UPDATE 1/9/12: Since creating this tutorial I’ve had a chance to refine my process and my patterns for making prefitteds. I figured out a way to extend the wings seamlessly and without any additional sewing, and I put together a couple of prefold conversion patterns, which include snap and elastic placement. These should help take some of the guesswork out of conversions. :)
I’ve had a LOT of people ask me to put together a tutorial for my converted prefolds, so here you go! Nothing super fancy, but hopefully these step-by-step instructions will be sufficient. This is a relatively simple project – I bet even beginners could get the hang of this pretty quickly! :-)
The thumbnails are small, but you can click on them to see full-size pictures with more detail.
|The first step is to find a pattern you like that is approximately the same dimensions as the prefolds you’re converting. I happened to notice that the fabric cuts I had pre-made from my Fitted Diaper Pattern are about the same size as the premium prefolds I bought on clearance from Little Lions.|
|Cut a piece of fabric for the outer from the pattern and lay it on top of the prefold. Make any necessary adjustments, like cutting off excess, marking where you want to round corners (if applicable), etc.|
Serge around the edge of the outer fabric, or cut around and zig-zag.
Save the cut-out pieces from the edges of the diaper – you’ll need them later!
|Turn the diaper over and make markings for the front/closure snaps. I use the prefold seams as guidelines to determine the center of the diaper, and place my snaps a ruler’s width (approx. 1.25″) from the edge. Make sure you have an even number of snaps (i.e. no center snap)!|
|See? No middle snap! (These will be sockets, by the way)|
For rise snaps, I use my ruler to keep them lined up straight, and put each row a ruler’s width apart (1.25″).
The first row of rise snaps (immediately under the closure snaps) should be studs, and then each row after that should be sockets.
|For the wing snaps, I like to put them a little further in from the back edge of the diaper. I set my ruler in 1/4-1/2″, and place the markings at .5″ and 2.5″ from the tip of the wing. These will be studs.|
|I like to add a socket halfway between the studs on one of the wings for crossing over. Most babies will probably be too big for it, but it’s also handy for snapping a rolled-up diaper closed before tossing it in a wetbag.|
|After applying the snaps, make markings for the elastic. For my premium prefold conversions, I line the edge of the diaper up with my grid and put the leg elastic marking 4″ in from the edge.|
|The leg elastic markings on the back of the diaper are about 4.5″ from the edge of the diaper.|
|Back elastic isn’t necessary, but I like to add it anyway. I make the elastic markings about 1/4-1/2″ in from the prefold seams.|
|Use a seam ripper to make small cuts through approximately HALF of the layers of the diaper near the edge at the elastic markings. (usually you want to cut through 2 layers).|
|Now put the diaper down for a moment and grab those scraps from when you serged/cut out the diaper outline.|
|Trim off the narrow ends and open up/unfold the scraps to lay them flat.|
|Trace a rectangle with rounded corners to make a soaker. It should be wide enough and long enough to cover the snap caps on the inside of the diaper.|
|Serge around the edge, or cut out and zig-zag.|
|Pin to the inside/front of the diaper and stitch close to the edge (I try to line up my stitches with the edge of my serger seam).|
Now that that’s done, grab something you can use to thread elastic through the casings you “made”. A lot of people use safety pins, but I highly recommend investing in a bodkin. They’re a few dollars at most, and they make inserting elastic a breeze!
To determine how much elastic to use, I stretch my elastic between the elastic markings, then measure the un-stretched length and add 1/4″-1/2″ allowance.
|Thread the elastic through one hole and pull it through until there’s 1/4″-1/2″ sticking out.|
|Tuck the excess elastic in so that it extends at least 1/4″ past the hole.|
|Stitch back and forth over the hole and the elastic, sewing down the elastic and sewing the hole closed at the same time. I like to use a 3-step zig-zag stitch for this. A regular zig-zag stitch works, too.|
|With the elastic tacked down on one end, pull it through and out the other side. Again, tuck at least 1/4″ through the other side. This time pin it in place, otherwise the tension will pull the elastic back through the casing when you let go, and it’s a pain in the butt to get it out again! Stitch elastic down and the hole closed, just like in the previous step. Repeat for remaining elastic.|
Trim off any excess threads and finish off any serger tails, then sit back and admire your new diaper!