Monday, June 23, 2008

Tutorial: Elastic repair (casing style)

There's not much worse than a nice diaper with loose elastic! I appreciate the business I get from fixing diapers, and I know my customers appreciate these diapers having "new life"! LOL But I know some are the do-it-yourself types, so I thought it would be nice to include a tutorial for those who want to fix them themselves. Perhaps in the future I'll post a tutorial for fixing blind elastic (ruffle edge) such as Kissaluvs, etc.

This tutorial describes how to fix an elastic in a casing, such as Fuzzi Bunz, Bumgenius, Blueberries, etc. I get the most repair orders from FB and BG, I'll be working on a Blueberry soon, but it looks as though it follows the same instructions as a FB. The following pics were taken during the repair of a BG one size pocket.


First, turn the diaper inside out and find the points where the elastic attaches. You'll be able to see a small bit of elastic sticking out of the top stitching most of the time, sometimes you'll only see where the top stitching gets close to the edge again, at the end of the casing, you can tell where this is because you'll be able to see the seam allowance.



Using a seam ripper, gently undo the stitches hiding the end of the elastic. You'll want to unstitch all the way to the end of the casing. Sometimes you'll find the manufacturer was in a hurry to sew and caught the elastic in the top stitching for a half inch or so, just unstitch until the elastic is free from the casing but still attached at the end.

Using the seam ripper or scissors, carefully cut the elastic close to the stitching at the end. Leaving the end of the elastic helps you see where to attach the new elastic to. You can also unstitch the end and mark it, but I find it is much easier to accidentally unstitch some of the serging that way...
Go to the other end of the elastic and unstitch the casing in the same way. Pull the broken elastic out, and snip it off, either leaving the stitched end for reference, or marking where to attach the new elastic. Repeat this on both legs and the back, as needed. I recommend replacing both leg elastics at the same time.

For Fuzzi Bunz leg elastic (except for some older ones), it is stitched to the seam allowance the whole way down the casing. You have a choice of just threading new elastic through and leaving the old in place, or unstitching the entire leg casing, removing the elastic, and applying new.


Measure the new elastic and pin one end in place, on the seam allowance, using the markings you made or by pinning it over the old elastic end that you left attached. I suggest using Stretchrite braided elastic, but be sure you've got the kind that says it's good for swimsuits. It is made to use in temperatures up to 200 degrees and will withstand chlorine. Stretchrite makes elastic that looks exactly the same but does not withstand high temps, making it unsuitable for diapers, so read the back of the package!

You can use Lastin (I recommend 3/8") but you will have to unstitch the entire casing and attach the Lastin to the seam allowance with a 3 step zig zag.

BG and FB use 1/4 inch elastic. I'll try to remember to post exact lengths as I find my notes on them... BG one size uses 5" in the back and 6" in the legs. You can estimate how much to use from your broken elastic you removed too. Adjust according to your preference of course!

Stitch across the elastic a few times to sew the end in place tightly. Be careful not to stitch past the seam allowance. Then, using a safety pin, knitting needle, or your preferred method, insert the elastic through the casing.

On the other side, pin it in place and stitch again.

Once all elastic is replaced, snip thread ends and turn the diaper right side out. You will be able to see where you unstitched the top stitching and casings. Snip the original loose threads. Then, line your needle up with the original stitching lines, a few millimeters before the original thread ends and stitch/back stitch a few times before re-doing the casing. Be sure to pull the elastic tight as you go. Stitch/back stitch again a couple times once you reach the end of where you removed the stitches.


You can see the new casing here, it looks as good as new besides some overlapping top stitching.

Ta-Da! Ready for lots more use!

29 comments:

giodee said...

Thank you! This was just what I needed. I'm not great at sewing and had posted a bunch of comments on different boards for help, but then I found your page through google.

Thanks again for sharing your repairs and the photos are especially helpful.

-jodi

Pixie said...

Another thank-you. We are having the leaks & our daycare is putting us on disposables until we get it sorted out. I probably would have taken a much longer & harder route!

Question: What sized needle to you use? I have both BG 1.0 & 2.0. The 1.0 have a material that is more slick. I am concerned about the needle making permanent holes that will leak. What are your thoughts/experience here? I may be a little paranoid here but chronic leaks are no fun!

Deann H. said...

The smaller the needle the better for repairs. I used a 12 for this project.
I understand your concern with leaks, especially the 1.0! I know that periodically tossing PUL in the dryer will sort of re-energize the PUL, so to speak. But for the 1.0 all I can suggest is a silicone water repellant spray where you sew the new elastic. I understand concerns some may have about using such products though.
I know suedecloth is more prone to build up, so I wonder if that is why they are leaking more? I'd suggest scrubbing the inner layer with regular blue dawn and a veggie/fingernail brush then rinse, rinse, rinse in hot water (until there are no bubbles in the washer). Test if there is buildup by spraying a stream (not mist) with a spray bottle directly on the inner material. If it beads or runs off, there is buildup.
I hope that helps a little!

Jen Barnes said...

Thank you SO much for posting this. I was looking for a more professional-looking repair to the BG than snipping the lining from the outside. I agree with the 1st commenter that the photos are especially helpful. :)

SoKizzy said...

You have empowered me! Thank you! The pics are awesome since I have to look at them to completely understand the "lingo"! Ha! And I'm out to buy a different elastic since I was just about to use a regular style elastic that wouldn't have held up.

Sonya said...

I love the tutorial! I am getting ready to repair some small old style Fuzzi Bunz. I'm just wondering how to know the right length of elastic to use? We won't actually use the FB's until May when the baby is born, but I need to repair leg and back elastic on 20+ diapers. Thanks so much for sharing your tutorial!

Deann Hadley said...

Hi Sonya, Thanks for your comments! Finding the right amount of elastic to use came by trial and error. The first couple I tried I knew how long the leg opening should be by measuring it against a newer diaper, so I tried a few lengths and found one that seemed to work well. For sizes and diapers that I can't compare like that, I measure the failed elastic and check how much the new elastic stretches and go from there. Also, if you are using elastic such as Stretchrite, it is almost always sewn in stretched to its limit. I prefer just slightly looser elastic than that, so I measure accordingly. :)

Michaela said...

Thanks for the tutorial. How do you repair the back elastic on a Fuzzi Bunz?

Michaela

Deann said...

Hi Michaela,
The back elastic on a FB is nearly the same to repair. It is constructed with the elastic serged at the ends, inside a casing. I open the last inch of the casing on each side, and cut the elastic where it is not serged in. I sew the new elastic, with a straight stitch, on the serged seam allowance, where the original elastic ends are (the same way shown in this tutorial), and close up the casing. Thanks for visiting!

LinkyLou said...

Thank you for this great tutorial - I am a fan in Australia!! I don't even have a sewing machine so have been doing them all by hand and this has helped SO much.

Becca said...

Thanks for posting this. I came across the post several months ago and have recently been sending all of our 2 year old diapers into rehab before we add child #2 to the mix. I have been trying to hand sew because I was having problems with the machine, but after looking again, I think I just need to sew more of the elastic down. Thanks!

Erica said...

How much do you charge per diaper to repair? I just noticed that all 18 of my BGs have blown elastic! I used them for about 8 months and then packed them away for 2 years. Pulled them out today to discover they are all shot! I'm so disappointed! Thanks for the info.....

Diana said...

Hi there! I am also interested in sending you a set (or 16) to do. I sent off an email yesterday, so if you send me the address to mail them and paypal to send payment I'll have that off to you right away.
Thanks so much for the tutorial! I'm very glad to know that I *can* do it... but with baby #2 only a month away I'd much rather pay you!

Heidi said...

This is a great tutorial - thanks.

Are you able to post the length of the back and leg elastic to use for the BumGenius All-in-Ones?

Thanks from Australia

Deann said...

Re: Are you able to post the length of the back and leg elastic to use for the BumGenius All-in-Ones?

I have not repaired the SM or MD BumGenius AIOs, but I have repaired the LG size. I used 5" in the back and for some odd reason I didn't write down what I used in the leg! I think it was the same as the one size though, 6".

PovertyJane said...

you are a saint Deann. this is brilliant! And bumgenius actually instructs to cut into the microsuede casing to take out old and replace new elastic...I was shocked!! This is much better!

Michelle said...

Great Tutorial Mama, can I link to it on my blog? Also I want to make sure I read it right, are the elastic pieces on the legs of the ones size 6"
Thanks!

acornsandoaksbaby said...

Thanks for posting this awesome tutorial! I was using it to replace the elastic in my FuzziBunz, but got lazy and thought of a different way and thought you might be interested. I cut a tiny slit in the microfleece at the top and bottom of the elastic casing, thread new elastic through and then tacked it on at the ends. Super fast, super easy and no ripping and redoing stitches. So far it's working really well :)

Darla said...

This is great info. I just acquired a batch of diapers, and some may need a refresh soon. But I also seem to be having a problem with some of the brands that don't have the same type of leg casings as the FB, which are my favorite. Baybees, Happy Heineys, and a few others seem to have leg casings that are sewn on the outer edge, but not on the inner edge like FB are. As a result, I get wicking more often than I'd like. Have you had success sewing an inner seam on these, a la FB? Also, if you've replaced elastic on these brands, did you just sew new elastic right over the old, since there doesn't seem to be any easy way to remove the old elastic sewn to the fleece? Lastly, what do you charge to do these repairs?

Naomi @ Joyfully Seeking said...

Thanks so much! I just bought some used BG OS and am repairing one of them as I type! So glad I found your tutorial!

Nicole said...

Thank you SO MUCH for posting this! I need to replace elastic in some of my old diapers but had no idea where to start. This is very, very helpful. Thanks again!

Amanda said...

Yay, great tutorial! I successfully replaced the leg elastic in my (sized, discontinued) Blueberry diapers last night. Thanks!

treehugger said...

Thanks for posting. I am a beginner sewer and I am struggling to find the appropriate length of elastic for my BGs. The new elastic doesn't seem to provide enough gather around the legs so it hangs open/loose. If I shorten the elastic, then it is pulled so taught that there is no more stretch to it. Maybe I am using the wrong kind of elastic. Do some kinds of elastic have more elasticity than others?

Claudia said...

thanks for the tutorial, its great. But my diapers are AIO Elementals... how do I repair them? tia

Deann said...

Claudia, I can't see your profile to email you back, hopefully you'll see this!
I have not repaired an AIO in a really long time so I don't remember exactly what it looked like on the inside. Since the AIOs don't have a pocket opening, I would suggest taking out the center stitches across the tummy panel to open it up. As you do this be careful not to stretch the PUL (stretched out fabric is harder to close back up just right). Then you will be able to get inside and find where the elastics attach.

Marie said...

Have you replaced the elastic in BumGenius pockets with Lastin? Is it worth the effort?

Tiff said...

how much do you charge to repair the elastic on BumGenius 3.0 ?

TrplAKd said...

This is great!! I spent a few hours last night converting a handful of my BG one-sizes from velcro to snaps for baby #2... they have been falling off and leaking, despite my best efforts to comb any lint out of the velcro or strip the dipes. The snaps are great, but it seems pretty clear the leg elastic needs to be switched out, too. I was a little daunted, but now I see it will be much easier than I thought!

BeUTfulMama said...

Any idea of what the replacement elastic's measurements would be for a small Fuzzi Bunz?

Thanks!