Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How to make your own flannel diapers & burp cloths

These flannel diapers, in tattoo art and truck prints, can also be used as burp cloths

Yesterday when it was so smoky outside due to the wildfire on the coast I sewed all day and was able to knock out some new burp cloths for my son. Thank the Lord for Sister West of the LDS Church Garner Ward! She taught me this fast and easy pattern last summer when we were about to travel to China to pick up our youngest son. He was born with a cleft lip and palate which was not repaired when we adopted him, so he was a very drooly boy for a while! Anticipating that, I made four burp cloths to take with us.

Boy, was I glad I had them! Our son had been placed from the time he was a few days old with a wonderful foster family. In the foster home he slept with a washcloth and liked to rub the edges to put himself to sleep. He also slept in a family bed with his foster mother and had never slept alone. So, as you might imagine, the transition to a new family when he was 19 months old, sleeping in a crib, air-conditioning, speaking English, etc, was quite traumatic for him! We had all kinds of stuffed animals, security blankets, musical nighttime toys, but all he wanted was a burp cloth!

He still cannot sleep without at least one of those burp cloths; we don't even try to put him down without one! They are drug all over the house and town all day, riding in the car, wrapping up stuffed animals, lying next to him on the table at lunch and they get fantastically dirty! Since we only have four, we have had anxious moments waiting in front of the dryer for them to come out. It reminds me of the stories about one of my uncles, who had to stand by the clothes line holding his blanket and sucking his thumb as the blanket dried! So, new burp cloths were long overdue. It was actually the 30 minute drive (each way) to the fabric store that prevented these from being sewn earlier. I actually knocked out all four in less than an hour. I thought the tattoo art print was just too funny! It's not as soft as the truck print, though. The baby loved the truck print and was very cute: he grabbed the entire bolt and ran up to the cutting counter with it himself! All my children are well-versed in fabric store protocol from an early age!

So, as I mentioned, these are super fast and easy and can be used as a diaper or burp cloth. You can make them smaller or larger, but I am giving the instructions for a half-yard size. When I made the first ones they were actually smaller because I bought remnant flannel and just used what I had. If you are going to use these as diapers and fit is important make sure to pre-wash and dry your flannel so it shrinks before sewing and fitting.

To start, buy one yard of 45 inch flannel in your choice of print. Each yard will make two cloths. Fold the flannel in half width-wise, joining the cut edges with the selvages (finished edges) parallel to one another. Cut along the fold line so you have two half-yard pieces. Now fold each piece in half again in the same manner. Cut along each fold line. Now you will have four quarter yard pieces.

Fold each piece again width-wise with right,or printed, sides together. You will have a rectangle with the wrong, or unprinted, side facing out. Pin around the edges and sew, using about a 1/4 inch seam allowance, leaving a turning hole large enough to put your hand through. Turn each rectangle right side out. Press so the unfinished edges of the turning hole are folded under with the seam allowance. If desired slipstitch the opening by hand, or just leave it pressed under to finish later when you do the decorative stitching. Repeat until you have four rectangles.

Take one rectangle and fold in half lengthwise this time, joining the longer edges. Press to crease the center. Open and lay flat. Take a second rectangle and lay it on top of the first, lining one long edge of the second rectangle up with the center crease of the first. You should have a large rectangle made of two offset smaller rectangles (see the open cloth in the photo). This will make a thicker center for use as a diaper or very absorbent burp cloth. Pin the rectangle and stitch around the outside edges and center seams with the decorative stitch of your choice. You can do this by hand, but I prefer to use the machine as it is much faster. You will see I used a variety of stitches. I couldn't resist the heart pattern on the tattoo art print, though that thick pattern uses a lot of thread and takes longer. Now you are done! Repeat with the remaining two rectangles to create two burp cloths! For a newborn diaper size you will want to make them much smaller. I would recommend cutting them again in the beginning so you have 8 rectangles rather than four and making four diapers from each yard.

This is a wonderful baby gift as well as a useful item for new, or in my case, not-so-new mothers! I got flannel on sale for $3 a yard, so these cost me only $1.50 each! They are super thick and very durable for use as a blanket, diaper, or burp cloth. I am sure you will love and use them as much as we do.

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