Hi everyone! My name is Amanda. I'm a proud mama to a wonderful four year old daughter and a wife to a pretty awesome guy. I love to sew, craft, and save money. Who doesn't like that last one?! So, I coupon, make our cleaning products, sew some of our clothes from scratch, and prepare home cooked meals, all so that I only have to work part time, and my husband doesn't have to work overtime or two jobs for us to get by. We value our time with each other and our daughter, and being frugal gives us more of that time together.
Recently, my husband and I started to entertain the idea of a second child. Yes, it took me almost five years to forget the discomforts of pregnancy, the pain of childbirth, and the sleepless nights with a newborn. Wait, did I say we wanted a second child?
Ahhh, but yes. We aren't trying yet, but I've already begun to think of ways to save money with baby #2. An obvious way to do that is by using cloth diapers and wipes, especially if I sew my own. An hour into Googling cloth diapering, I realized that all the information out there is a little overwhelming. Pre-fold or pocket diapers? Sized or one-size? All-in-one diaper? And what do I do with all the POOP?! It wasn't that long ago that parents used a piece of cloth and a safety pin, right?
So, I figured out that I have a lot to learn about it all, but I decided to run with what I do know: how to sew a square.
Here's how to make soft, unique, save-a-lot-of-money-down-the-road cloth wipes:
Supplies: 1 yard terry fabric (same as in bath towels and wash cloths)
1 yard cotton flannel
1 spool of thread
When deciding on your fabric, you probably aren't going to find terry and flannel that match exactly, unless you choose a solid color for both. Terry usually comes in solid colors, and flannel comes in many, many colors and prints. Just choose one of each that you like and that coordinate well. For this tutorial, I chose brown terry and a printed flannel.
Wash and dry your fabric before you begin, just in case it shrinks any. You don't want to sew all your wipes and then have them shrink the first time you dry them!
After you wash and dry the fabric, cut off the strings that have unraveled from the raw edges. As you will soon learn, terry is very messy! Then, iron the wrinkles out of your fabric.
Now, you're going to cut your flannel and terry into 8 1/2 inch by 8 1/2 inch squares. How you do this is up to you, but I used an old fashioned ruler and scissors. (I believe a cutting mat and rotary tool would make it much simpler, but leave it to me to do it the hard way.)
I measured 8 1/2 inches from the factory edge of the fabric (not the edge the nice person in the store cut for you, as it may not be completely straight), and marked it with pins in many locations, so that I had a line of pins 8 1/2 inches from the factory edge. Then, I cut along that line of pins.
I then removed the pins and cut 8 1/2 inch squares from the piece of fabric that I just measured and cut off. Repeat this process until you've used all your terry and flannel to make your squares. These squares don't have to be (and probably won't be) perfect. Just try to get them as even and square as possible. *NOTE* Your finished product will be 7 1/2 inches by 7 1/2 inches, the perfect size if you plan to store them in a disposable wipe container.
Take a square of flannel and a square of terry, and pin them with right sides together. The right side of the flannel is the printed side, and the terry that I got from Jo-Ann doesn't have a right or wrong side.
Beginning in the middle of the length of one side, start to sew around the square, 1/2 of an inch inside of the raw edge. End your seam 2 inches from the beginning of you seam. This 2 inch opening is where you will turn your wipe inside out. *HINT* At the corners, leave your needle in the fabric, lift your machine foot, and pivot the fabric so that you have a nice 90° angle.
If you know a thing or two about sewing machines, you'll notice that I'm using a zipper foot. I lost my all purpose foot and will have a replacement in a few days. Notice my two inch opening where the seam does not meet in bottom of the next picture.
Trim the edges and corners of your wipe like so:
Do NOT trim the edge where your opening is located. Leave it as seen in the next picture.
Now, turn your wipe inside out by pulling the wipe through that 2 inch opening that you created earlier. *HINT* You may need to use a pencil or some other long, pointed object to fully push the corners out.
Press the wipe with a warm iron, being sure to tuck the raw edges of the opening back inside the wipe so that your finished edge is nice and neat. Use a pin or two to hold the tucked edges, if necessary.
Sew around the entire wipe, 1/4 of an inch inside of the edges.
Make sure you catch the tucked edges of the opening in the new seam, so that it is sewn shut. In the next picture, you can see that it is now closed.
Iron the wipe to flatten it and remove any wrinkles, and you should have a complete, homemade baby wipe!
One yard of flannel and one yard of terry should yield 16 wipes.
Here's my cost breakdown for this tutorial:
1 yard 41" flannel $2.99 (sale price at Jo-Ann)
1 yard 44" terry $5.99 (regular price at Jo-Ann is $9.99 but I used a 40% off coupon)
1 spool of thread $2.79
Total Cost: $11.77 plus tax
Total cost of a 504 count box of Pampers wipes from Wal-Mart: $11.97 plus tax
So, for the price of about a month's supply of disposable wipes, you just made 16 cloth wipes that will last you through your entire span of diapering (and can be reused for more than one child as well). That is my idea of a great deal!
(Side note: Seriously, how awesome is she?)
I really hope you enjoy Amanda's post and hopefully she'll be back to teach us more about of her money saving techniques.