Cloth Nappy Fabrics 101 Part 1: An Intro

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Welcome to Real Nappy Week 2015! Well…. the fun starts tomorrow but I thought I’d whet your whistle and have you all geared up to learn all about cloth this week and enjoy the discounts we have coming up.  If you’re not familiar with real nappies then this annual event is a great time to swot up about all things cloth, bag yourself some bargains and realise cloth nappies really aren’t in any way reminiscent of the the square of terry towelling held together with a big pin of yester-year. Modern fabrics and notions have meant that cloth nappies are a world away from the commonly held vision of the nappies used by our mums and grans. 

Image courtesy of Bumble Bees Modern Cloth Nappies


I mean, really…. for the love of cute! Did you ever see such a lovely baby’s bottom? No? Well I urge you to check out Bumble Bees Modern Cloth Nappies page for even more amazing creations. Victoria makes exactly the kind of nappies that got me hooked as a cloth head and thinking “I want to make that” and it’s these kinds of nappies that have me cursing the potty.  Cute fluff aside, I do recall those early times of complete and utter confusion – there are just so many terms and types of fabrics you can use to make your own nappy.  So what better time to celebrate and educate around cloth than Real Nappy Week? This week I’ll be posting a series of posts based around cloth nappy making fabrics to help clear the confusion and build confidence that both making, and using cloth isn’t that scary at all.

So why use cloth nappies?

Well for me there were many reasons that resonated but there were some stand out drivers.

  • Chemicals – This was the number one reason I used cloth. I was horrified to learn that disposable nappies contain the chemical Sodium Polyacrylate which is a super absorber. This chemical was banned from tampons in 1985 as it was considered to contribute to Toxic Shock Syndrome. Unlike most other baby products there is currently no legislation to determine what can and cannot be in a disposable nappy.
  • Pretties! – Yes it’s very shallow but I can’t deny I was totally and utterly wooed by how pretty cloth nappies are.
  • MoneyGo Real estimates you can save up to £1000 by using cloth, even more if you use them for more than one child. Cloth nappies also have a resale value when you don’t need them anymore, the pre-loved cloth market on places like Facebook is very active.
  • The environment – using cloth helps reduce landfill deposits and carbon dioxide omissions.


So how do you make a cloth nappy?

Just like there are oodles of ways to make a dress, there are oodles of ways to make a nappy. I’m not going to go in to the different types and styles of nappy, you can find a good starter guide here and this is the pattern we include in our cloth nappy kits which will help out with some of the terminology and give you more of an idea of the styles options available. Neither is this series going to outline the laundry regime you should use, except to say I whole heartedly recommend using a wet bag which you simply unzip and place in it’s entirety in to the washing machine. Wet bags keep any whiffs zipped in, that you never have to put your hands in anything yucky and your machine does all the hard work. It’s easy, I promise. You can read a laundry guide here.

We sell a kit here (which you can get at a 20% discount all week, starting tomorrow) which contains everything you need to make your first nappy and includes a pattern which is a great way to dip your toe in to the water. Once you have that under your belt it’s a good idea to get some fabrics from the roll and you never know…. before long you might be whipping up incredible creations like this Winnie The Pooh wonder made by Jacqui at Dinky Dot Bots

Image Courtesy of Dinky Dot Bots


In essence there are five areas to consider and make a choice from with regards to nappy fabrics. If I strip things back to the very basic level and just think about fabrics and notions you need to have various “layers” that make a nappy work.

  1. The inner or lining layer – this is often  a thin manmade fabric referred to as a “Stay Dry” layer whose main purpose is to wick away moisture from your baby’s skin so it feels dry
  2. The absorbent layer – let’s get real, your baby is gonna wee and it needs somewhere to go. Absorbent fabrics collect moisture from the inner wicking layer and hold on to it so it doesn’t leak out.
  3. The waterproof layer – this is the layer that stops the wet from leaking through to your baby’s clothes. This is almost always PUL fabric. 
  4. The outer layer – the outer layer is sometimes the waterproof layer but it’s often this layer that adds the über pretty factor and is generally made from plush/ minky.
  5. The notions – this is the fastenings and elastics

So throughout this week we’ll take a look at each of the different layers and hopefully decipher some of the confusion!

We are also participating in the Great British Nappy Hunt. There are lots of prizes from lots of cloth related retailers to be won, including a £50 Plush Addict gift voucher, so why not sign up, play along, learn something and have some fun?!




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