How To Handle Menstrual Cups In Public

Menstrual Cups in PublicIf you’re new to menstrual cups, I highly recommend reading this post first:  Menstrual Cups:  A Newbie’s Perspective.

I’ve used menstrual cups for about a year and I would NEVER go back to tampons.  They are far more comfortable and convenient to use than their disposable counterparts.  I don’t have to worry about buying menstrual supplies each month and I don’t deal with pain from inserting a dry, scratchy tampon.  Menstrual cups have made my periods much more manageable and less of an interruption to daily life.

When I broach the subject of menstrual cups with other women, the question that seems to always come up after how do you insert them, is how do you deal with them while out and about?  It’s a valid question, and an easy one to answer.

First of all, you can wear a menstrual cup for up to twelve hours before it needs to be emptied, cleaned, and reinserted.  TWELVE HOURS guys!  That means you may only need to insert your cup in the morning, empty it in the evening, and reinsert and forget about it until the next morning.  Compared to tampons which need to be changed every 4-6 hours, that’s a big change!  Twelve hours typically works for me.  If my flow is unusually heavy, I’ll go ahead and empty around the six-hour mark, but the Lunette I use has never been full at that point.  Since I typically only have to empty the cup once a day, I am almost always able to do so at home.  This is highly convenient since I have the privacy of my bathroom to empty, clean, and reinsert.  I do recommend doing several trial runs of emptying and reinserting the cup at home before you venture into public  restroom changes of the cup just to get yourself familiar with how it all works.

If you do have to be out and about when your cup needs to be emptied, it’s manageable and easy!  You used to carry a  bag with tampons or pads right?  Well, technically you can use that same bag for these disinfecting wipes.  However, the wipes are so tiny you could easily slip one in your pocket and no one would ever know.  To empty your menstrual cup in a public restroom:

  • Wash your hands (just as you should before changing a tampon!).
  • Remove the cup and empty the contents into the toilet.
  •  Wipe the inside and outside of the cup off with toilet tissue.
  • Once wiped well, use the cup wipe to finish cleaning and disinfecting your cup.
  • The wipes can be discarded in the trash or flushed if no trash can is readily available.
  • Let the cup air dry (it only takes a few seconds, you won’t be left sitting there for several minutes waiting).
  • Reinsert your cup.
  • Wash your hands.

See, no more complicated than changing a tampon.  If you’re worried about getting blood on your hands, you could easily put an extra wipe or an individually wrapped regular wipe in your bag or pocket to clean your hands before leaving the stall and washing them.  Once you’ve practiced emptying the cup at home several times,  you generally won’t have to worry about blood on your hands anymore than you would with tampons.

Have you made the switch to reusable menstrual care products yet?

*This post contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase from one of the affiliate links, I will receive a small portion of the sale.  You don’t have to make a purchase using the links, but I appreciate when you do as it helps support my blogging efforts.  You can read our full disclosure policy here.

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Cloth Swim Diapers

SwimDiapersFor the past few years I’ve been amazed by the number of non-cloth parents who ask me about cloth swim diapers.  It makes sense, the disposable ones are pretty expensive for a diaper that doesn’t even hold pee.  If you have a backyard pool or just like to go to the pool/beach often, they can add up quickly.  Here’s a little info on using cloth swim diapers.

First of all, did you know that NO swim diaper is really made to hold in pee?  That’s right, all swim diapers are designed to let the pee through.  If they were absorbent, your baby would just soak up the pool water.  Have you ever put a regular disposable diaper on baby while in the pool?  If you have, you’ve seen the diaper FILL with pool water and likely also witnessed the gel inside the diaper explode from being too full.  Swim diapers are only designed to hold poop so there are no fun ‘floaters’ in the pool.  Therefore, almost ANY cloth diaper without an insert can be used inside the pool.

Designated Swim Diapers
Many cloth diaper companies offer diapers specifically designed for swimming.  These diapers vary in style and price, but all offer cute colors/prints and can stand up to chlorinated pools and repeated use.  They’re designed to be washed and worn many, many times so you’ll be getting your money’s worth out of them.

  • My Swim Baby Swim Diapers are some of the most affordable at just $9.95 each.  They offer discreet side snaps if you need to do a quick change, but also can be pulled up like most disposable swim diapers.  They’re offered in several fun prints and even have sunhats and rash guards to make up a whole suit.
  • If you’re looking for a swim diaper that is easy on, easy off check out Bummis Swimmi Diapers.  They velcro on and off like most regular disposable diapers so they are SUPER easy to use and pretty affordable at $14.95.  They come in several fun prints that are all fairly gender neutral and have an interior mesh lining to make cleanups easy.  Bummis also offers coordinating sun hats, rash guards, and takinis so you don’t even have to get a bathing suit to go over those cute diapers.
  • If solid colors are more your thing, checkout the Blueberry Freestyle Swim Diapers.  These swim diapers are $16.95 and offer those easy side snaps for when you need to do a quick change.  They can also be pulled up and down.  An advantage of this swim diaper is that it does offer a bit of absorbance to catch any pee accidents that happen on the way to the pool.  The absorbance is small, so it won’t make your baby’s bottom balloon when they get into the pool.
  • Applecheeks Swim Diapers also come in solid colors.  These diapers are $19 and offer two layers of lined mesh that let water comfortable flow through the diaper.

Using Regular Cloth as a Swim Diaper

If you don’t go swimming often enough to warrant a designated swim diaper, you can always use almost any cloth diaper without an insert for swimming.  Just note that chlorine may cause more wear on your diaper elastic and colors than normal.

Pocket diapers are especially nice to use as a swim diaper because you can easily remove the insert(s).

Most diaper covers can also be used as a swim diaper.  Just keep in mind that PUL might not be the most comfortable fabric directly against baby so you may want to choose a cover with a lining or add one yourself.

Covers with a liner:

If you’re already a cloth diapering parent who has a diaper that leaks due to damaged PUL/TPU, you CAN use this diaper as a swim diaper.  Just don’t use a diaper with faulty leg elastic if the elastic is so shot that it doesn’t sit on the child’s legs/waist properly.  As long as the diaper can still hold in poop and isn’t going to take on lots of water, it CAN be used as a swim diaper.

Cloth swim diapers really aren’t scary! They can be a nice, easy transition into cloth for many families.  As with any diaper, just empty the solids into the toilet and flush them away.  Diapers can be laundered with your other swim clothes.  Most just aren’t able to be bleached and fabric softener should generally be avoided.

Are you ready to take the plunge with some of these cute prints?

*This post contains some affiliate links.

Cloth Diapering On The Go

ClothDiaperingOnTheGoWant to know a secret?  For the first year or so that I cloth diapered, I rarely used cloth if we were going out.  I kept a small stash of sposies for outings.  Why?  Well, to be honest, it was easier.  No wet bags, sposies take up less room in the diaper bag, and I could just leave them in a diaper bag whereas I’d have to pack cloth with each outing due to our smaller cloth stash.

With two toddlers still in diapers, I now take our cloth on the go most of the time.  I love our cloth so much more than a disposable diaper and I’m very comfortable using it.  I just had to find the right on the go system for us.  Snapless fitteds with covers were bulky for the diaper bag, but AIOs are easy peasy.  Below are a few of the cloth diapers that make outings and travel with cloth easy.

All-In-Ones (AIOs)

AIOs are my first choice for on the go cloth diapering.  After trying several systems, I found this the easiest for us.

  • My favorite AIO is the Thirsties AIO in aplix.  It is also available in snaps, but I feel like the aplix makes it even easier to change.  The new aplix is super strong.  My boys are heavy wetters so I slide a hemp doubler under the sewn in tunnel-style microfiber soaker and we’re good to go.  I don’t have to unstuff them before I throw them into the wet bag because the doubler will fall out in the washer.  So they can go straight from the wet bag to the washer or diaper pail with no fuss.  They are also one of the most affordable AIOs out there.  See why they’re my favorite?
  • Bottombumpers is another AIO that I like.  It’s pricier, but it really is a nice diaper.  The side snaps make is super trim in the front, very easy to fit jeans over.  I also add a hemp doubler to ours, just laying it inside the diaper.  The soaker inside is snapped in instead of sewn in, but this helps the diaper dry more quickly.

Covers and Flats

Covers and flats are my second choice for on the go diapering.  They probably pull into first place for camping or short weekend trips because they can easily be hand washed.

  • Flips and flats.  Flips and flats are perfect diaper bag material.  They’re slim and you can reuse a cover several times before washing it.  I padfold our flats with a doubler hidden inside so when it’s time to do a diaper change, I throw the dirty flat into a wet bag and pop the new one into the cover.  Easy peasy!

Pockets

Pocket diapers are also pretty easy on the go.  Just prestuff them and throw them in the diaper bag.  The only reason they rank third on my personal list is that I have to pull the insert out of the diaper before I throw them in the wet bag.

  • Kawaii’s and Imagine Baby are some of my favorite pocket diapers.  They’re one of the most affordable and they work well.   You can get them in pretty solid colors and fun prints.

Accessories

There are a few accessories that make cloth diapering on the go very easy.  Find a good wet bag, a simple spray bottle for cloth wipes, a reusable container to store dry cloth wipes, and some sample sized or spray cloth diaper safe rash cream.  That’s it! Super easy.

So, have you made the transition to using cloth while you’re out and about?  I promise, it’s not scary!  We get lots of compliments on our diapers.  I have answered questions about them in many public bathrooms so cloth diapering on the go is a great way to advocate for cloth.  When others see how easy it can be, they’re intrigued.

This post contains some affiliate links.

Cloth Pad Tutorial: Adjustable Absorbency and Liners

AdjustablePadTutHi again!  In addition to our ‘pads three ways’ tutorials, I’m adding this adjustable absorbency pad and panty liner pattern.  Like the other patterns, this pattern will be free.

I’ll show you how to create an absorbent shell that can be used for light days or as a liner.  We’ll also be creating wingless liners to add to the shell to boost absorbency or wear on their own.

What You’ll Need

  •  The pdf containing the patterns and tutorial:  AdjustableAbsorbency&Liner.  Please print the patterns actual size and DO NOT scale them down or ‘fit to page’.
  • Fabric for the pad body top (shell):  flannel, jersey, or any other cotton or absorbent material.
  • Fabric for the pad body bottom (shell):  anti-pill or blizzard fleece.  These thicker fleece types naturally repel liquids and make a good water-resistant bottom while providing a non-slip surface against your underwear.
  • Fabric for the pad core and liners.  You want absorbent fabrics for your core.  These could include cotton flannel, cotton birdseye, cotton terry cloth, bamboo, hemp, etc.  Basically any thirsty fabric will work. Just remember that if you use microfiber or zorb, be sure to sandwich them between fabrics that are safe to be against the skin.
    You may also want to add anti-pill or blizzard fleece as a bottom layer to some of the liners as this will help them to stay put in your underwear if you choose to wear them without the shell.

    Bamboo and hemp are good choices if you want a thinner pad as they are thin, but absorbent. 2-3 layers of bamboo or hemp will give you medium flow absorbency; use more for heavy, postpartum, or overnight.

    If you use flannel, 6 layers would be a good medium flow.  You would want to add more for heavier absorbencies.  For the shells pictured, I have sewn a three layer flannel core into the shell.  Each of the liners pictured have three layers of flannel as well for buildable absorbency.

  • Sewing machine and notions (thread, needles, scissors, presser feet, etc)
  • Snaps – metal or plastic. Plastic will be more durable, but metal may be easier to get. I have used KAM snaps here. They are really fantastic quality and the pliers are easy to use.  I use a size 20 socket and stud, with size 16 snap caps.
    Plastic snap pliers can all be found at JoAnn Fabric.  I have seen metal snap pliers at Wal-Mart.
    If you can’t find snaps, dry cleaners or alteration shops can often apply them. Or you can use Velcro or a diaper pin if you have to.

If you have a serger, obviously you can do all this on the serger as well.  Learn more about cloth pads here.  Happy sewing!

Cloth Pad Tutorial: Exposed Core, Overcast Edge

MamaClothThreeWaysThis is the first tutorial in a series of three.  I’ll be showing you how to sew cloth pads with overcast edges three ways:  exposed core, exposed contoured core, hidden contoured core.

We will start with the exposed core pad, the first pad pictured on the left hand side of the screen.

What You’ll Need

  • The ClothPadBodypdf  (print actual size, not fit to page) Approx. 7.25″ wide and 9.75″ long. You can always adjust them to your personal needs. Just don’t sell the pattern.
  • TheClothPadCorepdf   (print actual size, not fit to page) Approx 2.8″ wide and 9″ long.  You can always adjust them to your personal needs. Just don’t sell the pattern.
  • Fabric for the pad body top:  flannel, jersey, or any other cotton or absorbent material.
  • Fabric for the pad body bottom:  anti-pill or blizzard fleece.  These thicker fleece types naturally repel liquids and make a good water-resistant bottom while providing a non-slip surface against your underwear.
  • Fabric for the pad core.  You want absorbent fabrics for your core.  These could include cotton flannel, cotton birdseye, cotton terry cloth, bamboo, hemp, etc.  Basically any thirsty fabric will work. Just remember that if you use microfiber or zorb, be sure to sandwich them between fabrics that are safe to be against the skin.
    For the pads shown, I have used three layers of bamboo fleece.  Bamboo and hemp are good choices if you want a thinner pad as they are thin, but absorbent. 2-3 layers of bamboo or hemp will give you a medium flow absorbency, use more for heavy, postpartum, or overnight.
    If you use flannel, 6 layers would be a good medium/heavy flow.  You would want to add more for heavier absorbencies.
  • Sewing machine and notions (thread, needles, scissors, presser feet, etc)
  • Snaps – metal or plastic. Plastic will be more durable, but metal may be easier to get. I have used KAM snaps here. They are really fantastic quality and the pliers are easy to use.  I use a size 20 socket and stud, with size 16 snaps.
    Plastic snap pliers can all be found at JoAnn Fabric.  I have seen metal snap pliers at Wal-Mart.
    If you can’t find snaps, dry cleaners or alteration shops can often apply them. Or you can use velcro or a diaper pin if you have to.

If you have a serger, obviously you can do all this on the serger as well.

Learn more about cloth pads here.

Clicking on the first picture below will make the photos larger so you can scroll through them as you go.  Or you can download and print the PDF:  ExposedCoreOvercastEdgePadPDF.  It is free, I just ask that you don’t sell the pattern. Happy Sewing!

Mama Cloth – What Is It?

MamaClothMama cloth…  Menstrual cups…  I had been menstruating 13 years before I heard about reusable menstrual products.  When you get ‘the talk’ you’re told about pads and tampons. That’s it.  No one mentions an entire line of reusable products that are more comfortable, eco-friendly, and economical.

The first time someone told me about mama cloth, they didn’t do it in a very positive way.  And I was instantly turned off.  No way was I going to reuse a pad, even if you did wash it.  Actually, no way did I want to wash something with blood all over it.  That was gross right?   WRONG!

My curiosity about cloth pads got the better of me and I decided to do more research.  Turns out there were a lot of options out there.  Users of mama cloth swore that they were comfortable.  Users of reusable cups said they barely noticed their periods at all.  I was intrigued.

My foray into mama cloth happened while I was pregnant with my second child.  Pregnant women know the insane amount of liners you can go through.  I sewed up a few pads with adjustable absorbency and I loved them!  They were far more comfortable than their plastic backed disposable counterparts.  And they were much more breathable.  I have continued to use mama cloth since, almost two years ago.

The Basics

  • Cloth pads come in a variety of shapes/lengths/widths just like disposable pads.  If you sew your own, or find a WAHM willing to do a completely custom pad, your options are truly endless.
  • Cloth pads come in a variety of absorbencies just like disposable pads.  Liners, light flow, medium flow, heavy flow, postpartum, overnight, etc.  It’s all out there ready to purchase.  There are also pads with adjustable absorbency which is something you won’t get with disposable products.  These pads have a body (or shell) that you slip your absorbent core into.  So you can add more layers as needed.
  • If you are prone to rashes or chaffing with disposable pads, that will likely go away with cloth pads.  Cloth pads don’t contain chemicals like their disposable counterparts and they are breathable.  Pads backed with fleece or wool and containing no PUL are especially breathable.  Any type of heat rash and chafing I had with disposable pads completely disappeared with cloth.  I don’t get that sore feeling after wearing them that I did with disposable pads.
  • Since cloth pads have no chemicals, they can also reduce your flow and cramping.  I’m no doctor, but I have talked to many women who use cloth pads and/or menstrual cups.  And most of them say that they’re flow, cramps, or both decreased after switching to reusable menstrual products.  The simple explanation is that there are no chemicals in the reusable products while there are in the disposable counterparts.  The chemicals can be an irritant to many women and your body needs to flush these chemicals out of your body – thus a heavier flow and more cramping.
  • When you’re out, you can store dirty pads in a waterproof makeup bag.  Most cloth pad retailers also sell small wet/dry bags designed to hold dirty pads and clean pads in separate pockets.
  • Cloth pads are pretty easy to care for.  And if you do it properly, they will last YEARS, saving you a lot of money.
  • So how do you care for them?  If you cloth diaper, you can rinse your pads in cold water and throw them in your dirty diaper pail.  Rinsing them actually isn’t even necessary, but it does help prevent staining.  If you don’t have cloth diapers to wash, you can get a small wet bag, or one of those tiny trash cans that you often see at ice cream parlors for sample spoons.  These trash cans are sold at the Dollar Tree and many other retailers.  Again, rinse in cold water to help prevent staining, and throw them in the pail.  Store your dirty pads here until the end of your cycle or whenever you are ready to wash.  I wash mama cloth every other day with my dirty diapers.  Before you wash, rinse them again in cold water (Some prefer an overnight soak with a bit of vinegar and cold water.  Just note that vinegar CAN break down PUL if you use a pad backed with PUL).  Throw them in the washer on their own OR with regular laundry.  Just don’t use fabric softener when washing mama cloth as it can cause repelling and greatly diminish the pad’s absorbency.  Hang dry, or throw them in the dryer.
  • What about staining?  Some materials are more prone to staining than others.  Pads topped with microfleece, suedecloth, and minky are actually rather hard to stain.  Natural fibers like cotton, hemp, and bamboo stain more easily.  Rinsing with cold water before placing in your pail or wet bag helps reduce staining.  If your pads do stain, soaking in oxi-clean or sunning them with lemon juice can help remove the stains.  And remember, a stain DOES NOT mean that something is dirty.
  • An added bonus?  Cloth pads come in lots of pretty colors and prints.

MamaCloth2So, are you curious?  Below you’ll find a list of places to purchase reusable menstrual products.  I have also created free patterns to make your own menstrual pads and liners which are linked at the bottom of the post.  Try your hand at sewing your own cloth pads!  It’s a fairly easy project and you might just like the results 😉

Cloth Menstrual Care Retailers
(This is just a small list.  You can do a google search for reviews and retailers to suit your own menstrual care needs.  Not all bodies are shaped the same, not all cycles are the same.  But there is something out there for everyone.  Check your local area for retailers as well. Cloth diaper stores and natural health care stores are great places to look.)

Pads

Cups

Wet Bags

Cloth Pad Patterns

Wet Bag Patterns

*Disclosure:  Please note that some of the links provided are affiliate links

DIY – Reusable Cotton Rounds

1-1FaceScrubbies

Ahhh, the scrap fabric bin. What to do with it all?

I try to use as many reusable products as I can.  I have always hated the way cotton balls feel so I was happy to find a reusable alternative in fabric cotton rounds.

If you don’t have time to make your own face scrubbies, we have some handmade ones in our shop that are ready to ship.

Cotton rounds are a great way to use up fabric scraps and have many, many uses.  Some of the things we use them for are:  makeup removal, applying astringent or alcohol to the skin, nail polish removal, applying diaper rash cream, cleaning little noses, drying off baby’s bottom after using a wipe.  And the list goes on.

These little guys are super simple to make and are a great beginner’s project when learning to sew.  You’ll need two pieces of scrap fabric for each round.  I prefer flannel cotton for most uses, but almost any soft cotton will work.  Polyester fleece is excellent at removing eye makeup so I like to put that on one side for my makeup removing scrubbies.  Please note that if you use these for removing nail polish, they are definitely going to get stained and stay that way.  But they’re so cheap to make, it doesn’t really matter!  Use the ugly ones for nail polish, keep the pretty ones for other uses.

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The Tools

What you’ll need:
Scrap Fabric – (flannel, fleece, jersey, hemp, etc)
Scissors
Pins
Sewing Machine
Thread
Compass to draw a circle or a round object to trace one

You should be able to finish off a set in 15 minutes or less. It is entirely normal to get some fraying around the edges after the first couple of washes.  Just clip any loose strings.

Come back and show off what you made! If you want to bulk up your scrubbies stash, or would rather buy them than make them, we have some available for purchase here: Mabe, With Love on Etsy.

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Using your compass, draw a circle that is about 3″. To get a 3″ circle, set your compass on 1.5″. If you want a larger or smaller scrubbie, just divide that number in half and that’s what you’ll set your compass on. You can find a compass at the Dollar Tree, Walmart, or any office supply store.

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If you don’t have a compass, no worries. Just find a cup or bowl with an opening roughly the size of the scrubbie you’d like and trace it.

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Place your two pieces of scrap fabric with wrong sides touching other. You want the right sides of both fabrics facing out.

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Pin your circle to your stacked pieces of fabric.

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Cut around your paper circle so that you get a round fabric stack.

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Take out the pin and set your paper circle aside. Pin around the outer edge of your fabric so that the two pieces stay together. If you’re not a pinner, just put one pin in the middle so the fabric doesn’t slide.

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Choose your thread. You can do a matching color or a contrasting color. You could even do one color to match the bottom in the bobbin and a color to match the top for your spool. Variegated thread is also a pretty option.

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If you have an overcast foot for your machine, use it. The overcast foot is on the left hand side in the photo. If you don’t have one a regular foot will work fine.

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If your machine has mock serge stitches (overcast stitches), use one of those. I prefer stitch 7 on my machine, but stitch 8 works well too.
If your machine does not have a mock serge stitch, choose the regular zig zag stitch (stitch 4 in the picture).

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No matter what stitch you choose, you’ll want it to be a tight stitch to keep the edges from fraying too much. I typically set the length to 1-1.5 and the width to 3.5-4. Experiment on a scrap piece of fabric to see what you prefer.

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Butt the fabric up to the edge. You can always adjust this as you start to sew. This is where having an overcast foot comes in handy-the little bar on the foot is an easy marker for where you want the edge of your fabric to sit. You want the fabric to sit so that the stitch landing on the left hand side sinks into the fabric and the stitch landing on the right drops just over the fabric.

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Sink your first stitch or two and then use your back-stitch button. If you’re using a mock serge, you’ll likely just get a reinforcement stitch. With a zig zag, your machine should actually back-stitch.

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Start sewing. You can go as slowly as you need to get the hang of going around the curves. Remove pins as you go being careful not to sew over them as they can damage your machine’s needle.

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Keep sewing…

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As your sewing, stop to make sure your fabric hasn’t shifted and that your stitches are sinking into the back fabric as well. If you’ve missed the back, it’s okay! Just pull your work off the machine, repin, and start again where the fabric slipped.

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When you’re sewing around and about to reach the beginning stitches, grab your loose threads under your fingers so they stay straight and don’t get tangled in your stitches.

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Sew over your beginning stitches for just a bit to help reinforce them.

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Use your back-stitch button once more.

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Lift your presser foot.

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If you’re using an overcast foot, gently pull the scrubbie to the back of the machine and then to the side so you can pull your stitches off the overcast bar. Cut your threads.

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If you’ve used a regular foot, just pull that baby to the side and cut your threads.

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Clip your threads close to the scrubbie, being careful not to clip into your stitches.

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Good job! You just finished your first scrubbie.

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As nice and neat on the back as on the front.

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You can check your stitches to make sure both sides were caught. If they weren’t, run it back through the machine once.

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Now, go back through your scraps and make more!

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You can even make up several to add to little gift baskets. A pamper me basket or cosmetic bag full of goodies makes for a nice, but inexpensive gift idea.
All those little goodies are from Avon and they are great stocking stuffers.

Ah! I happen to love that fall view outside my sewing desk window.

Ah! I happen to love that fall view outside my sewing desk window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

School of Cloth: Week 2 Investing in Cloth Diapers

week2Link up to this week’s school of cloth here.

I did a post a few weeks ago about cloth diapering on a budget.  You can find that post here.  There is information on how to cloth diaper with no money, cloth diapering with a conservative budget, and cloth diaper banks for those in need.

I started our cloth diaper journey with less than $30.  I went through our closets and found old t-shirts, receiving blankets, sheets, and fleece items we were no longer using.  I combed thrift stores for fleece, flannel, terry towels.  And I purchased inexpensive wash cloths, elastic, hook and loop, and flannel to make our own diapers.

You can make your own cloth wipes with very basic sewing skills. It is actually a great project for beginning sewers.  I’ve talked about resources for learning to make cloth diapers here and here. Or you can browse the cloth diaper section of the blog for more information on cloth diaper making and the use of cloth diapers.

As our finances have allowed, I have purchased more materials to make diapers and even diapers that were manufactured by someone other than myself.  Our diaper stash started with about 12-15 diapers and has since grown to probably 70 or so diapers, several diaper covers, and countless inserts.

 I recently discovered the flats and flip diapering system.  I wanted something that worked well for when we travel and these are definitely a winner!  I purchased fifteen flats, five flips covers, and a wetbag for $60.  This is more than enough to diaper my TWO boys for a day away from home, and that includes doubling up on flats at night. I do add a doubler because I have a one and two-year old who pee a bit more than a baby does.

I think the easiest way to start cloth diapering if you have limited funds and need to buy diapers instead of making them is to start small.  Buy just a little at a time so that you are gradually buying less and less disposable diapers.

I have never had to diaper two kids in disposables. We started cloth diapering before my youngest was born.  But, I was spending $45 a month on disposable diapers and wipes for one baby.  And that was with a $40 a year Sam’s Club membership to buy their brand in bulk. Including the membership, that works out to approximately $580 a year for ONE child. I would imagine that would have been at least double for two, so approximately $1120 a year. Yikes!

Even after indulging my diaper sewing addiction (and building our diaper stash to a number that makes cloth diapering two comfortable), I haven’t spent anywhere close to even $500. We even have cloth training pants.  My diapers are still in good condition, some of them still look brand new.  So if baby #3 comes along, they will be using the same diapers and saving us even more money per year.

Another bonus is that we rarely have diaper rashes with cloth diapers.  I used to buy tub after tub of desitin.  And then there was the antifungal for the occasional yeast rash. We haven’t had a yeast rash since starting cloth diapers.  I use CJ’s BUTTer as a diaper rash cream and preventative now which cost me about $15 for 3-4 months of cream for two kiddos. I probably use it 1-2 times a day on each child. I also use it on my son’s eczema. So it really goes a long way and works great for us. It also smells fantastic which is just nice for me.

So, do you really safe  money using cloth? YES!  Our utility expenses did not increase drastically either as cloth has only added 2-3 extra loads of laundry per week.  Give it a try, see how much you save.