After I finished the fitted diapers, I wanted to keep on going. The little shirts I had left weren't long enough to make fitteds, so I opted to make the baby's tiny little prefolds more fun. As I started, I thought I could do a quick sew-a-long just for fun.
First, lay out your t-shirt very carefully, lining up the front and back hems and making sure there aren't any wrinkles underneath. (That really fouls up the straight lines you need for this project.) Next, mark out the dimensions of the strip of fabric you'll need to cover about 1/3 of the prefold's width. For the newborn cpf's I've got, I decided 4" x 11" would do. The diapers are just over 11" long (after prewashing and preshrinking--they're much larger when brand new), and I like the embellishing fabric to cover just the center section, leaving the sides free to be folded or even cut so I can turn the prefolds into fitted diapers.
Here's the t-shirt, laid out and marked:
Next, cut away. I used my quilting ruler and rotary cutter; I suppose the braver and more experienced of you might skip the marking step and just cut with the ruler and rotary cutter, but I know that I'd end up cutting the wrong size if I couldn't measure thrice before cutting once. Here are the four strips and leftover bits of shirt.
Next, I serge the edges of the strips, making it really easy to turn under a neat 1/4" along the edge. (Be sure to check the differential feed so you end up with a nice clean, even edge. If the serging is ruffly or gathered, it just doesn't work. You can also press the edge, or just wing it, if you prefer. I just really like the serging for the way it stabilizes the knit fabric.
Line up the top of your serged strip with the top edge of the prefold, centering it on the thicker middle section. If you're planning on sewing down the top and bottom edges as well, start stitching twice the width of your serged edge down from the top of the strip, so you can go back and turn under that top edge, as well. I didn't do this, since I plan on adding elastic and waist tabs later, and will be serging the entire outside edge of the diaper afterward. I just wanted some instant-gratification first. ;o)
Backstitching at first, and turning the serged edge under as you go, sew closely along one edge down the length of the diaper. I usually start with the right edge, and move the needle as far to the right as possible, so I can get a close topstitched edge without missing the right feed dog. I use a slightly longer stitch length than usual, with a little lighter presser foot pressure so the knit doesn't stretch too much, and yet the stitches don't end up being super short due to the thicker fabric. At least that's how it works with my Viking Sew Easy. It's a good, non-electronic machine, but I realize that there have been all kinds of advancements and changes made since I bought mine nearly nine years ago.
Now, move your needle to the leftmost position, and repeat down the left side, sewing in the same direction as you did on the left side. Switching this way, instead of just turning the diaper around and sewing back in the opposite direction (as if you were sewing two left sides), keeps the strip far more even, and prevents some waving and puckering along the panel.
When you're done, hopefully you'll end up with something like these:
I tried to go for the more gender-neutral shirts, although I must admit that any son of mine will wear diapers with purple-flowers on them, because I like them so much. lol
As you can see, the knits don't make a perfectly even and smooth panel--but that's as much a factor of the uneven nature of the cotton twill diapers as it is of the knits. Still, I think they're awfully cute.
I think that these are my favorites, though . . .
(Someday we'll have some decent sunshine, and my photos will look nice again.)
Have a wonderful Saturday!