22 January 2018

How to Replace Cloth Diaper Elastics

Hey guys! Today I'm going to show you something that's pretty simple to do, but will save you a ton of money. We use cloth diapers on both CJ & Baby E, and most of our diapers have been around since CJ first started in them almost 2 years ago. We primarily use BumGenius Freetimes and they hold up amazingly and they really never let us down. The only thing that needs a little refresher once in a while is the elastics can loose their elastic-ness over time.

In my experience thus far, I've never needed to replace elastic twice in the same diaper, and in fact, most of the elastics I've needed to change are older than two years old, because I bought them second-hand. (Yes, you read that right. They've been stripped and bleached.)

This project only requires a few tools and very little sewing experience. Besides the stretched out diaper, you need a needle & thread, scissors and two safety pins. You also need elastic, 2 four inch pieces of 1/4 inch elastic. You can use any elastic, but today I used the bumGenius refresher pack. I tend to order these if I need to bump my order up another couple of dollars to hit free shipping because they're cheaper than shipping, but honestly normal elastic is definitely cheaper than these packs.

Cloth diaper elastic should be around 4 inches when it isn't being stretched. As you can see in the picture above, this diaper was close to six inches. You can tell the elastics need to be replaced when they aren't springy anymore and there are gaps around the leg.

The first thing you need to do is cut into the inner fabric of the diaper. I know this sounds scary but you only two tiny slits. Just be careful not to cut the PUL (the outer, waterproof part) and you'll be fine. To find where to cut just feel around the ends. You'll feel a little bump at each end where the elastic is, and just snip right where you feel the bump.

Once you've made the snips, you're going to cut the elastic. Cut one end, and use one of the safety pins to pin the elastic into place near the snip you made so the elastic doesn't get lost in the casing. Cut the other side, and attach the pin on the end. Then use that pin to feed the elastic through the casing, just kind of shuffling it down and then pin it in place. You should now have the piece of elastic in place where it will be and you can see what the diaper should look like! Keep both pins in place so that the elastic doesn't slip through and get lost. 

Use a needle and thread to tightly sew the end into place. When you do this, make sure you catch the elastic in every stitch, and also try to close up the snip you made getting to the elastic. You want to catch a few different points in the elastic, because you definitely don't want this to slip out when the diaper is on. Tie a knot, snip your thread and then sew the other end into place.

Repeat the whole process on the other leg, and you have a fully functional diaper with fresh, springy elastics! It took me about one episode of Boy Meets World to do the whole diaper, and that was with time to stop and take pictures of each step. 

This is WAY easier to do in a pocket diaper, because all you need to do is turn the whole thing inside out, through the pocket opening -- you can see where the elastics are to snip! If you have any questions, feel free to ask them here, shoot me an email at technicolormoments [at] gmail [dot] com or tweet me @jennplusn. 

Thanks for reading!

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