Friday, April 11, 2014

DIY Baby Gear- Cloth Wipes, Diaper Inserts, and Infinity Nursing Scarf

My working definition of a thrifty DIY project is one you can complete yourself for less money than if you bought it at the store or paid someone else to do it. Of course, you need to factor in your time, skill level, supply cost, willingness to learn, and tolerance for frustrating and bewildering outcomes. It's okay to buy it or pay someone else if your sanity is on the line! But, if you have the time and inclination, you can save a fair amount of money... especially if you are willing to let go of the idea of perfection and are ready to learn as you go along.

With a baby on the way, I decided my time and my mediocre sewing skills were enough to embark on some DIY baby projects. I calculated the cost before I began to make sure I was saving enough money to make it worth my while (and my sanity!). I used tutorials I found on Pinterest to guide me on my quest to DIY Baby Gear.  Rather than go through the steps of each project in this post, I have linked to the original tutorials I used for further directions. Here are three things I've made so far:

1. Cloth Wipes 
Since we are cloth diapering (or going to attempt it!), it only makes since to use cloth wipes. You can mix up a homemade wipe solution or just use water to clean baby's tush, and the wipes just go in the diaper pail and laundry with the diapers. I used this tutorial on Homemade Ginger to get me started.

I spent about $3 to make my stash of cloth wipes from flannel. Simply cut two layers of flannel to the size you want and stitch around the edges.  And when you start to worry that your stitches aren't perfect, remember that the sole purpose of this cloth is to wipe poo. Perfection not required!
DIY Flannel Wipes
Cut two layers of flannel to the size you want and stitch them together.
I also bought two packs of cheap baby washcloths for 98 cents each that I will also use as baby wipes. So for $5, I have our wipe stash ready to go!

2. Diaper Inserts
I tend to research things to death before I decide to do something, and cloth diapering was no exception. There are TONS of resources about cloth diapering online--YouTube videos, blogs, and informational sites from cloth diapering companies and distributors. It can be very overwhelming, especially when you haven't learned the lingo. (There are lots of good places to start, but here is one helpful website called Cloth Diaper Revival if you are interested in learning more about the "new" world of cloth diapering.)

I've purchased several different styles of diapers and will wait to buy more until hubby and I decide what kind works best for us. But one thing I've read over and over again, regardless of diaper brand, is that is helpful to have extra diaper "inserts" to help boost absorbency.  I bought a package of 3 microfiber inserts for about $11 to see what they were exactly, but then I found a tutorial on Journey of Grace on how to make my own.

I used an old fleece blanket we had that was starting to show wear in places, and I had a small stash of unused microfiber cloths leftover from when I bought some in bulk for household cleaning.  So, these homemade microfiber diaper inserts didn't cost me a (new) dime! Sure, they aren't white like regular diaper inserts, but again, they are going to be covered in poo, so not a problem.

DIY Fleece and Microfiber Inserts
Top- my three DIY inserts next to the store-bought insert; Bottom Left- the piece of fleece and the microfiber before cutting; Bottom Right- a finished insert, stitched around the edges.
3. Infinity Nursing Scarf
I nursed my two older children, and I plan to nurse this baby as well. I remember trying to toss a receiving blanket over my hungry kiddos for a little privacy, but as they got more coordinated, both kids would throw that blanket off in a hurry. Now that I'm older, I am not nearly as modest and will probably whip it out in public and polite company without batting an eye. But in the interest of sparing my older children embarrassment and lifelong humiliation, I thought I better have a few resources to "cover up" when feeding the baby.

I purchased some knit fabric with a coupon, so it cost me about $3. I followed the tutorial on Diary of a Mad Crafter for making an infinity nursing scarf; however, my scarf is really short when wrapped around my neck twice. I don't like having things so tight around my neck, so I wish it was longer. A few of the people posting comments had the same problem--the scarf isn't as long as it shows in the blogger's pictures, and I'm not sure why. The resulting scarf is 30 inches, so when it's doubled, it would only be 15 inches, which is why it hugs the neck. In any case, it gives me the basic idea of how to make infinity scarfs that double as nursing covers, and being a knit fabric, there is very little sewing involved. Hurray!

Infinity Nursing Scarf
Left- My length of knit fabric before folding and sewing; Top Right- Sewing the ends together; Bottom Right- Wearing the scarf double wrapped... it's a bit snug.
Infinity Nursing Scarf
The finished product draped just once around my neck, and then held out to show room for baby (and currently covering preggo belly).
So all in all, my mediocre sewing skills have saved me quite a bit of money, if all goes according to plan. (And I'm proud to report I only swore ONCE during all these sewing projects! Either I'm getting better at sewing, or these projects weren't too hard.) We shall see once baby is born whether my DIY efforts were worth it or not.

~Mulligan Mama

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