One of the best things about cloth diapering is that they're reusable. Just toss it in the wash, and it comes out good as new. After awhile,though, you may find that your diapers aren't fitting your munchkin as well as they once did. The culprit may be "relaxed elastic". Elastic wears out any number of ways, but generally through time and use. There is a theory that repeated drying can wear your elastic out quicker as well.
Luckily, replacing the elastic in your diapers is a really simple process that only takes a few minutes. A note on the elastic you choose to "refresh" your diapers: I prefer braided elastic. It says specifically that it can be used for diapers, and I've had great results with it. Valerie at Diaper Junction gave me two Diaper Rite covers to use for this tutorial, but this process works for most diapers that I've come across.
- Small safety pin
- 2 5 inch long pieces of 1/4 inch braided elastic (3 if you intend to replace the back elastic as well)
- a seam ripper or straight pin
- thread to match your diaper
Pictures 2 and 3 show the rough location of the elastic ends inside the casing of your diaper. Some diapers have a little tail of elastic sticking through that makes locating it easier. But you can usually feel the elastic by pinching your way along the sides. From here, you're going to want to grab your seam ripper and open up the casing where you felt the end of the elastic. You're aiming for a hole about 1/2-1 inch long. Do this for both ends of the elastic on both sides of the diaper (right leg and left leg.)
You should have four openings in your diaper now, and the ends of the elastic should be visible in each hole. Ideally, you will have found the place where the elastic was sewn in originally. Picture 4 shows what you're probably looking at right now, a nicely popped elastic end. Pull the elastic so you can pinch it between your fingers and cut it. Don't let go! Grab your safety pin and new elastic and pin them together as shown in Picture 5.
This is the tricky part. Work the safety pin into the casing of your diaper, but hold onto the free end of the new elastic. I use my teeth.Find the opening on the other side of your diaper and pull the old elastic. The safety pin will thread the new elastic through the casing. Be really careful to hold the free end of the new elastic tightly, losing it in the casing is not fun. Picture 6 shows the new elastic still pinned to the old, but ready to be sewn down. (Picture 7) Once the free end of your new elastic is sewn down, you can sew the casing shut (Picture 8).
Time to turn our attention back to the safety pin. The other side of your diaper should still have the old elastic safety pinned to the new elastic.(Picture 9) You can now cut the old elastic off and discard it.
The safety pin still should be on the new elastic. (Picture 10) Once you've pulled yourself enough slack with your new elastic to position it where the old elastic was sewn down without resistance,remove the safety pin and sew the elastic down. (Picture 11.) Once you sew the casing shut, you're done with that side. The process works the same on the opposite leg, and the back elastic as well.
So what do you think? Do you find this blog post helpful? Think you'll give replacing your elastic a try when needed?