Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Diaper Cover Conversion: Velcro to Snaps


Baby girl has officially outgrown her smaller prefolds and diaper covers, but I've been reluctant to bring out the bigger size. I knew the velcro was nearly non-functional on all of the diaper covers, and I just didn't want to deal with covers that didn't close securely. So I put it off. I've been using disposables in the meantime, but of course that means both more waste and more money.

Also, more blowouts. Gross.

I am not a fan of Velcro or Aplix diaper closures. The Velcro/Aplix gets full of junk, they don't fasten as securely as snaps do, they catch on things, and they just end up being a frustrating mess (and yes, I do use the laundry tabs). I replaced the velcro on half of them when my last baby was in them, but it didn't hold up well and I didn't even bother with the remaining ones. Why replace the velcro only to do it again for the next baby?

I tried to ignore it a bit longer, but then I watched poor girl crawling along the carpet one day. Because the velcro no longer closed all the way, the end of the tabs caught on the carpet each time she moved. She sounded like our old cat as she walks across the room, rip rip rip, nails catching the carpet with each step. The velcro had to go.

I debated for a while. Bummis now sells snap-closure covers (kudos to them!), but I didn't really want to invest in new covers when these ones (Bummis Super Whisper Wraps) were, velco aside, perfectly fine. The elastic is great, they don't leak, and if I could just fix the velcro they'd be perfect.

So if I wasn't going to replace the covers, I needed to figure out the best way to fix them up. Our local fabric store has recently added some cloth diaper making supplies to their stock, but the snap pliers had poor reviews. So even though it meant I couldn't pick them up locally, I went ahead and ordered the KamSnaps pliers and a few (*ahem* hundred) snaps.

While I waited for my snap pliers to arrive, I unpicked the velcro from the diaper covers, including the laundry tab. It all came off quite easily. I snipped off the velcro on each side of the front piece, as it was sewn directly into the diaper seam and I didn't want to mess with that. I just clipped it as close to the seam as I could and called it good.


Once the velcro was removed, I noticed that the diaper tabs were showing quite a bit of wear. There was some stretching, the polyester fabric was rubbing off the laminate in places, and some of the removed stitching had left noticeable holes behind.



I had bought a small amount of plain PUL from the fabric shop, so I used that to reinforce the tabs. I simply cut out the rough shape of the tab and hand-stitched it on.

(Yes, I hand-stitched it. I tried to use my sewing machine, but apparently PUL is finicky to work with and I didn't have the correct needle. Machine-sewing would, of course, have been much faster, but I don't have great swaths of time in which to do this sort of thing and having to set it all aside to make another trip to the store simply wasn't going to happen. For future reference, have a #9 ballpoint needle handy if you want to use your machine to sew with PUL.)

I used a double layer of PUL on the tabs, which made three layers of PUL in which to embed the snap. This served the triple purpose of covering the holes left from the old stitching, strengthening the tabs, and providing greater reinforcement for the snap. Use polyester thread rather than cotton to prevent wicking.


Then came the big day: The snap pliers arrived. Made my day. It's the little things.

I used a strip of a cereal box to make a template. I set 6 holes for the snaps 3 cm apart on the first diaper. I wasn't unhappy with it, but after trying it on the baby, I decided a slight bit more flexibility would have been useful, so I set 8 snaps 2.5 cm (1 inch) apart on the remaining diapers. Then I tried the cover on the baby again, used a pen to mark where the tab snap should go, and set one snap in each tab.


Done! The snap pliers worked amazingly well. Each of the 48 snaps set perfectly the first time. No regrets at all over this purchase. All in all, it was still cheaper than outright replacing the covers, and I have so many other projects that I intend to use the pliers on as well (starting with a few of these adorable dress-to-romper conversions). Oh, the possibilities.


Need more details? Check out these excellent tutorials:
Cloth Diaper Conversion – Velcro to Snaps Tutorial
bumGenius Snap Conversion



Linking up with Your Green Resource...

14 comments:

  1. This came at the perfect time! We are due in June and I have a bunch of Bummies wraps that are good minus the velcro and I was wondering how to go about this! Thank you!

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    1. Best of luck with the conversion, and congratulations!

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  2. I so need to do this. Thanks for the motivation!

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  3. We used the BSWW covers as well, and the Velcro drove me crazy. If we had to start over I would choose snaps from the beginning.

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  4. Wish I'd had this tutorial years ago! I did the exact same thing when baby #2 was in diapers (feels like forever since then) - even had the same froggie print for the BSWW :) Our local diaper shop lends out a full-on snap press, so it was well worth it. I didn't/don't have any sewing skills, so even though my tabs were showing the same wear as yours, I just did the snaps through the single layer. Worked perfectly well for the remaining life of the diapers. Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Good to know that a single layer of PUL should suffice for the snap; thanks!

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  5. For the snaps across the front of the cover did you add any extra PUL behind them to reinforce the snaps?

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    1. The Bummis Super Whisper Wraps have a second strip of PUL behind where the snaps are placed. I placed the snaps through both layers. If I was using a diaper cover that only had one layer of PUL, then yes, I likely would have added a second layer the same way I did for the tabs.

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    2. Perfect. That exactly answered my question. Thanks!

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  6. I know this was a few months ago, but I have a question. I'm thinking about redoing my Thirsties hook & loops and wondered if it would be possible to just put snaps over/through the velcro. I know it would look terrible, but I'm not worried about that in the slightest--I'm just that lazy! :) The major concern I would have is that the snaps wouldn't be deep enough. What do you think (before I buy the snaps/pliers)?

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    1. I am nearly positive that the snaps would be deep enough. I have seen and used cloth diapers that had snaps set right through the velcro and they worked just fine. If it were me, I would feel confident enough to go ahead and buy the snaps and pliers. Good luck!

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    2. Thanks for the (incredibly) fast reply and help! I went ahead with my lazy plan and wanted to let you know that it seems to have worked great--my son is wearing my first attempt right now! I have Thirsties covers and went straight through the velcro, but not through the protective layer on the inside (the pocket where some people tuck a pad folded diaper to secure). That way I figure I didn't need to reinforce with PLU there. I started about 1 inch in from the sides and put two rows, about 3/4" apart. I think that's overkill, so I'll probably do an inch or more apart next time. I will also try only one row, because with the velcro still intact it's not likely to move.

      I also went straight through the velcro tabs. The only problem with this is that it doesn't look like I'll be able to make them cross over because the tabs aren't wide enough. BUT it saved me removing the velcro and reinforcing the tabs, too, so yay!

      Thanks again for your help!

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  7. Thanks so much for this great tutorial! I had four Bummis Super Whisper Wraps that would no longer stay on our toddler (5 minutes after putting the diaper on you'd find it around his ankles - not helpful!) due to worn out velcro. I was able to get a good deal on the KAM snap pliers and snaps, and followed your tutorial exactly for the conversion. Now I have four completely usable covers that have been just using up space for the last few months!

    Thanks so much,

    Amy

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  8. I'm so happy to hear you were able to save your covers. We're big advocates of minimizing waste. Thank you for sharing your experience!

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