.
Step 5: Admire!
And there you have it… a complete overhaul!