Ok, so I’m going to flat out admit – I am NOT a very good, nor experienced, sewer. In fact, I just bought my first sewing machine on Boxing Day, and it is expected to arrive today!
That being said, I fully understand the reasons why one might want to “refresh” their diapers by changing the elastics on their diapers themselves. While there are generally some options locally to send your diapers to get fixed by another local mom, this can cost anywhere between $3-$6 per diaper (plus shipping if not local), which isn’t cheap, especially if you only paid $10-$15 per diaper to begin with.
That being said, please know that this isn’t ridiculously easy. I was very frustrated trying to figure it out – but I did it! I have learned two different methods – one is significantly easier than the other, but the lengthier method is a little more durable, in my personal opinion. While I did get better with practice, repairing my first diaper took about 40 minutes the lengthier way, and about 30 minutes for the shorter way. I have it down to about 20 minutes per diaper, but if you are a super busy mom (like me!) without a lot of extra time available, it might be worth your money to have someone local fix them up for you. That being said, let’s get into this.
Ball-head Pin (or any regular stick pin)
Replacement Elastic – 0.25” x 5.5”
Sewing Machine (Optional)
Adding New Elastic without Removing Old Elastic (Shorter method)
Step 1: Turn your diapers inside-out. You don’t need to worry about the flap part, but make sure you can see the part where the seam meets the encased elastic. It looks kind of like a 3 way intersection. See those black threads? Make a small hole with your scissors OR use your seam ripper to open a couple black stitches – just big enough to thread a safety pin through. Make a second hole at the other end of the elastics encasement to thread the elastic back out.
Step 2: Cut a piece of elastic 5.5 inches long, and attach a safety pin to the tip of it. Attach the opposite end (without the safety pin) to the diaper – if you are using a sewing machine, you can use a zig-zag stitch to attach the new elastic.
Step 3: Once the end without the safety pin is securely fastened, continue threading the new elastic through the encasement. You will need to bunch up the diaper to make it fit. Once the safety pin is completely through, detach the pin, and attach the elastic to the diaper.
Step 4: Turn your diaper back right-side out. Using a small top stitch, seal up the little hole you made at both the top and bottom of the elastic encasement. Tadaa! You are done.
Removing Old Elastic and Adding New Elastic (Longer Method)
Step 1: Turn your diapers inside-out. You don’t need to worry about the flap part, but make sure you can see the part where the seam meets the encased elastic. See those black threads? Grab your seam ripper and pull out all of them, exposing the complete elastic. Just the black threads though.
Step 2: Once the elastic is exposed, you will see that it is physically attached to the diaper. This is awesome for maintaining the placement and reducing leaks, but a pain in the butt for replacing. The elastic is attached with a white thread – use your seam ripper to remove the stitches, but be careful not to rip out the seam that is holding the PUL and liner together.
Step 3: Measure out 5.5 inches of ¼’’ replacement elastic to make the repair. Fasten it with a safety pin to each end of the area you will be refastening the elastic to.
Step 4a : If you want to secure the elastic to the diaper, pin the elastic down to the diaper and just use a simple stitch and sew up the middle of the elastic, just like the elastic that you removed was attached. Turn diaper back right side out.
Step 4b: If you don’t want to secure the elastic to the diaper, don’t worry about sewing up the elastic. Simply use a zigzag stitch at the top and bottom of the elastic, attaching it to the diaper. Turn the diaper back right-side out.
Step 5: Now, all that is left is to re-encase the elastic. If you chose 4a, then simply top stitch along the seam that you removed at the beginning – you should see where the old thread was. If you can’t see it, measure about ⅓’’ from the outside of the diaper and sew along the elastic. If you chose 4b, pin the middle of the elastic to hold it in place, and sew along the old seam with your top stitch.
Tadaa You are done! Below is what the final product looks like. We removed the elastic on both legs, and on the left side, we used Step 4a and the right side Step 4b. Visually, they are basically the same, and back to functioning as designed 🙂