We’ve been cloth diapering since about a week after JuneBug came home from the hospital. I know cloth diapering isn’t for everyone, but we knew from the beginning it was something we wanted to tackle. When I was pregnant, I spent hours researching different types of diapers, creams, wipes, and wipe solution. All my hours of researching paid off, because we are super happy with our cloth diapering system. One day, I’ll write more about it, but as a quick overview, we use BumGenius Freetime all-in-one diapers exclusively, and we also use flannel cloth wipes. For some reason, for me, cloth wipes seemed like more of a mental roadblock to overcome than the diapers themselves. But I was absolutely sold after using them! They clean better than the disposable wipes we’ve used. They are easy on soft baby bums. They wash up beautifully. And I love that I never have to buy packs of wipes.
There are a lot of different cloth wipes you can use. Some people buy specially made, two-ply, bamboo, gold-plated, hand-sewn, organic wipes for like $10 a pop. I am not one of those people. I went the simple route and made my own single-ply flannel wipes. They are an absolute breeze to make, and a stack of them in a cute flannel print would be an awesome gift for any expecting parent who is going to cloth diaper. If you have a serger, these wipes are even faster to make, but I don’t have one (I wish!), so let me show you how I went about making them.
First up, I picked out some adorable flannel. There are lots of different fabrics that work, but I like flannel because it’s soft and absorbent, but it’s also thin enough that I can easily stack it in our wipe warmer to come out one at a time. I know some folks just use baby washcloths as wipes, but I like having the same one-at-a-time dispensing capability of disposable wipes. If you have other sources of flannel around (like a ton of extra receiving blankets or old flannel sheets) those will work, too. Like with all sewing projects, you’ll want to wash and dry your fabric before you start.
The size of the wipe is up to you, but, again, for easy folding and fitting in containers that are meant for disposable wipes, I went with a standard eight-inch square. Cut out as many wipes as you think you’ll need. We’ve worked with a set of 36 for the past four months, but we could go for having a few more. Especially now that she’s getting older and touching dirty things and dropping stuff on the floor—we’re using wipes for more than just bum-wiping.
You can get about 20 eight-inch square wipes from one yard of 40″ wide flannel.
You could leave the corners as right-angles, or you can do what I did and round the corners. Personally, I find the rounded corners easier to sew (no stopping, pivoting, and starting again). Plus, they look cute. I just took each wipe, folded it into quarters, and used a sharp pair of scissors to round the corners. You could be more precise about it and trace around a small bowl using a fabric marking pen, but I figure these are just bum wipes. They certainly don’t need to be perfect.
Then it’s time finish the edges. Most sewing machines have an overlock stitch (or a few different overlock stitches). Check your manual. If you don’t have an overlock stick, you can also use a standard zig-zag stitch. My machine also comes with an overlock foot, which makes it easier to line up right at the edge of the wipe, but it definitely isn’t a necessity. Our goal here is to get the stitch to wrap right around the edge of the fabric to “seal” it closed.
I stitch all the way around the wipe—making sure to stitch back and forth at the beginning and end to really secure the thread. This whole process takes me about 30 seconds.
And then…it’s done. That’s it! I can make a few dozen of these wipes per hour, no problem. When you go to wash them the first time, the edges will ravel a bit, but it ends up giving the wipes a nice frayed look. Our wipes have gone through the washer a bajillion times (approximately), and we haven’t had a single one unravel. They still look great!
If you want to gift them, just either stack or roll them nicely, and tie them with a pretty ribbon. You could even throw in a bottle of my favorite wipe solution and cloth-diaper friendly rash stick for a really easy, thoughtful, and affordable gift.