8/26/22 7:46 AM
Did you know that fleece is actually a decent dupe for wool?
Clearly, it's not a natural fiber. That's the major downside. But it's water resistant, like wool (not waterproof) and when used as a cover, it can be reused several times. However, while wool can be used potentially for days before needing to be cleaned- fleece will need to be rotated more frequently (about like you would a PUL cover).
Since fleece is easy to find at a thrift store or local Wal-Mart- it's the perfect material for budget cloth diaper covers. There are several ways to make them, that basically fall into two categories: Sewn and No-Sew Covers.
My experience with each type
While I was making my diaper stash for this challenge, I heard about no-sew fleece covers. I originally planned to make some, but then I decided I should step it up and actually sew some covers from a free pattern I found. Since starting the challenge however, I have discovered that I made a miscalculation on my baby's leg size. Somehow I didn't notice it when fitting the diapers on her- but the legs are just a little bit too big around and let pee pass right through.
Clearly, that's not ideal. We made it work by using origami folded flats under the cover to keep leg leakage to a minimum. Then it was naptime. I knew that gappy covers were not going to work for us for nap.
So I pulled out my leftover fleece fabric- which I had a ton of- and set to work making a no-sew fleece cover. It took less than 5 minutes, even on my first attempt. I put it on Baby, and it worked beautifully. It even managed to contain an explosive poop that came shortly thereafter.
In all honesty, I think that the sewn covers would have worked just as well- if only I had taken extra measures to ensure that they would fit my baby's legs. I think that both styles are excellent. Here are the pros and cons for each type:
Sewn Fleece Covers
- Easy to put on and reuse
- Have less of a "DIY" feel to them
- Good leg seal (if measured correctly)
- Good for bulky absorbency (nighttime, etc)
- Ideally should be made with a serger
- Time consuming
- Potentially difficult to size correctly to your baby.
No-Sew Fleece Covers
- Customized fit every time
- Easy to make
- Doesn't require a sewing machine
- Good containment of messes
- Easy to wash and dry
- It takes practice to get a good fit
- Looks somewhat "rustic" when finished
- Not caregiver friendly
How to make them:
Here, I'll direct you to the resources I used for each project and add a few helpful notes where needed.
Sewn Fleece Covers
I used "Katrina's Sew Quick Soaker Pattern" available for free here: http://katrinassqs.blogspot.com/2007/10/free-soaker-pattern.html
I also really enjoyed this video from ArfyMakes on YouTube that walks you through the process: https://youtu.be/SiuBuxmb04I
I used this video from Jess is Blessed to make my no-sew covers: https://youtu.be/72P08eXXpC4
She gives very basic measurements in this tutorial, and the measurements are not complete if you're making a smaller size (the example she gives is for a toddler). I made the medium size- I cut a 20x20 square, made the leg curve start 5 inches from the edge on both sides, and just eyeballed the rest.
Rest assured, it's not precise. When in doubt, cut less fabric to start, and trim more if needed.
I hope that this helps someone hoping to cloth diaper on a budget. Please share with someone that could use it, and message me with any questions! I'm happy to help!