January’s Friday Night Sew-In

Sewed up a KS empire waist wrap top, am at the hemming stage.  Yay! Handmade by Heidi hosts the sew-in one Friday a month


Merry Christmas from Brussels


Yes, we opened presents according to Belgian traditon on St Nicolas’ feast day, which is 6 December in Belgium. It’s 5 December in the Netherlands. Does anyone know why?

Sewing for the fourth trimester

The fourth trimester is the usual 3 months after giving birth when one still looks several months pregnant. Alistair is 9wks but I’m going with being 2mos postpartum, and not a week already into the last month of the fourth tri. Besides, 9 months up, 9 months down.
I’ve made a Burda Easy Fashion paneled skirt in a gorgeous wool, making the lining first to check the sizing.

Cloth diapering replies

Lara wrote:Hi! I hope you don’t mind that I followed the link to here from your response post at http://diapersewing.wordpress.com/2006/12/08/diy-prefold-diapers/. I am getting things ready to start my stash of prefold diapers, and reading your comment about the changes you made, I just wanted to ask how the prefolds with the pockets worked for you from how you described you made them? I have read that with a newborn, I really won’t need to add any inserts, but I figure if it will be necessary relatively soon I might as well learn to sew them that way at first since I am not very crafty anyway.

If I could press my luck with questions, I’d like to ask one other….another website suggested making the newborn prefolds larger and said folding the extra cloth in the back down would allow room to grow. I’m curious if you agree that this would not pose a problem?

Hi right back! Glad to see you here, and like most CD advocates I’m delighted to answer questions 🙂
I think newborn prefolds with a pocket insert are a good way to make them quick-drying for those of us who air- or sun-dry. If you plan to use a dryer then stuffing pockets might not be worth the couple minutes of extra work. It’s true, NBs have very small interiors and will hardly wet or soil at all. La Leche League’s guide to counting nappies to check if baby is getting enough says that a soil stain that is the size of an ‘OK’ sign with your fingers counts as one poo. Mothers who use disposables are advised to put in a tissue to see if their NB actually wet a diaper since the nappies are so absorbant. Truth is, you don’t really need a pocket to increase absorbancy. You can fold in, say, a cloth wipe or tea towel and lay that right over the nappy to increase absorbancy for overnight. Stuffing an extra ‘doubler’ or insert into a pocket doesn’t make a nappy any better than one with an insert put over it.

Yes, many people use prefolds that are quite long and fold down the extra in the back while the umbilical cord is healing. For girls, keep the fold in the back but for boys fold down in the front since their urine stream is more focussed.

I would decide which size based on what kind of outer waterproof/water-resistant shell I was going to put over it: what kind of cover. Are you planning on folding a prefold into thirds, then laying in a velcro wrap-style cover and putting it on? Something like a Bummis Whisper Wrap (so I’ve heard, I’ve never used one or seen one in person). You’ll want to choose your prefold size with the cover in mind. Or are you planning to independently secure the prefold with pins or a Snappi, then pop a cover over? In this case the length of the prefold isn’t as important, but you want to keep all the prefold inside the cover or some liquid can leech up and out of the cover, onto clothes.

Prefolds of any size generally keep their value very well because you can use those that become too small as burp cloths and as cleaning cloths.

HTH, Lara!

HappyinAsia wrote: Hi Katharine, what kind of disposables do they use at the creche? They sound totally nasty, but mostly it sounds like they don’t change them often enough. I use them with my girl and got 4leaks in 8 months and no diaper rash whatsoever. The diapers we use are fragrance free, but I was surprised to open a bag of canadian Pampers and smell heavy baby powder fragrance (was the first and last bag!)
Hi there HappyinAsia, I’d say you’re right, they don’t change them often enough and rely on heavy use of rash creme to keep rashiness in check, but DD got her first nappy rash in the hospital on Day 3 so I think she’s just susceptible to skin irritation.

Ick, a strong smell of baby powder sprayed into nappies! Yuck! What are you using, then?

She had 4 mosquito bites recently that were very close together and she itched them even with a soothing homeopathic anti-itch gel over them for days. The whole area puffed up and it looked like an allergic reaction to a spider bite, but there was just one prick in the bite and I killed the mosquito trapped in the mosquito net myself. I also get bumps and itches at the slightest… She’s had eczema for over a month, could be her skin is contributing to it.

Cloth diapering is easier

Having just hung up a load of cloth nappies to dry, I can firmly say that cloth diapering is easier than using disposables if you have a washing machine at home.

* No trip to the store: harder than it looks if you have a newborn and are too tired to get presentable, a little nervous about trekking out with a baby who could cry at any moment, and stores that close early like they do here in Belgium

* No taking out the extra rubbish while juggling a baby: just put in a load of laundry.

* No need to store enormous bulk packages of discounted diapers: where do you put those waist-high yellow and blue packages? It’s much easier to put 3 dozen nappies in a wicker basket next to yuor changing table, and that’s all that’s necessary, even for a prolific pooper.

* Natural fibre nappies = less nappy rash: the plastic outer coating of dispoables causes diaper rash. If you use cotton, hemp or bamboo diapers you won’t need to stock up on diaper creme. It’s full of chemicals that may or may not be good for your baby to metabolize through the skin. PEDIATRICS: Baby Care Products: Possible Sources of Infant Phthalate Exposure Besides, that stuff has an oily residue that builds up on cloth and you’d have to strip out of your diapers eventually to ensure they still absorb optimally.

* No lingering ‘baby product’ smell on your baby or in your house: not using nappy creme as much or at all means you won’t whiff that chemical scent we’ve come to associate with babies. This never occured to me before my daughter came home from the crèche with a nappy rash (they use disposables) and lots of rash creme on her bum. A visitor said, ‘oooh, now she smells like a baby!’. No, she smelled like zinc oxide and fish oils.

* They’re cheaper to use and launder than to buy disposables

* You save even more with subsequent children using the same diapers

* Fewer leaks = less time changing baby clothes = need fewer baby clothes: reusable fitted nappies have good elastic in them made to withstand hundreds of washes and wears, whereas disposables are made to work for 4 hours maximum. This hit me when the crèche kept asking for more one piece tee shirts to keep on hand–why? As long as we use bibs for eating DD stays clean in her clothes all day, but when she’s in disposables at the crèche there are diaper leaks and stains. A prefold or flat nappy (fabric rectangle or square) has no elastic, but the leg and waist coverage is tailored to fit when you fasten the nappy or cover over it, they’re also better at containing leaks than disposables ever can be.

* No guilt over putting your baby in paper and plastic underwear: you don’t wear it, cloth is more comfortable. Same for a baby.

* No guilt over the environment: the manufacture of cloth and its laundering at home are better for the environment than creating a mountain of paper, plastic and chemicals.

* No need to economize on diaper changes: you could put on a disposable and within minutes the little one soils it–‘there goes fifteen cents, if only I had changed it ten minutes later…’ Not with cloth. You’re going to wash them every two or three days anyway, one more nappy or one less makes no difference in cost.

* Cloth diapered children tend to learn to use the potty earlier: who

I just Googled ‘cloth diapering is easier’ and got a result that looked like an advertisement, so I thought I’d put this out there for the general audience since I’m not selling anything 🙂

What are your ideas/questions?

Two under two preparation

Finished: two more wet bags, aka pail liners, for the nappy bin. Now we have a grand total of 4! There’s going to be a lot more cloth nappy washing in August when #2 arrives.

I just tore nylon in a big rectnagle, sewed French seams on the side and folded over the top by eyeballing it to make an elastic casing. A snug casing is key to keeping the bag in place in the bin. For the first two I measured the diameter of the inner plastic bin, but for these I roughly knew how big they needed to be. I wash the liners with clothes at 40C, although technically 30C is better, but we hardly ever have anything to wash for that temperature.

Muumuu maternity disaster

Got the fabric yesterday, a Japanese floral motif + SIM 4020 empire-waist kimono top spliced on to my trusty Burda Style 6/2010 #121 empsire-waist maternity dress. It sounded good in theory. The result: muumuu, or ugly nightdress! To think I got up at 5am to get cranking on this to wear tomorrow! LOL. Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained. It might be okay hacked off from knee length to a minidress; if not, it could be a tunic. Must get rid of all of that dizzying loud colours and motif on a petite pregnant body. When DH comes home from biking I’ll ask him to take a photo for posterity, it’s really a hoot.

Second trimester speed

I’m at exactly the halfway point in this pregnancy (nope, don’t know the baby’s sex). I’ve been cleaning whenever I had energy spurts for the last three days. Suddenly, after a long dearth of sewing 3 maternity dresses have materialized! I had a friend over for dinner and made a lot of Korean side dishes. I got up early to make breakfast for the whole family this morning. *Yahoo* the first tri doldrums are over!

Just in time too as the typically feminine urge to improve the house has cropped up. I want to regorganize my command centre: the designated bathroom where M has her baths, gets changed, and her clothes are stored within the changing table. (What a luxury it is to have two sinks and a bathrub an arm’s reach away from a changing table instead of changing in another room!) Her cloth nappies are in wicker baskets underneath the bathroom cabinetry. Those two baskets fit the space perfectly but they have no more space for the smaller size lot that the LO#2 will need. Also the hanging baby laundry bag could use some improvement.

Oh, M is saying she’s awake now and ready for breakfast!


Am making progress on my Butterick maternity twist-front dress. It’s all assembled and needs to be taken in, the hem taken up, and hemmed. For the moment though, it is *v-a-s-t* on me. I’ve decided to take in the sides with a zigzag so I can let out the seams later if needed. I’ve only gained 1kg so far instead of 3, and now in the second tri I should be gaining 1/2kg per week so hopefully it will begin fitting pretty soon. In the meantime, I gotta eat more…