This is a bathroom-themed post, so if that’s tmi, here’s your fair warning to mosey along now.
For some time, we’ve been on a mission to reduce the amount of disposable stuff we use. It’s cheaper and far more environmentally sound to go with reusable products, and we’ve found that it’s a lot easier than it seems. Our son has been in homemade cloth diapers since he was born, and I barely even notice the extra loads of laundry. Amy at Crunchy Domestic Goddess has a challenge on her site about ditching disposables – check it out if you’re looking for inspiration.
Anyway, I started thinking… Why not make myself cloth wipes that I can use instead of toilet paper when I pee? I wash diapers all the time – how hard would it be to toss in some little squares of cloth along with the diapers? So I got out my sewing stuff and my recycled fabric. Remember the flannel sheets that I got at a thrift store before our son was born? Those sheets have definitely earned their keep around here. Diapers, a sling, more diapers, and they’re still going strong.
I cut little rectangles of fabric from one of the sheets, about eight inches by four inches. Then I folded them in half and sewed around the open edges, leaving a little space to turn them inside out. Then I stitched up the open space… done and done. It took me about 45 minutes to cut out and sew 20 little squares. Now I have nice soft flannel double-thick squares of fabric, instead of toilet paper. And I’m the only girl in the house, so they’re all mine. I toss them in the diaper pail, and they use no extra resources at all, since I’m running the washing machine anyway, with or without them. By the way, I’m a very well-hydrated girl, so those 20 squares last me two days – I was going through a lot of toilet paper.
(I should note that this is not an original idea. My parents did this when I was a kid, long before “green” was the buzz word of the decade.)
That got me on a roll, and I started thinking again about all the tampons I’ve thrown away over the years. I checked out some of the websites that sell cloth pads, and considered buying some. But then I thought about what an awesome sense of satisfaction I get from making stuff myself. And even though my sewing skills are nothing to brag about, I figured that if I could manage to make diapers, I could make a pad. I read through the directions I found on several websites, and then I sat down to give it a try. I’ve found that with diapers, I prefer pockets and inserts rather than having the soaker layer built into the diaper. So I skipped the extra layer, and just cut out the front and back of the pad (the back is made of two overlapping pieces). Other than that, I followed all the steps listed. Then I made an insert using a layer of flannel from the sheet, a middle layer cut from an old towel, and a backing layer made from an old fleece sweatshirt that I had been using to make diaper liners. The fleece provides some waterproofing, but you can also use wool. I’m thrilled with how well it turned out, given that it’s my first try. Here’s a picture of the pad and the liner:
And a picture of everything all put together, with the wings folded underneath:
I still need to figure out a snap. I’m going into town tomorrow, so I’ll browse around at the craft store and see what they have in the way of snaps. This project took me about 30 minutes, from start to finish. My sewing machine is quite old and before I started making diapers last year, my previous sewing experience was limited to home ec class in 1990. So trust me, if I can do this, anyone can.