Friday, March 10, 2017

Space Saver EC Diaper Cover & Pattern

This tutorial is for the "Space Saver" version of my EC diaper cover.  The finished product works the same as my original Simple EC Diaper Cover with button/buttonhole elastic closure, drop flaps in the front or back, or side buttoning push-down trainer mode.  Refer to that post for how it works.

This pattern is a little more complicated to sew, but saves on fabric to still allow two "One Size" (approx 10-30 lbs) EC diaper covers to be made out of one JoAnn Babyville 24x21 diaper cut.

  • Space Saver EC Diaper Cover Pattern
  • PUL: At least a 19 inch cut, but 24 inches is more efficient.  You should be able to cut 7 from a 24 x 64 inch single cut of PUL, or 6 from a 3 pack of 21 x 24 inch diaper cuts as you would find in the Babyville section at Joann.
  • 5/8 inch Buttonhole Elastic: ~18 inch length per diaper, typically sold in 3 foot (1 yard) packages.  You probably don't need as many elastics as diapers, since they shouldn't get dirty often.   If you use wider/stiffer elastic, you might need longer pieces.
  • 4 buttons: 5/8 inch round buttons work well.  You can buy cute shaped buttons, but be warned, they don't un-button or re-button as easily.
  • Snaps or alternate rise adjustment, 4 sets of snaps for size 10-30 lbs, add two half-sets (either sex for an average of 5 sets/diaper) for newborn size.
  • See Simple EC Diaper Cover for how much to expect to spend on supplies.
  • Snaps: Add $0.28 for the cheapest snaps purchased in bulk (size 16), or $0.67 for the color-coordinating babyville snaps
  • Snap Pliers: One time purchase of snap pliers for $20.
  • Should be possible to make these for about $3 each in bulk with coupons and careful shopping.
  • Should be possible to make a set of 6 in 3 Babyville prints and color-coordinating snaps for about $38 without coupons, which seems like a reasonable starter stash. Add another $20 if you don't already have snap pliers.

Cut out your pieces and mark snap placement and tick marks.

Line up the double notches and pin one side of the back flap. 

Now fold it over and pin the other side. Yes, this part is a little weird... just trust me

Once stitched, the back looks like this. Now pin and across the front.  You'll need to stretch the flap a bit as it's shorter than the main piece.

Once the front is stitched, fold it over about 1/4 inch beyond the seam. Pin and stitch.

Notice when you turn the front right side out, the seam is now a quarter of an inch inside the diaper and out of sight.

Now line up the single and triple marks on the back of the diaper and pin. 

Stitch from single mark to single mark. You'll notice the corners are a little weird and don't lay flat.  Don't worry.  They aren't supposed to.

Similar to the front, adjust so the seam is 1/4 inch in from the fold.  Pin and stitch the corners.

When you turn the back right side out you will see that again the seam is 1/4 inches in from the fold and out of sight.  Good work!

Next take a break and let your toddler have a turn with camera.

Now we will do the back casing.  I do this by feel so it's a bit hard to show in picture.  I will try to describe.

Place the end of the elastic about 1 1/2 to 2 inches from the corner of the back, in the space between the seam and the fold.  Tack the end down.

Turn the corner and "stitch in the ditch" to make your casing around the elastic. If you have one, a zipper foot makes it easy to stitch close to the elastic without hitting it.

Close up of "stitching in the ditch"... you are stitching right on top of the previous seam.

Go all the way across to about 2 inches from the corner.

Stop, cut your thread, pull your elastic to the desired tightness, then tack this end. I normally pull my elastic so that at maximum stretch, the fabric is fully extended, but depending on your elastic you may feel something else is better.  Once the elastic is tacked, cut if off about 1/2 inch beyond the tacking.

Next is leg casing/elastic.  Tack the elastic in the front pocket, about 1 inch up from the edge of the pocket.  Since the inside is slightly smaller than the outside of the front pocket, pull the casing so that the seam is on top of the elastic.

Turn the corner and stitch the casing around the elastic.

Keep going until you are even with the corner.

Now carefully turn the corner. You will have to gently ease the elastic to point toward the corner of the diaper, and shift the fabric to accommodate.  Fortunately we are now working along the "bias" of the fabric, so it should stretch and shift to handle this with a little patience.

Stitch the casing along the wing until you are around 2 inches from the corner.  Stop, cut your thread.  This is what your finished casing should look like.

Pull your elastic to the desired tightness, tack the end, and cut.  I like to pull it so that when the elastic is fully extended, so is the fabric, but elastic varies, so feel free to do what feels right to you.

If you are using a zipper foot, reverse it before doing the other side.  I always start from the front of the diaper and work my way back.

Stitch the buttons on the corners (see Simple EC Diaper Cover for placement).

Add rise snaps as shown on pattern.  Or use alternate rise adjustment (to be described soon).

Cut your buttonhole elastics.  About 10-11 inches for the back elastic (the one that attaches to the front and runs around the back), and about 7-8 inches for the front elastic (the one that attaches to the back and runs around the front). You can finish the ends of the buttonhole elastic by folding over and stitching, or by melting on the stove.  Refer to the usage video from my other pattern for how to use the elastics. 

Finally, please let me know if this pattern was helpful and share a picture of your creations (with or without baby). 

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