Tuesday, July 17, 2012

T-shirt Flip Style Prefold

Flip prefolds are my favorite insert to use in Prince Charming's cloth covers. They are a bit pricey however at $8 each. I did pick up some NWOT on eBay for $5 each and felt I got a good price, but I've learned to make them for just pennies!!!

All you need is a BIG t- shirt. I used my husbands 2XL undershirts he replaced with new ones I gave him for Christmas. Old and stained t- shirts are perfect for this.

  1. Line up bottom edges of t-shirt and lay flat on table.
2. Cut the bottom hem off, making a straight cut. Measure up 14.5 inches and make another straight cut. You now have a large ring of fabric.

3. Fold this piece in half, folded edge to folded edge. This may take a little fiddling to get it to lay flat.

If adding extra absorbency layers you should mark this fold line with a pin. Now open the fold back to the right and find the center of the left side (between the pin and left edge). Now lay your extra layers on the center of the left side. Stitch down with zig zag stitch and fold back closed. If you want the extra layers to go the short way on the insert then center the end of them on the uncut edge before zig-zagging. This is what the zig zag stitches look like on the other side. - see further instructions below.

If adding a decorative outer layer you should do it at this point - see further instructions below.

4. Sew a straight stitch along the left open side.

5. Find the center on the short edge and measure 2 1/2 inches from the center on each side. This is where you should use a straight stitch to stitch through all layers and make the fold lines. Stitch parallel lines 5 inches apart from short edge to short edge. In the photo below there are 4 lines stitched so far, 2 on the long edges ( note if not using a decorative outer fabric you only need to sew 1 long side) and 2 fold lines. I'm using pins to mark the centers of all 4 sides.
6. Find center on long edge and measure 2 1/2 inches from the center on each side. This is where you should use a straight stitch to make fold lines. Stitch parallel lines 5 inches apart from long edge to long edge.
This photo should make it about as clear as mud.

7. Trim up raw edges making them even. Zig zag or serge both raw edges.

8. Fold and place in your cover. No prepping needed if you are using upcycled fabrics. If using new fabric, I like to wash and dry it five times prior to cutting and sewing.

Flip organic insert fully prepped measures 13.5 inches wide by 14.5 inches long

Mama's frugal insert
Cost: less than $1 for thread and cute decorative fabric
Front side
Back side

Folded the short way

Your finished width will vary based on the width of your t-shirt. This doesn't really matter, but the wider it is then the more absorbent it will be. You want to keep it at or less than 13.5 inches wide so that it folds nicely.

  • Variations
Add a decorative outer layer. If you choose to add a cute outer fabric, choose one that is a knit jersey to match the t-shirt fabric. This keeps it comfy and cozy for baby. They really do feel soft. Cut the piece 1 inch wider and the same length as your folded t-shirt piece. Turn under 1/2 inch on both the right and left sides and pin on top of the folded t-shirt piece. Stitch both sides with a straight stitch. You now have 4 layers of t-shirt fabric and 1 layer of decorative fabric. Continue to step 5.

Add extra length. One way to add absorbency to this insert would be to cut the t-shirt at around 18.5 inches high instead of 14.5. Use your discretion to get the fold you want. This would work best on larger babies so that you don't get too much bulk added to the front. Use the insert in the same manner except fold over the extra length in the front or back as needed.

Add more layers of absorbency. Another way to add absorbency is to cut extra strips from the unused top portion and sleeves of the t-shirt and sew them into the center of the insert. These should measure 4.5 inches wide by 15 inches for use the long way or 4.5 inches by 13 inches for use the short way. Layer them on top of each other and zig zag the edges down in between the t-shirt layers (between the fold). Then stitch the first straight stitch holding all the layers together. You do not want the extra layers to reach into where you stitch the fold lines. It will add extra bulk and made it harder to fold. I've added up to about 4 extra layers and they do work well, but they also increase the drying time. The inserts with the extra layers are the last to dry in my diaper load and I usually just hang them over something to let them finish drying when everything is dry (I use 1 long high heat cycle). With these extra layers added, I feel like they work just as well as a Flip Organic Insert. Flips work really well, and never leak for me. I have no problems with the t-shirt flips made without extra layers either. They work great for normal daytime use, I just feel like a flip organic would hold a little more if put to the test.

If you use this tutorial, please let me know how you like it. I'd love to improve it based on your feedback.

Happy T-shirt Flipping!!


~ebc~ said...

Thank you for this very clear, easy to follow tutorial! I will be making these to donate to orphanages overseas and yours is so clear and quick to follow! I've connected with my first orphanage that can utilize to get tshirt donations rolling in!

Kate C. said...

I'm so happy you found it easy to use. I love these prefolds. The one I made during this tutorial without any exta layers is actually my favorite. It folds more flatly than the flips! I

I feel so blessed to be a small part of the charity work you are doing. Keep up the hard work. If anyone has extra t-shirts and no time to sew them up, I hope they send them to you.

Kaely said...

I'm planning to make a few of these tonight a extra inserts or 'soakers' for my little guy. This tutorial is very clear, so I think It'll be super easy to follow - I'm glad I read it because using the width of the tshirt (and not having to zig-zag all the sides!!!) is a great idea! :) I'll post back how they turn out.