Friday, August 23, 2013

Cloth Diapers for Mama? Mama Cloth!

Once you start cloth diapering, it's not long before you are exposed to all sorts of cloth replacements for disposable items. For example, some people start using cloth "paper" towels that are washed and reused. Others use "family cloth" instead of toilet paper. Reusable snack bags are becoming popular in favor of plastic baggies. And of course, cloth wipes are an obvious accessory to cloth diapering.

       

Click any of the three pictures above for links to their original sites!
Months ago, a friend asked me if I make "mama cloth." I hadn't heard of them yet, so I looked it up and couldn't believe all the styles (just look at this google image search). As it turns out, some women ditch their disposable monthly feminine products for cloth pads, affectionately known as "mama cloth." I was intrigued, not only because they were really cute, but because it reminded me that women of the past must have used some cloth version of pads before the disposable ones were around.

Imagine trying to use one of these beauties!

I looked at a few online tutorials and came up with my own version of mama cloth for my friend. Then, I made a whole stash for myself. I couldn't resist. Is it weird that I actually looked forward to my next visit from Aunt Flo so I could try them out?

Making your own mama cloth is easy and inexpensive, especially if you repurpose fabric that you already own. To start, you have to design a simple pattern. I made mine with a disposable pad as a model.


First, I traced the pad onto a simple paper grocery bag (my favorite choice for pattern material). Then, I held the pad perpendicular to the tracing, and marked where the ends of the pads landed. After setting the pad aside, I drew concave curved lines to connect the tracings. This pattern will be used to cut the outer layers of the mama cloth. You will also need a pattern for the inner absorbent layers, which is just an outline of the model pad.


Use your pattern to cut out two pieces of flannel (I used old receiving blankets). I recommend having two different colors/patterns on your flannel so you can remember which side is the absorbent side. With the "right" side of the flannels facing in, sew a seam around the edge of the two pieces, remembering to leave a small gap (about 3 inches) for inserting your inner layers. Flip this "pocket" you created inside-out.


Next, cut out your inner layers. You have a LOT of fabric options for this part. You can use t-shirts, towels, washcloths, flannel, or combinations of these fabrics to create your absorbent layer. I also like to include a waterproof layer so I don't have to worry about any leaking. Some people use fleece or wool for waterproofing their cloth diapers, but I don't know how they would work for mama cloth. I chose an unused super-shammy (why not?) as my absorbent material, with a backing of PUL (same material used for cloth diaper covers) to make my mama cloth waterproof.

Whatever materials you choose, sew them to each other so that they stay together. I ran a seam around the middle of my oval. Then, insert your inner layers into your outer "pocket."


Now you have to close the gap you left open. Tuck in the edges of the two flannel fabrics and pin them to each other. Before sewing the gap closed, I like to sew all the way through my inner and outer layers. Since you can't really see what you're sewing, you have to feel for the edges inside to make sure your seams actually go through the fabrics.


Next, sew a seam around the outermost edge of your flannel fabrics. This seam not only closes the gap, but keeps your flannel fabrics from shifting too much when they are worn and washed.


Finally, add your closures of choice. I like snaps, but some people prefer Velcro.

I LOVE my new mama cloth stash for several reasons:
1. They are much more comfortable than disposable pads. I don't feel like I'm wearing a mini diaper.
2. They are WAY more cute than disposable pads.
3. They don't shift around at all because the flannel is not a slippery fabric against cotton underwear.
4. They fold up nice and small for travel and storage.
5. They have the same wash routine as my cloth diapers, so I just toss them in the same load with my diapers!
6. I don't have to buy pads month after month...or worry about running out!

Needless to say, I don't think I'm ever going back.

3 comments:

  1. You know, I bet you could use an old plastic backed mattress pad for the absorbent material, if it is not too thick. Just thinking it through.

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  2. May I recommend looking at the reusable mensie kits for Days for Girls? The use of PUL is great to keep them leak proof. There are liners that hold the flannel pads. You use as many pads as needed depending on how heavy you flow. Check out DaysforGirls.org

    ReplyDelete
  3. May I recommend looking at the reusable mensie kits for Days for Girls? The use of PUL is great to keep them leak proof. There are liners that hold the flannel pads. You use as many pads as needed depending on how heavy you flow. Check out DaysforGirls.org

    ReplyDelete