Saturday, February 5, 2011

Reusable Wipes

So, here it is: the much anticipated post on making reusable wipes. We are planning on using cloth diapers and a friend suggested reusable cloth wipes as well. My first thought was, "Eww," but I've warmed up to the idea and decided to forge ahead out of respect for Mother Earth and the bank account. After reading about how a few other people made them, this is how we decided to do it (we = Mommy and I; Keith is rather unconcerned about how the kid's butt gets wiped, as long as it gets done).

Step 1: Round up old flannel sheets, shirts, or scraps leftover from other sewing projects. I read that flannel works best so we have a lot of that, but we also used a t-shirt knit sheet. Give old flannel a new life, because if you go out and buy new flannel, it cuts into your earth- and money-saving mojo.

Step 2: We hemmed (haha) and hawed over what size to start with and finally lit upon the idea of finding the containers the wipes would be stored in before we started cutting. We found these at Walmart for about $5 each and thought they would be perfect for at-home wipe storage. Still on the lookout for a flatter container for diaper bag use.

Step 3: Once we bought the containers, we determined that cutting 7" squares and stitching them 1/4" in from the edge would give us a finished size of 6 1/2", which folds in half and fits perfectly in the container. Also a nice size to keep your hands from getting poopy. Using a rotary cutter, mat and straight edge, we cut all our gathered flannel into 7" squares.

Step 4: Match right sides of fabric together and stitch 1/4" from edge. Be sure to leave about a 2" gap on one side to be able to turn the wipes right-side out.

Sew with one hand, take picture with the other. Now that's multi-tasking.
Step 5: Snip the corners diagonally, taking some of the bulk out (this will make them easier to top stitch). Then, turn right-side out. Use a pencil eraser, blunted dowel rod, or a bone folder (a college art major relic) to push the corners out, making them as square as possible.

Snip, turn, push corners.  

Step 6: Iron the wipes, being sure to flatten the area you left open so that it is easy to stitch closed.

Step 7: Top stitch the wipe. I made my stitch about 1/8" from the edge. I found it was easiest to start in the middle of my opening and then, when I got all the way around, do a little back stitch over top to knot it all. I also used a colored thread to top stitch for a little added pizazz. Because the baby will definitely notice and appreciate the extra color-coordinating effort.

Step 8: Wet wipe and clean a baby butt. There's lots of suggestions on homemade solutions that you can either pour over your stack of wipes or keep in a spray bottle and wet them one at a time. I'll figure that out as we get some hands-on experience. And I'm sure we'll get all the hands-on experience we can take.

We started out with 1 flat twin knit sheet, 1 fitted twin flannel sheet, and a handful of odds and ends leftover from Mommy's projects. This is is going to make 80 to 90 wipes. I think that should do the job.

Just so you know, you don't have to be a sewing expert for this project. In fact, if you mess up, the end product is still usable because you're just wiping baby bums.

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