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Old 06-18-2008, 09:03 PM   #21
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Re: Diaper Materials - Pros and Cons

Great info ladies - I will update the main post in a sec.
Yeah, I definitely want to stay away from the Naturals vs Synthetics debate. The main goal is just to have all the general materials information available in one place so we don't have to hunt for it piece by piece. And info based off of CDing experience is awesome to share for newbies like me or more experienced mamas even. Thanks ladies, keep it coming!

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Old 06-18-2008, 11:11 PM   #22
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Re: Diaper Materials - Pros and Cons

Where was this list when I was an overwhelmed new cd'er? Great idea!

I love my bamboo diapers - super absorbant and soft, but I get stink issues with them, same as hemp. I don't know if I'm the only one.
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:57 AM   #23
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Re: Diaper Materials - Pros and Cons

thanks so much mama I will definitely check those out
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:58 AM   #24
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Re: Diaper Materials - Pros and Cons

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Originally Posted by wyatt'smom View Post
Where was this list when I was an overwhelmed new cd'er? Great idea!

I love my bamboo diapers - super absorbant and soft, but I get stink issues with them, same as hemp. I don't know if I'm the only one.
how thick are they (how many layers) which type of bamboo fabric are they?
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:22 AM   #25
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Re: Diaper Materials - Pros and Cons

I wrote this in 2006 for the RDA. It is part of curriculum I wrote for diaper circle leaders, but they give it to anyone who asks so I don't think they'd mind me sharing. Please add the information you find most useful to the list:

Absorbent Material: Material that soaks up and holds liquid. This is the MOST important part of the diaper. Without enough absorbent material you barrier material will NOT work. Flats, Prefolds, fitted diapers, pocket inserts, inside of AIOs, doublers and most wipes are made with absorbent material.
There are 3 fibers that make up absorbent material, all absorbent material should be made with fabric containing at least 80% of these (ex. 20% polyester 80% cotton OR 5%lycra 55% cotton 40%hemp):
• Cotton- what most people are familiar with, works well, easy to find
• Hemp- can only find online, costs more, can absorb more by weight than cotton(a 5oz piece of hemp will absorb more than a 5oz piece of cotton)
• Bamboo- newest absorbent fabric, hard to find even online, can absorb more by weight than either hemp or cotton.
There are two different ways of making fabric, weaving and knitting. Both have pros and cons to their construction. Here are different fabrics in each category and some of their pros and cons:
Knits: All knits have some stretch to them. This means that diapers made completely out of knits can fit longer than the same diaper made out of woven fabric. BUT because of that stretch they are harder to sew with.
• Jersey/ Interlock: ALL tee shirts are made out of jersey or interlock, most out of jersey. The difference between the two is that jersey is a single knit and so there is a right side and a wrong side to it, if you cut it the edge will curl; interlock is a double knit, both sides of the fabric look the same, if you cut it the edge will stay flat, it is usually thicker than jersey. Pros: easy to find, comes in cute prints, relatively cheap, very soft and stays soft, can make all parts of a fitted diaper out of it. Cons: doesn’t always wear well so look for thicker (higher weight per yard) fabric to wear longer.
• French Terry/ Fleece: French terry is a knit on one side and loops on the other, most baby towels are made out of this. Fleece is just French terry with the loops brushed so they are soft and fleecy, like a sweatshirt. This fabric can be easy to find, just make sure that made out of 80% absorbent material. Pros: can be found in regular fabric stores, soft, can make all parts of a fitted diaper out of it. Cons: can be more expensive, you can rarely find prints
• Velour: is a knit velvet fabric, it has a knit side and a velvet side. This can be harder to find, but is still available in some fabric stores. Pros: VERY soft, can make all parts of a fitted diaper out of it. Cons: can be more expensive, hard to find in a variety of colors.
Wovens: Many are easy to find. Most are cheaper than knits. They are easy to sew with but do not offer the luxurious feel that some of the knits can give.
• Quilting Fabric: is the fabric you can find abundantly throughout ANY fabric store. It is thin with no stretch, but offered with an amazing variety of cute prints and colors. Use only as an outer fabric to add cuteness to the diaper, it is too thin to add much absorbency.
• Flannel: is another fabric you can find at almost any place that carries fabric. It is much thicker than quilting fabric and has a napped (fleecy) side or it can be double napped. There IS a difference in the quality of flannel you can find, quilting flannel and diaper flannel will last the longest. Pros: easy to find, cheap, lots of cute prints Cons: can get pilly with washing and doesn’t wear as well as other fabrics.
• Birdseye: is a woven with a very distinct diamond weave. It can be found at some fabric stores but you often have to know where to look. Pros: it wears extremely well, only gets softer with use, is very affordable. Cons: only comes in white, thinner so it requires more layers.
• Terrycloth: is the fabric your bathroom towels are made out of. It has loops on both sides and is very absorbent. Pros: easy to find (easy to recycle from old towels), you don’t need many layers because it is so thick Cons: can add bulk to your diapers, after a lot of use it gets rough so I would not suggest using it as the inner part (part that touches the child) of any diaper.
Microfiber: is another absorbent material, but does not fit in with the other absorbent materials. It is a synthetic fiber that does not actually absorb liquid. It is the weave of the fabric and the thinness of the fibers that create millions of tiny pockets that grab and hold liquid. Most of the time it is used as a pocket stuffer. DO NOT put microfiber next to baby’s skin because it will suck the moisture out of their delicate skin. Pros: easy to find (look in the automotive towel section), inexpensive, no sewing needed just fold, can absorb a lot of liquid at first Cons: looses some absorbency over time, doesn’t feel very nice (kind of catches at your skin)

Barrier Material: is the material that keeps you and anything your baby is on dry. It is the barrier between the absorbent material and the rest of the world. There are a lot of choices in barrier material.
• PUL (polyurethane laminate): is a plastic like backing applied to fabric. Pros: very waterproof, easy to find on the internet, relatively inexpensive, comes in lots of colors and prints. Cons: not very breathable, prints are often made with cotton fabric and wick (carry wetness across them).
• Nylon: is a waterproof, woven fabric (make sure it is a waterproof nylon as some are not). You will find this fabric used in factory made diapers (Bumkins) much more often than you will find it in home made diapers. Pros: Very waterproof, fairly easy to find. Cons: can be expensive, not breathable, should not be dried in the dryer.
• Polyester Fleece: Lots of lap blankets are made out of this fabric. You can find it in almost any fabric store, but there are differences in quality. Malden Mills is a fabric miller that creates very high quality fleece which many diaper makers swear by, but for most people it can only be ordered online. Many people have had great luck at using fleece from regular fabric stores, but fleece, more than any other barrier fabric seems to be hit and miss, it works for some people and not for others. Many people do not use it because compression wicking, wetness traveling though the fleece when the absorbent material is wet and there is weight put on it for an extended period, like when a baby is in a sling or sitting in a car seat. The different thickness levels of the fleece are known as weights and are usually only listed for fleece sold online, 200wt and 300wt work well as barrier fabric. Malden Mills has a line called Windpro and all weights of it are good for barrier fabrics. Pros: can be cheap (depending on what type and where you get it), breathable, comes in cute prints and colors. Cons: doesn’t work well for some people, cheap fleece begins to look worn very quickly
• Wool: can be found as a knit fabric or a woven fabric or can be hand knit or crocheted from wool yarn. Lanolized wool is an interesting creature, it repels most liquid, but can absorb 40-80% (depending on which source you get your numbers from) of it’s weight before feeling wet. Pros: VERY breathable (keeps your baby warm in winter and cool in summer, really. Try using a nylon cover outside on a hot day and when you change your baby their diaper will be warm and humid. Do the same thing with a wool cover and their diaper will be nice and cool.), self cleaning due to the lanolin (a component of many soaps), only needs to be washed when it begins to smell dirty (1-2 times a month), can be worn as clothing (shorts, pants, bloomers), only barrier fabric that can be organic Cons: wool can be pricey, wool fabric can be hard to find, does require a special washing routine, cannot be used as an AIO outer due to the special washing routine.

Stay Dry Material: Used for the part of the diaper put next to the baby, especially in pocket diapers. Is NOT required for a functioning diaper, but many moms like that it keeps their baby’s bottom feeling dryer. It is also incredibly useful in creating a pocket diaper that doesn’t leak. There are two types of fabric used for this purpose.
• Polyester Microfleece: is a VERY thin fleece that allows liquid to pass through it but does not absorb it. Pros; gives a stay dry feel to a diaper, does not wick, easy to find, very soft Cons: can be pricey , can hold buildup and begin to repel liquid
• Polyester Suedecloth: is a thin fabric that has a napped side and a smooth side. Pros: gives a stay dry feel to a diaper, does not wick, holds up better over time than microfleece does. Cons: not as soft as microfleece, has the same buildup issues that microfleece does.

Notions: The things that hold the fabric together and make the diaper work. Unfortunately many of the notions used in cloth diapering are only available online.
• Hook and Loop: The most well known brand is Velcro. DO NOT use Velcro on your diapers, not only does it cost more than better brands, it is not made to handle the frequent washing routine that diapers go through and you will have to replace it with in 1-2 months of using the diaper. The two brands of hook and loop that diaper makers employ (and can only be bought online) are Aplix and Touchtape. Aplix costs more but stays softer over many washings, Touchtape is cheaper and comes in many colors but gets stiff after a lot of washing. Both work well and it is a personal preference as to what you should use.
• Snaps: Diapers with snaps are very popular. Most of these diapers use KAM snaps put on with a KAM press, a KAM press will cost you about $70 and can only be bought online, but if you love snaps or plan on making a lot of diapers it can be a worthwhile investment (it has excellent resale value when you are done using it). If you don’t want to buy one, but really want snaps you can send them to a couple of different WAHMs who will put the snaps on for you, but it can get to be expensive. DO NOT USE the metal snaps with handheld snap press you can find at fabric stores, the snaps are not meant to go through the abuse that diapers take, the snaps will fall off or rust.
• Elastic: There are many different types of elastic and it is mostly a personal preference what you use. Do be aware of what your pattern suggests you use since the amount of gather changes depending on the type of elastic. Most patterns call for ” elastic or 3/8” elastic. Make sure that it can be washed and dried on high heat (only a few elastics cannot).
• Fold Over Elastic (FOE): deserves its own section. It is a binding and elastic in one. It can only be bought online. It is very soft and pretty easy to use BUT the hook part of hook and loop will catch on it and cause it to pill. I suggest using it only with snaps.
• Thread: ALWAYS use polyester thread when sewing anything with a water proof layer. Cotton or poly/cotton blends will absorb and carry moisture leading to leaks. I suggest using polyester thread on everything, that way you don’t get different your types of thread confused.
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:53 AM   #26
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Re: Diaper Materials - Pros and Cons

I believe that this thread has the potential to be one of THE best "One-Stop-Shop" places for all a person needs to know about cd's.

Way to Go Ladies
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:12 PM   #27
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Re: Diaper Materials - Pros and Cons

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how thick are they (how many layers) which type of bamboo fabric are they?
I have 3 fitteds made from bamboo terry, 1 bamboozle and 2 p'tit. Do you think maybe it's because it's not organic and it's really the polyester portion that is making mine smell?
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Old 06-19-2008, 12:14 PM   #28
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Re: Diaper Materials - Pros and Cons

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Originally Posted by wyatt'smom View Post
I have 3 fitteds made from bamboo terry, 1 bamboozle and 2 p'tit. Do you think maybe it's because it's not organic and it's really the polyester portion that is making mine smell?
bamboo french terry maybe??
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Old 06-19-2008, 04:31 PM   #29
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Re: Diaper Materials - Pros and Cons

Rachel: Awesome info! TY!
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Old 06-20-2008, 07:56 AM   #30
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Re: Diaper Materials - Pros and Cons

Thanks for this awesome list!

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