A couple years ago or so ago I met a great gal named Amber online. At the time I still owned a cloth diaper company and I was blown away by her store Diaper Kits. I loved how easy she made it for other moms to learn to sew their own diapers or sew just a few without having to invest in tons of specialty fabric… the materials most modern diapers are made with, you won’t find in stores. Amber has recently gone on to open another similar business…Butt Knits. There she offers patterns for knitted longies and soakers. Once again her talent for design blows me away! And I am not the only one that thinks so. Amber’s awesome diapers were just featured in Mothering magazine (hand painted rainbow diapers – below).
What I REALLY love about Amber and her stores is that she is helping to make cloth diapers and wool soakers (and truly beautiful ones to boot!) affordable for the average mom. Lots of moms may decide to stick with disposables after seeing a single diaper that costs $18. If you hang in the cloth diaper circles you will also begin to see that there are many cloth diapering moms that will drop a $100 on an embellished diaper…most moms cannot afford that. Can’t afford that $30 organic diaper? Try one of Amber’s organic diaper kits for under $10! It really does give moms on a budget an opportunity to have some of the nicer diapers.
So, I just had to introduce you all to Amber and her wonderful stores…
Tiffany: How did you get started with cloth diapers?
Amber: After having my first child I realized that I just wasn’t into disposable diapers. I didn’t like the stiff feel of them and I didn’t like the chemicals, glues, wood pulp, etc. in them. That was in 2000 and I was fairly new to using the Internet. Cloth diapers became my first real research project online. I read everything I could. We started out with Alexis Snap pants, prefolds (flat diapers), and pins. My husband did use the pins but he was always a little nervous about accidentally pinning the wriggling baby.
Tiffany: How did you get started sewing your own?
Amber: I found a free pattern and immediately cut up all of my husbands “bachelor” sheets and towels to make fitted diapers for our son. I tried a few purchased patterns but I found them to be lacking. The instructions weren’t as clear as I needed them to be. They seemed to assume some knowledge of how a modern cloth diaper was made. I spent hours trying to figure out what the instructions wanted me to do. Trying to figure out what fabrics to use and how best to sew the whole thing up.
Tiffany: And this translated into selling home sewing kits for other moms?
Amber: Absolutely. I remember being very pregnant with our third child and my husband taking the other kids out for the day so I could stay home and cut out diapers without interruption. That was that day that I realized that I hate cutting out the same thing over and over and over again. In fact, I realized that whole process was no fun. Washing and drying yards of fabric, ironing the fabrics, cutting…I just wanted to sew them up! While complaining to my Dad about it one day he said something about “diaper kits” and that I couldn’t be the only one who felt that way about making diapers.
Tiffany: You are spot on there. Sewing an actual diaper takes only 15-20 minutes in my experience…all the cutting and prep is just horrendous though. I hated it too. What kind of feedback have you gotten about your Diaper Kits?
Amber: I smile when you ask me that. I get a lot of positive feedback. The funniest one was when someone said we’re like the gateway to diaper sewing and that she’s now addicted to making cute diapers for her little one. I think the kits bring a level fun as well as functionality to families wanting to use cloth diapers. I often receive emails saying that DiaperKit.com has made it possible for them to afford all-in-one or organic cloth diapers. And of course, it’s such a special feeling to see your little one in cloth diapers made by you – I hear that a lot too.
Tiffany: It is an awesome feeling to have your baby where diapers you made…I agree. Are your diaper kits easy enough for sewing newbies?
Amber: I have received lots of emails from moms stating that this is their first sewing project or their first sewing project since home economics class years ago. They write to say that they were successful and how easy it was to do. That’s what I love to hear. I work very hard to keep everything as simple as possible. I test all of our fabrics before offering them. The illustrations in our instruction sheets were done by a professional illustrator who was familiar with the sewing industry.
Tiffany: What do you offer at Butt Knits?
Amber: Butt Knits has been a really fun project for me. I love to knit – I find it very relaxing. I also find it’s a great outlet for my creativity. And of course, wool soakers go perfectly over cloth diapers.
My vision for Butt Knits is that it be a reliable source for fresh new longies (wool soaker) patterns. I work with a professional pattern editor to make sure that my creations are translated perfectly into easy to understand knitting patterns. I want to bring embellished soakers to the average mom. Not everyone can afford embroidered or cabled longies. Butt Knits is an opportunity to learn to make them yourself.
Tiffany: Any tips for moms interested using cloth/wool for diapering?
Amber: Where to start? There is so much information out there on cloth diapering and wool as well. I have some good basic information on cloth diaper terminology on DiaperKit.com. I also have information on washing and drying cloth diapers. There are many routines out there but I share the two methods we’ve used over the last eight years of diapering.
Wool is amazing. It’s natural, soft, and very breathable. Those who may be struggling with diaper rash may find that cotton fitted diapers and wool covers (soakers) are the solution. I don’t think anything beats wool for breathability. You can learn more about how to care for wool soakers on my wash & care page.
Both of my websites have content pages with helpful information. Everything from diaper fabrics on DiaperKit to selecting yarns on ButtKnits. If anyone would like to contact me with specific questions they are welcome to contact me at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you so much Tiffany for having me on your blog!
Wednesday, August 27th, 2008