Day 3: DIY Flat Diapers - DDL Flats & Handwashing Challenge

Today is Day #3 of the DDL Flats and Handwashing Challenge!  It's open topic day and I'm going to share a couple methods for making homemade flats!  So far, we are rocking the challenge here!  Definitely having fun and learning a lot!  After experimenting with some different folds yesterday I am back to the fold I made up on Day 1 because it's the only one I'm having success with absorbency-wise for my toddler.  I've been tweaking that fold and I think we're into a good routine now.  I'll definitely be sharing folding techniques later in the week!  Today has been a great day so far with no leaks, blow-outs, or damp covers at all!  In fact, today we've been rotating back and forth between the same two One-size Wool Wrap Diaper Covers all day and just airing between changes.  Even though I've allowed myself 6 covers for the challenge, we haven't had a day where we've needed more than 4. :)  I don't think I'll have any wool to launder tonight!

I made all our flats for the challenge myself.  Half of them I made from old undershirts that belonged to my husband and the other half from organic cotton interlock that I purchased by the yard.  Flats are really simple to make and if you don't own a sewing machine or serger you can even make no-sew flats just by choosing the right material (such as cotton interlock knit) that doesn't fray! 

Here's how easy it is:

Option #1: Make flat diapers from fabric yardage purchase online or at the fabric store...

Here is a lovely pile of uncut organic cotton interlock knit.  There are many places where you can purchase fabric by the yard that can be turned into homemade flat diapers!  Both woven and knit materials can be used for flats.  An example of a commonly used woven fabric would be cotton birdseye or diaper gauze.  I prefer knit fabrics because of the stretch they provide.  My little one has chunky thighs so it keeps her comfy.  You'll also get more use out of stretchy fabrics as your baby grows!  Some knit fabrics that can be turned into flat diapers are: interlock, french terry, fleece, and velour.  I personally would always opt for natural fibers and certified organic or Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified fabrics whenever possible.  There are many options for pure cotton as well as blends with hemp and bamboo that are great for diapers!  Do be careful with bamboo - not all bamboo is created equal and some, like "bamboo rayon," are really just like synthetic rayon because they are so highly (and chemically) processed.

Some online retailers of organic fabrics:

Organic Cotton Plus

Nature's Fabrics


Most knit fabrics are going to be 54-60" wide.  That means you'll get two flats out of a yard with some extra material to spare to make doublers, etc. with.  You can maximize your yardage by purchasing multiple yards in a continuous cut.  For example, even though you can only get 2 (26" x 26") flats out of 1 yard, you can get 8 flats out of 3 continuous yards.

Most flat diapers are about 26" or 27" square.

Many knit fabrics are tubular (i.e. they are in a round tube.  If you cut along one side of the tube your fabric will be 54-60" wide).  You can cut open the tube of fabric or just leave it tubular and cut out your 26" x 26" square and then cut along the fold of the side that's still connected and you have your two flats!  Easy as that! 

Here I am cutting along the existing fold of the tubular fabric.

My fabric was 60" wide, so the fabric tube was 30" wide and I only needed a 26" piece.  This left me with a 4" wide remainder to make doublers with!

8 flat diapers (they are in two layers the way they were cut, so it only looks like there's 4!)

At this point you're done if you are making no-sew flats!  Cotton interlock will not fray, so technically you don't HAVE to finish the edges.  The edges will roll up a little when washed, but they won't unravel.  If you have a sewing machine you can also hem them with a straight stitch and if you have a serger you can buy some pretty serger thread and finish the edges that way!  I have a serger, so I decided to finish mine off that way.

Here are a few pictures of my finished flats:

Option #2: There's another way to make flats for very little or zero cost!  You can use old t-shirts or thrift store finds.  Each shirt will get you 2 flat diapers (depending on the thickness of the t-shirt cotton you may need to double these up).

I made T-shirt flats using old undershirts of my husband's.  He's a size Large and so my flats were a little smaller than the standard size.  Ideally you would want to use Extra Large tees to get a decent size square.  I instead made mine rectangular and adjusted my folding method.

Here's how you make a T-shirt Flat Diaper:

Here's a plain, cotton undershirt.  I probably should have ironed it first since it had been in a box of scrap fabric for about a year, but....I was feeling lazy. ;)

Cut along the side of the shirt towards the arm-pit area.  Then cut along the sleeve seam to separate the sleeve from the body.  Repeat on the other side of the shirt.  Trim up any edges that are not straight and even.  We're going for a perfect square here (or rectangle if your shirts are smaller like mine)! 

Now cut off the neckline.  Make your cut nice and straight.  You can use scissors or a rotary cutter.

You can now separate the two, square pieces of fabric.  These are your two flat diapers!

Ta-da!  See how it looks like a diaper?! :)

Now put those awesome homemade diapers on your baby and feel PROUD!

#flatschallenge #bringingflatsback #makeclothmainstream #clothdiapers

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