Here’s the final result:
I took a ton of photos as I went through the trial and error process, and I’m posting them below as a tutorial with comments to help you see what I did, and my thought process.
To make these, I used a Brother Project Runway sewing machine that I got for Mother’s Day from Joann Fabrics. I ordered it online and used a coupon for free shipping during a sale on machines, so I got it for something like 65% off. There’s a Black Friday doorbuster on the website right now.)
I used several decorative stitches, but you can make this set even if you don’t have a sewing machine.
Several things would be nice to have to make this project faster, and some things are necessary. I note in the materials list below with an * what is nice to have, but not necessary. What you don’t need though, is a printer! (I hate printing)
Flattened Cereal Box or other sturdy paper
Scissors (one for fabric and one for cutting paper)
Rotary blade and sewing mat*
Flannel fabric remnant
Cotton fabric 1/4 yard
Plush fabric remnant
Thread (matched color)
Sewing Machine (or needle for hand sewing)
Poly-Resin Snaps/Plier/awl* (you can also use sew-on snaps or hook/eye.)
Step 1: The Templates
Make the templates from the cereal box.
Here’s a slideshow of how to make the template for the pad pieces:
Now you’ll make the template for the wrapper:
Step 2: The Wrapper
Now you’ll use the wrapper template to cut out the patterned cotton fabric:
If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can sew the edge by hand.
OOPS! I put the snaps in wrong… What now?
If you make a mistake and put the snaps in wrong, you can fix it. I definitely did, not once but twice! After gouging myself trying to cut them off, I went in search of a fix, and the page on the Babyville site for removing snaps was blank, so I watched a couple videos that didn’t help me. (I wasn’t using KAM and I don’t have a soldering iron, but maybe you are/do?) I went back to Babyville and found an FAQ that said to clip them off, careful not to clip the fabric.
OK, I tried that and it did work. However, I recommend eye protection if you try this method. I learned to hold it inside my cupped hand and eventually got it apart.
Step 3: The Contour
OK, now that the wrapper is done, let’s move on to the pad.
And now we get fancy! If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can use this chart for decorative stitches or just use a quilting stitch.
I use a contrasting light pink thread in my demo so you can see the stitches, but you can use a shade of thread close to the same color as the flannel you choose and the stitches will blend in. This will matter because the thread will usually stain first.
My idea for stitches is to attract the flow inward and keep leaks from going beyond the edges. Plus, it looks pretty. 🙂
The way I put this pad together was to create a base that snaps to the wrapper, and is covered by a layer so that the snap never comes into contact with the body.
Step 4: The Base
The base is the next part:
Now to attach the snaps to the base:
Now we’ll make the pocket:
So you will make the center rectangle by stitching 3 sides using the contour piece only. Then you’ll put the contour and the base together and you’ll make the horizontal bottom part of the center rectangle by sewing through both the contour and the base. And you’ll sew just the sides of the contour to the base. This gives you the 3 sides that make the pocket.
Step 5: The Inserts
So now we will make the inserts:
And now you can make a few more inserts and then you can make the pad more absorbent as needed without the whole thing being bulky.
Here’s a couple photos of the finished system:
I chose to use the plush fabric as the center applique because I did several tests on different materials to see how fast they absorb liquid. The pink plush fabric basically didn’t absorb any liquid at all. So, I thought it’d be a good layer to repel fluid, and push back up to the absorbent flannel.
Some other fabrics that are good include PUL, which gives a leak-resistant backing. This could go on the bottom layer of the base, the wrapper, or even as the bottom of the inserts or contour. PUL is somewhat expensive, so I might see if I can just have it as my insert.
Other ideas include using a thick felt for the insert, or a wool. Lots of options for improvisation! And it’s easy to use something you already have, for low-cost, like a micro-fiber towel, cut into small pieces or folded into a small rectangle.
I did several tests and found that once washed, the one that the Dollar Tree sells was very absorbent, and after several washes, more so. It also dries very fast, making it a great insert because it can be washed and re-used quickly.
However, the white chamois is not at all absorbent — but would make a great plush applique for the wrapper. Also, I tested the orange “sham-wow” type of fabric, and it’s so-so on absorbing, but it doesn’t dry fast. I also tested the dark blue flocked chamois and a yellow puckered one. Fail and fail on both absorbent and fast-drying.
I’m happy and excited to try this system out and see how it performs. I hope it does make me feel more snuggly, cozy and “pampered” during that time. Like warm fuzzy pajamas that I get to wear all day, but no one else knows!
If you get inspired and make it, please let me know in the comments! Oh and do be careful: