Tuesday, July 24, 2012

How to make an alternate closure diaper, no snaps!

The little guy can get out of every single diaper in his stash and I mean every single one.  Snaps, hook and loop, back snapping, side snapping you name it he can get out of it.  He's not ready to potty train yet so this makes the day some what challenging as he always waits until I turn my back to take off his diaper.  To save my sanity, floors and furniture I purchased some swim suit hooks from JoAnns to see if a diaper made using only these hooks might be what we need.

If you have a little Houdini that can get out of every style diaper but isn't ready to potty train you might want to try this method.  I found that the diaper fit like it does when I make it with snaps and there are only a few things I would do differently next time.  I'll mention those as I go through the steps.

So first thing you need to have is 3 packs of plastic swim suit hooks.  I bought 1/2 inch and 3/4 inch.  This diaper is made with the 1/2 inch ones.

Then you will want to get your diaper pieces cut out.  I used the Totally Square OS pattern for this diaper.  You can use your favorite pattern, it's a universal technique :)

I wasn't sure if I was going to do slots for hooks on the inside of the wing or not so initially I marked for the hip snaps but ultimately changed my mind.  As I made mine a OS I transferred the marks for the rise snaps.  You will want to cut out 2 strips an inch wide and about 2 inches longer than your rise snap settings.  

Once you cut these out take them to your ironing board.  Heat up the iron to the polyester setting with no steam.  Fold the pieces in half and press for 5-10 seconds.  The PUL will adhere to itself making a nice strap piece.  Please ignore my very old ironing board cover.  I really need to do something about that!

Fold one end on each strip in 1/2 and inch and pin.  

Thread the other end through a swim suit hook and fold the end over and pin.

Position the strip so that it is centered along the line of rise snap marks.  You want the hook to be lined up with where the top snap would normally be.  Pin in place along each snap setting.  Draw lines 1/8th of an inch away from each side of the pin.  You will stitch along these lines to make your slots for the hooks.

Sew the strip down along the lines that you have drawn, repeat for the other side.  A note, I should have sewn the top line under the hook down more securely.  I did lock my stitches at each end but while putting the diaper on I popped the stitches when I adjusted the rise.  So, I would recommend that you sew that line at least 2-3 times, locking stitches at each end with each pass.  Make sure it's sewn down really securely.  Of course you could always apply snaps here.  I opted for the hooks because the little guy pops the rise snaps open too *sigh*.  Oh and I did my hooks so they faced in.  I don't think it really matters which way you have the hooks going.

Once both sides are done you can trim the strip near the hook if yours was too long.  Mine was.  So to trim it I pulled the extra out to the side and snipped it close to the line of stitching.  

Smooth the strap down and the rise adjustment should look like this.

Now if the pattern you are using has two rows of snaps you need your line of slots to be centered between where the snaps would be.  I found this spot and drew a line all the way across the tummy panel.  Then marked where the snaps would be.

Cut a 1 inch wide strip of PUL that is the length of the tummy panel.  Fold in half and press like you did for the rise strips.  Use a bit of fabric glue on one side of the strip and center the strip over the line.  Press it down and make sure it's straight.  Then transfer your stitching lines to the strip and sew it down.

Thread a hook onto the end of the strap and fold the strap in until it touches the last line of stitching.

Stitch close to the hook with a zipper foot to secure it in place.  Turn it in towards the center of the diaper and slide it into the next slot over to keep it out of the way while sewing the diaper up.  Repeat for other side.  

On the back wings on the outer layer you need to find the placement for the hook that will secure the diaper closed.  My pattern has a top and bottom snap so I made a mark between both these snap settings on each side of the layer.  I drew a line along where my seam allowance is and then another 1/4 of an inch from that.  Next time I'll make it more like 3/8th to 1/2 of an inch.  It was a booger sewing the wings together because the hook was a bit too close to the presser foot.  You need to make another little folded over strap, well two actually.  Make them 1 inch wide by about 2 inches long to give you plenty of strap to play with when sewing it down.  Thread the hook onto the strap and center it on the snap line and line up the hook with the line you made away from the seam allowance line.

Put the outer layer to the side and grab your inner layer.  If you opted to just use a hip snap to prevent wing droop skip this part.  I was going to use snaps but changed my mind and decided to go all hooks.  Again, as this pattern has two snaps, a top and bottom snap, I found the center between these two snaps and marked my inner layer accordingly.  I also wanted to try and keep the slots inline with my snap settings so I made marks an inch apart and then marked my stitching lines 1/8 of an inch to each side of the snap setting mark.  Make two PUL strips that go from the end of the diaper to about 1/2 an inch past the last stitching line mark.  Mine ended up being just inside of the elastic marks.  Sew down along the stitching lines and trim the end about 1/4 of an inch past the last line of stitching.

That's it for the slot strips, now it's time to lay your layers right sides together.  Once you have them all matched up pin the layers together in the seam allowance.  Start on the tummy panel, be sure to start in a place where you end up leaving a nice opening to turn the diaper through.  

After you sew the layers together add your leg and back elastic.  Clip the corners and turn right side out.  Mark or pin where your elastic tack downs are so you know where to start and stop your casings when top-stitching.  Pin the opening closed.

Using a blind hem foot, top-stitch 1/8th of an inch away from the edge of your diaper closing the opening along the tummy panel as you top-stitch.  When you reach where the first elastic tack down is, sink your needle into the diaper and pivot the diaper.  I like to have my stitch length set so the stitches are 1/8th of an inch long.  This way when I pivot I can stitch 5 times and be where I need to be to make my casing.  The edge of the diaper should be between the 1/2 inch and 5/8th of an inch marks on your throat plate to give an adequate casing for elastic recovery.

This diaper is an AI2 so once sewn up I applied my soaker snaps through both layers.  

When putting on baby adjust your rise hooks, secure the hook on the tummy to a slot on the wing, then secure the wing hook to a slot on the tummy.  All done!!

A few additional notes:

If making a OS you could make more slots along the strip instead of ones that correspond with snap settings only.  This would make the diaper really adjustable through the rise.  

For the tummy and wing strips, again the number of slots can be increased to increase the level of adjustment you can get with this technique.

If you need to use a larger hook because you can't find the small 1/2 inch hooks make sure to increase the size of the slot so that the hook is easy for you to secure.  A 1/4 of an inch slot works perfectly for the 1/2 inch size hooks.  You would need to make it at least 3/8 of an inch for the larger size.  

I did not reinforce my strips and I really think I should have.  Next time I will add a reinforcement strip of PUL on the back side of the outer layer and sew each stitching line down at least twice to really secure it.

Now to wait until morning and see if my little Houdini figured out the new closures on his diaper!  I'm hoping to wake up to a little boy STILL in his diaper and not half naked.

♥ Krista


  1. brilliant way to solve the problem!

  2. This is so clever! What fabric did you use for the inner layer of this diaper? Can HBF be used that way?

  3. Terri the inner is microfleece. I don't see why you couldn't use HBF as the inner layer. If making it with an absorbent inner I would not case the legs so they would roll in to help keep the possibility of wicking to a minimum.

  4. This is genius! I'm doing this asap! Thanks so much for sharing!