|PUL flip covers...aren't the fabrics adorable?|
The flip cover diapers pictured above were recently ordered by a friend. Flip covers are used as a waterproof barrier that keeps diaper messes from leaking onto baby's clothes. I make mine with a fabric called PUL (polyurethane laminate), which has a urethane layer (waterproof side) bonded to a polyester or poly/cotton blend (printed fabric side). They are not absorbent, so a prefold, flat, or fitted diaper has to be worn inside. Flip covers can be made to fit a particular size, but I like to make them with an adjustable rise to grow with baby. They can be fastened with Velcro or snaps.
I found a free pattern for making diapers online. The patterns come in two sizes, small or large. Since my friend's daughter is about 25 pounds, she ordered the large diaper, which would fit a baby ranging from about 20-40 pounds. After my friend picked out her fabric, I cut out all my pieces (front flap, main cover, and back flap).
Next, I used a ruler and a permanent marker to indicate where I wanted my snaps to go. I copied the snaps placement from another diaper I own (sorry, it's hard to see the dots I drew because of the fabric pattern!).
Before adding snaps, I ironed remnants of PUL fabric to the back of the cover. The urethane layers can be bonded to each other with heat. This reinforces the area where the snaps go. Without reinforcement, repeated snap use can stretch out the hole and pop off.
You just have to be careful not to bond the fabric to your iron! If the iron touches the urethane side of the PUL, it will melt it off. I found that placing the tip of the iron on the patterned side of the scrap bonded the two pieces just enough to flip the cover over. Then I could place the entire iron surface onto the patterned side of my main cover to ensure that the scraps were completely bonded.
With the scrap PUL ironed in place, I took out my snaps pliers and and added the snaps. If you'd rather have Velcro, stay tuned for a future post!
Next, I trimmed the corners of the main cover and front and back flaps. A round edge is easier to work with when you use fold-over elastic (FOE). FOE is a type of elastic that has a crease down the middle to make folding easier. You sandwich the PUL fabric inside the FOE for a nice, finished edge to your diaper. When you want your fabric to be gathered, you pull the FOE so that it is stretched out while you are sewing. Then, when it retracts, the fabric sewn inside is gathered.
There are many different widths of FOE available to buy. I use 1-inch FOE for diapers.
I began sewing the FOE on the front side of the diaper, looping my way down the leg area, then coming around the back, and finally ending up at the opposite front side. There are marks on the free online patterns that indicate where you should start and stop gathering the PUL inside your FOE.
I used a separate piece of FOE across the front to hide my raw ends of FOE from earlier. If it's needed, I return to the FOE ends with some hand sewing to make sure nothing appears unfinished.
After all the FOE was sewn on, I added my final snaps to the side arms.
There you have it, a finished flip cover.
As far as I know, flip covers, paired with whatever absorbent inners you chose, are among the cheapest cloth diaper systems. This system also dries the fastest and requires the smallest number of diapers. PUL covers can be washed along with soiled cloths. Air drying is better than a dryer simply because it will prolong the life of the cover (especially covers with Velcro closures).
Jadon currently wears a rotation of just four flip covers that I made him. I made one cover slightly larger than the others for nighttime (which gets stuffed with three cloths to make it through the night!). I've found that three other covers are adequate for our daily needs. Flip covers do not need to be washed after every use. If Jadon has a wet diaper, the cloth goes into our wet bag for washing, and the cover is left out to dry. Also, if I notice a cover is smelly from several days of use, I'll throw it in the wet bag. If Jadon poops, and the cover gets really soiled, it goes into the wet bag with the dirty cloth. Otherwise, I just do a little spot cleaning with one of my cloth wipes, and let it dry.
It's a winning system, if you ask me!