Friday, August 21, 2015

Pros and cons of making vs. buying your diaper stash

A frequently asked question about cloth diaper sewing is "Is it better to make your own or buy them?" And the answer is, it depends! There are pros and cons to sewing your own cloth diapers, and it may be worth doing a combination of making and buying. 

Pros:
  • If you are already set up to sew, chances are you already have most of what you need to make diapers or diaper components like inserts. Same if you want to knit or crochet wool covers. Here's the basic supply list post for an idea of what you'll need.
  • If you have a lot of things on hand to upcycle/recycle (for absorbent materials, or wool or water resistant poly fleece for covers), that's cheaper than buying new and is sometimes cheaper than buying even used finished items. It may still be cheaper even if you have to thrift for items or buy new yardage.
  • Making things yourself means you have a lot of freedom to choose. Materials, style, type of diaper, even making up your own type of diaper.
  • It's fun! 
Cons:
  • If you aren't set up for sewing already, there is a lot of stuff you'll need before you even start looking at sewing machines. Same if you would like to knit or crochet wool covers but don't knit or crochet yet, although knitting and crocheting tools are not as pricey.
  • If you need or want to buy all new fabrics, that can come out to the same price or more than some commercial diapers. Pockets and PUL covers both may be cheaper to buy than make even if you don't count your time in the cost, and in the U.S., flats and prefolds are usually cheaper to buy than make from new materials.
  • Time. Even an experienced sewist will have a learning curve, and it takes time to make something yourself.
  • Option overload. It can be overwhelming to narrow down all the options for just the type of diaper you'd like to make, much less all the fabrics. 
  • If you do choose upcycling/recycling and have to thrift for items, that takes time and is not always as cost effective, depending on the prices in your area.
  • Not everyone enjoys sewing in general or diaper making in particular. 
I ended up making most of our cloth diaper stash, including inserts, fitteds, and some wool covers, using mostly upcycled materials. How about you?

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