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
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