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The Importance of the Diaper Elastic (and how to fix it)

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This is a good fit on a cloth diaper, around the legs.

I made a grievous error while sewing some cloth diapers a while back and I paid for it today. I’d been messing around trying to figure out the perfect elastic length for each diaper because some of mine were coming out too tight. The ones I ended up making were way too loose instead. For the most part, they worked but every now and then a little poop would get out. I kept saying I would fix it and then put it off because I liked having lots of diapers in the rotation and the idea of fixing them seemed daunting.

“Before picture” of these loose elastics.
The diapers are hardly “scrunched up”
like they get when you have the leg
elastics tighter.

Today, I saw the error in my ways… I went to get Baby G this morning who was happily playing in his crib… Surrounded by poop. Poop on the sheets, blankets, his shirt, his shorts, his face, his feet, his everywhere. We did some cleanup and took a shower, did some laundry, and I separated out the diapers with loose leg elastic (post washing of course).

My back elastics are always okay. There’s less of a fine line with them… With leg elastics, I struggle to find the perfect between no leaks but no leg marks. I did finally get the “right” amount (I think) with some of my newer diapers.

Here’s what I did to tighten loose elastics on my pocket diapers without replacing the elastic:

1. Put a safety pin through the end of the elastic and close it.
2. Seam rip where you sewed the elastic in place on that side only. You don’t have to touch the other end of the elastic.

3. Using the safety pin, feed the elastic so it is tightened to the amount you’d like.
4. Sew in place- don’t catch the safety pin accidentally.

5. Remove safety pin, you can cut away the excess elastic if there’s a lot of it. In the picture above, I had about 2″ extra elastic and I just trimmed a bit off the end. That way if I decide it needs to be loosened at all I have a little room to do so.

Keep in mind that this isn’t something you’re likely going to need to do with a store bought diaper… it’s mostly useful if you make diapers yourself and are new to it, trying to figure out the right lengths of the elastic. 

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