How to Sew a Wool Soaker!
Step 1: Collect 100% wool sweaters. Medium to heavy weight, any style or color. Thrift shops are fabulous for this. As is your closet - finally a way to use all those "thoughtful" wearable gifts from your mother-in-law!
Step 2: Felt the wool. It sounds fancy but is as easy as tossing the sweaters in the washer with some soap. Run through on hot, dry in the dryer. For thinner sweaters, try the process twice. Enjoy seeing shrinkage at work. (Not that sort of shrinkage!)
Step 3: Either cut off the sleeves or make sleeve-like thingies. (Pardon my use of technical terminology. I'll include a glossary if needed.)
Measure baby's inseam (ankle to middle of diaper at crotch). Mark your "sleeve" this same amount up from the wrist, adding a bit for seams/bulk/growth. If using sleeves, snip at the seam down to the mark. If using sleeve-like thingies, sew up to the mark (right sides together - zigzag stitch or serge). Either way, what you end with should look like the picture above.
Step 4: Turn one sleeve right-side out and tuck it inside the inside-out sleeve. Yes, that makes so much sense, doesn't it? It will look like one inside-out sleeve with a lining. Or like the picture below.
Match up the open ends of the sleeve (where you snipped/didn't sew) and sew or serge it. A zigzag stitch works best if you're not serging. You'll want to reinforce/overstitch the spot where my hand is in the photo. Turn the whole thing right-side out and check your work! Cool!
Option: if you want there to be an obvious "front" and "back" to the pants, stitch one side straight up from the leg seam. Does that make sense? Trim off excess fabric and that flat side will be the front while the puffy side will be the back. Confused yet? Trust me, it makes sense.
Step 5: Cut your soaker pad! It will look a bit like an hourglass and should be roughly the width at the crotch of your diaper (3-4 inches, usually) and likewise, as tall as your dipe in front and back. Picture? Sure!
Step 6: (Optional) Decorate your soaker pad!
Use felted wool (old skirts or pants are perfect) and quilt or straight-stitch on a wide setting the decorations to the bum side of your soaker pad. A picture will help, I'm sure. (Note: You can also do this at the very end, if you hand-quilt the applique.)
Step 7: Attach the soaker pad to the Outside of the pants. I use a zigzag stitch again, close to the edge. You could hand-quilt if you wanted that look (though you'd have less durability). Use lots of pins. Seriously. The pad tends to shift if you don't and who wants a baby with a lopsided bottom?
Perhaps eat some lunch and check on baby.
Step 8: Measure your little goofball around the waist. Cut your elastic to this length, plus a thumb's width. Use virtually any type or size of elastic. Smaller babies I'd suggest a 1/4 inch, larger up to 1/2 or 3/4 inch.
Step 9: Cut the top of the pants fairly straight. You can make the back slightly taller than the front as most dipes have a higher rise in back. To be super certain your cover will cover the diaper, I'd measure the rise of a diaper in front and back. Mark those measurements up from the crotch and mark again about 2-3 inches up. Trim as needed, then turn over the top and pin in place. Stitch all the way around except for about an inch. Insert your elastic (handy to use a safety pin). Sew elastic ends together, pull into casing, stitch that final inch closed. Like this:
Step 10: Lanolize the cover! Easy peasy. Take a Tablespoon or so of Eucelan woolwash and a teaspoon or so of lanolin (you may have some leftover from those early sore-nipple-breasteeding days). Microwave or heat to melt the lanolin, add to a little tub of very warm water, and let the soaker soak. For quite a while. Several hours at the least.
Step 11: Dry and Dress! To help wool dry faster, roll the item in a towel and stomp on it (or if you're in a good mood, just squish it with all your weight), then hang to dry. Once dry, your soaker can now be used over any cloth diaper. No leaks, soft and comfy for baby, fun and beautiful for you. You'll have the cutest Puffy Butt on the block.
If you're feeling extra crazy, use the rest of the sweater to make a dress to match the diaper cover ...
But that might be going a wee bit overboard.