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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Refreshing a Happy Heinys One Size Pocket Diaper

With the new baby coming, it's been necessary to pull up all my old cloth diapers, reevaluate them, sort them, and either use them, fix them, or sell them.  This Happy Heinys is a diaper I originally intended to sell, but then I realized that I was sort of attached to it (and I like the way it always fit my daughter so snugly).  It's still in very usable condition after 2 years of heavy use.  It was one of the first diapers I got so it was used after every wash for awhile there and has some of the worst wear and tear of all my diapers.  But really, the only major problem it has is the Velcro and that is easily mended.  So, I decided to fix it rather than sew it. 

Then, of course, I thought I might as well take pictures of the process and make a tutorial, so here it is:

The Happy Heinys Refresher Tutorial :-D

For this project you will need:
1. a seam ripper
2. a sewing machine
3. White thread
4. Thread in the color of your diapers PUL

 Here is my Happy Heinys diaper in dire need of some new velcro.  The elastics are still good--probably because I always air dried my pocket diapers in my basement.  Both machine drying and excessive sunning can cause the rubber in the elastics to break down more quickly. 

 As you can see, all the velcro was badly worn and frayed.  Also, bits of fuzz were sticking to the flaps.  They were still closing, but not as strongly as they used to.

 Get your seam ripper out. 
 ...and start pulling out the stitches in the closure tabs.  I alternated pulling out stitches from the outside and the inside.  Be careful only to grab the stitching with the seam ripper and not any threads of the actual fabric. 

 This is what my closure tab looked like once I pulled the velcro out. 
 When you use a bumGenius refresher kit to refresh a bumGenius diaper, they don't include the front strip of velcro (the loops part) because it is a bit harder to replace.  If you want, you can keep this front strip in and continue to use it.  I, however, decided I was going to replace it. 
 First, you'll need to actually take apart the diaper at the top of the front panel.  Carefully rip out the stitching from one end of the panel to another. 

 The diaper was serged inside out and then top stitched so there are two rows of stitching to remove. 
 Once the top panel is opened, you can go ahead and rip the seams out of the front strip of velcro
 The Happy Heinys velcro strip was a little less than 1.5 inches wide.  I don't know if that was because it shrunk over time, or if their velcro really is a little thinner than 1.5 inches.  In any case, I used replacement velcro that was 1.5 inches wide. 
 In order to get the correct length for my strips of velcro, I simply used the old velcro as a guide.  You need 6 pieces of velcro all together:
2 pieces of the hook side of the velcro.
2 pieces of the loop side of the velcro to act as laundry tabs.
1 piece of the loop side of the velcro to allow the closure tabs to cross over for skinnier babies.
1 long strip of the loop side of the velcro for the front panel of the diaper.

 Opening the space in the front panel so that the PUL is separated from the microfleece, pin your strip of loop velcro down and begin sewing it to the front panel of the diaper.  Use the indentations and holes left by the old seams as a guide for where to place it. 

 Once the strip of velcro loops is attached to the front of the diaper, turn the diaper inside out so you can stitch the panel closed. 
 It is important that the PUL side of the diaper be on the bottom--touching your machine's feed dogs--as you sew the seam closed.  If the PUL is on the top, the shiny side will stick to your presser foot and cause difficulties sewing an even seam.  I actually did that at first because it had been so long that I'd sewn a diaper that I'd forgotten, and you can see in the picture below that it caused my seam to be a little bit uneven. 
 Once the seam has been sewn from the inside, turn the diaper right side out again. 
 Now, top stitch the diaper.  Up until this point, you have been using white thread.  Now, you need to change your top color to the color of the diaper--in my case red--to match the rest of the top stitching. 
 Once the front panel is put in and closed, you need to work on your Velcro.  Depending upon which side is on the top when sewing in these strips of velcro, you will have to switch your bobbin or your top thread to match either the microfleece or the PUL. 

 I started by stitching in the closure tabs first--the squares of velcro hooks.  For this, I needed white thread on the top and red thread in my bobbin.   When you sew velcro, it's good to use a very slight zig zag stitch to keep the velcro from unraveling with use.  Also, Happy Heinys velcro is sewn in by putting a seam all the way around the edge and then one straight through the middle of the velcro strip for extra reinforcement. 

Once the velcro hooks are sewn in, you'll want to take a laundry tab--a square of velcro loops, and sew it in right next to your velcro hooks.  Again, you need white thread on the top and red on the bottom. 
 When the diaper is closed, your crossover tab is on the right side.  Grab the strip of velcro loops for your crossover tab and stick it on the top of this side of the diaper, over where you just sewed
 Make sure you switch the bottom thread--the bobbin--back to white, or this will happen. 

 Sew in your cross over tab like so.

Now, repeat the steps for adding your closure velcro and laundry tab on the other side.  However, you won't need another strip of crossover velcro.  You only need that on the one side. 
 Now, your diaper is done and ready to go.  Forgive the sideways pictures.  I reoriented them in my photos on my computer, but blogspot chose to upload them on their side. 
 Here are some before and after shots:

PS--this tutorial can easily apply to any diaper with hook and loop (velcro or applix) closures that is made similarly to the Happy Heinys such as the Softbums diapers. 

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