With inner layers it depends on what you want it to do. Most people use a polyester inner (such as microfleece and suedecloth) as it draws the wetness away from bubs skin into the absorbent layer beneath. (called wicking).
You can choose to use cotton, bamboo, hemp or flanelette as your inner layer, but these are not generally choices used for a pocket nappy. Also with these
types of fabrics, as they are also absorbent, they remain wet and the wetness will stay against baby's skin.
I have made my children's training pants based on a pair of undies. I did them so that they side snapped (you could use velcro though).
The outer was a PUL print, foe bound edge and the inner was two full layers of hemp. Bamboo velour makes for a wonderful inner too!
I didn't do a polyester inner (to keep them dry) as I wanted them to feel the wetness to help encourage the training. The pants I made easily held one wee.
You could use any PUL outer, my toddlers picked the print they liked. This got them involved in their new pants making and they loved it even more!
I would really recommend the FOE (fold over elastic) as it gives a nice finish and the stretch to go with it. I also recommend the nappy be either snapped or use
velcro on the sides for ease of getting off when those number two accidents happen.
The Nappy Network in New Zealand have a pattern for a training pant -
If you want to use your own pattern all you need to do is trace around a pair of child's undies, making the size bigger though to allow for the bit of bulkiness the absorbent layers give the pants.
I think you should definitely give it a go. They are really easy to make.
Hemp and bamboo are both absorbent materials. Bamboo is a bit more absorbent than hemp. Both have antibacterial and
anti fungal properties. Bamboo will take longer than hemp to dry.
When line dried bamboo dries softer than hemp. Hemp can tend to get a bit crispy, but can be re-softened by just lightly stretching the fabric.
Both of these fabrics, in multiple layers, will take longer to dry than a single layer, two layers work quite well. When constructing your nappies it is worth doing boosters (in an AI2) that are in multiple separate layers so that the drying time is quicker. With an AIO the absorbent layers are sewn in so you can't speed up the drying time.
With both AIo's and AI2's you need to have an inner layer and an outer waterproof layer.
Inner layers can be made of 100% polyester (microfleece, suedecloth) so that when bub wee's the wetness is taken through this layer into the absorbent layer beneath, leaving bubs skin dry.
You can also use cotton (velour, knits or flanelette) , bamboo (fleece, terry and velour), hemp. These fabrics will not take the wetness away from bubs skin though.
I live in a quite hot area (but not humid like Darwin) and I use the 100% polyesters on all my nappies inners and have found that my babies skin is always nice and never hot.
For the outer layer you will need a PUL in either cotton or polyester. This fabric has a polyurethane laminate on the back which makes them waterproof. Without this the wetness will come all the way out onto bubs clothing.
The PUL is very lightweight and once again i have not found that bubs skin heats up at all.
Another option you could try is to use fitted nappies which do not have the waterproof outer, the nappy being made fully of hemp, bamboo or a combination of one of these with a flanelette outer.
Of course this type of nappy used without a cover could not be placed under clothes as the clothes would get wet. If you are mainly at home, or if you want to use your nappy as a fashion statement the fitted nappies can be work on their own or with a t-shirt, matching top and it looks quite nice.
If you can sew a straight line you can sew a nappy!
Some people seem to think that it is too hard to sew a nappy, but it isn't that hard at all.
Once you have your basic shape (check out our free patterns here) all you need to do is to follow around that shape with your sewing, turn out the right way, sew on your hook and loop closures and you are there. Look at the individual patterns to see what steps need to be taken.
You don't have to have an overlocker (serger) all you need is a straight stitch sewing machine. If your machine does have a zig-zag setting you can use this for sewing on elastic, if not straight sewing elastic still works.
The trickiest bit of sewing nappies is sewing the elastic. Make sure, if you are just a little scared, to practice on some scrap fabric sewing your elastic. Perhaps even make up a complete nappy from scrap fabric first as a trial run.
A nappy cut generally gets one nappy out of it, but if you are doing a newborn size you can usually get two nappies out of this cut. (depending on nappy pattern size).
If you wish to get more nappies out of your fabric it is better to buy it by the half metre as this allows you more room to place your pattern, interlocking
it and getting the best fit, and hopefully more nappies per piece.
Are you having trouble with stinky nappies, or nappies that repel water instead of absorbing?
Follow this great link to a wonderful article that gives step by step instructions.
It is very hard when first starting out to know which are the best fabrics to choose.
The three types of fabrics you need are -
Outer nappy fabric - PUL (this has a waterproof laminated applied to it)
Inner fabric nappy - 100% polyester like microfleece or suedecloth, this is the wicking fabric
Absorbent nappy fabric - bamboo, bamboo hemp, cotton fabrics.
If you are after a nice soft nappy the best outer fabric to use are the polyester PUL -
Polyester print PUL nappy fabric
(with this above like you need to click on each individual category to see the fabrics)
Polyester plain PUL nappy fabric
(with this one you select the cut size you want then the colour and the picture will change to that colour)
For your absorbent material, the bamboo fleece and bamboo hemp are great choices. They are highly absorbent, anti bacterial, antifungal and super soft.
Bamboo hemp terry
In regards to making all in ones and all in twos. I would base your decision on how fast you can get the nappies dry. The all in one has the absorbent
layer sewn within the nappy which makes it harder to dry the nappy fast. With an all in two , the absorbent layer snaps or lays into the nappy so you can take it out to dry it.
With my nappies the six layered booster is sewn in three separate layers so that it can fold out and dry really fast.
You will also need an inner layer fabric and microfleece or suedecloth are the best option for this -
I do have a section on my website which may help you too -
What fabric, and how much do I need?
Modern cloth nappy styles