Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Flip Nappy Repair

In this post, I'll be showing you how to replace the elastic in your Bumgenius Flip nappy. I've only shown the leg casing here, but the back elastic is pretty straightforward and done the same way as the back elastic repair on the Bumgenius Organic.

You will need:

  1. A Flip nappy cover
  2. Scissors
  3. A sewing machine (you could probably hand sew this, but I prefer my machine)
  4. Seam ripper
  5. A few pins
  6. A small safety pin
  7. Elastic, 6mm or 1/4 inch in width, 4.5 inches long (1 piece for each leg and the back)
  8. Polyester thread matching the existing thread.
  9. Nap time

1 - Using your wiley fingers, feel along the leg opening for the end of the elastic. It will feel like a little bump within the leg casing itself.

2 - Using the seam ripper, and being very careful not to rip the fabric, take out a few of the stitches. I find it easiest to rip out at least 1-2 inches worth of stitches. Repeat at both ends.

3 - Ta-dah, you have discovered where the original elastic is attached. Remove this using your seam ripper, or cut as close as you can to the end of the elastic, leaving a little stump. Get rid of that old loose elastic.

4 - Pin your small safety pin to the end of the new elastic and thread through the leg casing.

5 - Pin at one end only to keep the elastic in place.

6 - Stick under your sewing machine foot, turn the wheel to push the needle through the elastic and PUL, then remove the pin. This is quite tricky to do, and you may find it easier to release more stitches from the leg casing. With lots of swearing, get it into place, and sew back and forth over the end 4 or 5 times to secure. Repeat at the other end.

7 - Now you're ready to sew the leg casing back into place. Checking both sides are in the correct postion, pin and sew. Pull fairly tight as you sew, and try not to sew over the elastic now hidden inside. Remember to overlap your new stitching with the old to make sure it doesn't unravel. Repeat at the other end (I don't know why this picture is the wrong way round).

Yay, All Done!!

And for comparison, here's just one side of my Moonbeam Flip fixed. See how bad the elastic was?

Identify your Bumgenius

There are several different styles of Bumgenius nappies out there - here I'm going to show you the different types, and try to quickly summarise how they work. There's also a quick colour and print guide at the bottom, in case you're a nutter like me, and just HAVE to have one of each colour! Yes, I am that sad.


So, we start with the classic Bumgenius Pocket. Otherwise known as the version 4, or v4 (or course, there has also been the v3,v2 and v1 - but they're basically all the same, just slightly modified as the years have gone on). This is a Birth-to-Potty nappy, lined with a stay-dry fleece. These come with two inserts made from microfibre. One is 'newborn' size, and one is adjustable in size using poppers. The newborn insert can be used later on as a booster. The inserts are inserted (duh) into the pocket using the flap at the back of the nappy. Pop an insert in, and you're good to go.


Second up, we've got the Organic, sometimes referred to as the 'Old/Original Elemental' or OBGE. As far as I can tell, the same design was called Elemental in the States and Organic here in the UK, but now there is the 'New Elemental', which confuses things a little. There is a layer of organic cotton covering the PUL, then two layers of organic cotton sewn in as inserts. This is an All-In-One nappy, meaning that you don't need anything extra, just stick it on the baby and go. These are Birth-to-Potty.


Elemental are re-designed Organics. The layer of cotton that covers the PUL has been removed, and instead the two sewn in inserts of organic cotton are wider (in order to stop the PUL touching baby's skin). Again, these are an All-in-One nappy, but can be easily boosted by placing a booster of your choosing underneath the two attached inserts. These are Birth-to-Potty. Often referred to as 'New Elemental' or NBGE.

In the side view above you can see the two seperate layers of organic cotton. The right picture shows how it can be folded for a smaller baby.

These two pictures show that the inner layers can be folded towards the front or middle, depending on whether you have a boy or girl. A big thank you to Melissa for providing these pictures!


Freetime is another All-in-One option. This time, there are two inserts, one attached at the front, the other attached at the back, both made of microfibre with a stay-dry top (keeping baby's bum dry). They also have a layer of fabric underneath these inserts, keeping the PUL from touching baby's skin, in a similar way to the Organics. These are Birth-to-Potty.

(pictures to come)

The Flip nappy system is a PUL cover that can be used with either a stay-dry insert or an organic cotton pre-fold. There are also disposable inserts available. The cover can be used to cover most nappies (including fitteds or any insert you fancy). It's very versatile. The flaps at the front and back keep the insert in place, it's easy to boost and when used with the stay-dry insert, very trim! Again, they are Birth-to-Potty, fitting a wide range of babies.


Bumgenius nappies also come in Newborn. This is a very small nappy, designed to fit a baby weighing 6-12lbs. They are an All-In-One design, and require no stuffing or folding. Therefore, great for those first weeks when the last thing you want to be doing is folding nappies! They can't be boosted, so need frequent changing. When Bumgenius used to make sized nappies, the Newborn was referred to as the Extra Small or XS


BG Sized Nappies  are now quite hard to get hold of, as they no longer make them. They come in four sizes - Xtra Small, Small, Medium and Large. They are essentially an AIO style. There's a pocket in the back, where the inner permanent microfibre insert is, and extra boosters can be added as needed.


Flip Trainers
(coming soon)

(coming soon)


Bumgenius Organic Repair

I've been using cloth nappies for the Squid for a year now, and really loving it. I recently bought four Bumgenius Organics (or old style Elementals) for cheap, as the elastic was very slack. I set about repairing them, and am very please with the finished results. Thought I'd share how I did it, for other parents out there who want their nappies to last a little longer.

Here's a good comparison shot - the blue nappy (left) has had the elastic repaired, the black one (right) has not. The difference is pretty clear!

Here's another comparison, with the bigger one on top :

For this repair you will need:
  1. A Bumgenius Organic (also referred to as an 'old' Elemental)
  2. Scissors
  3. Seam ripper
  4. Sewing machine with straight stitch and zig-zag stitch functions
  5. Three pieces of elastic, 6mm wide (1/4 inch), 4.5 inches long
  6. Small safety pins
  7. Thread in white and something the matches the threads on the outside of your nappy
  8. A wee bit of patience
We will be replacing the leg elastic, the back waist elastic, and also separating the soakers/inserts at the front for easier folding and quicker drying.

1 - Open the nappy along the front, above where the poppers are (or velcro, if it's got velcro). Open it enough to fit your hand in, about 3-4 inches. Turn the nappy inside out.

2 - Using the seam ripper, take off both leg elastics. The stitches are very small, so take your time and make sure not to rip the PUL (waterproof outer layer). Take note of where the original elastic is attached (in line with the second row of rise poppers). You can use a safety pin to mark.

3 - I found that because of the way the elastic is attached and the nappy sewn, some of it is hard to remove without hurting the PUL.

4 - If you find this, just cut the elastic, leaving a small stub at the end (this also gives you a good stop and start point for exactly where the elastic should be attached).

5 - Attach new elastic. Use a straight stitch first to secure it, then switch to a zig-zag. Pull the elastic taut as you sew. You should find it fits exactly when pulled tight. Start at the rise popper end, PUL side up, and sew it directly onto the serged edging. Here, I've used black so it shows up better, but it doesn't really matter as it's on the inside. Repeat for both legs.

6 - Now onto the back waist elastic. Feel along the edge of the nappy to find a little lump, this is where the elastic is attached. If you're lucky, a bit of elastic may be poking out.

7 - Using the seam ripper, open up where the elastic is attached, about 7 stitches or so. Do the same at both ends.

8 - Using a small safety pin, attach the new elastic to the old at one end, then unpick the old elastic at that same end. At the other end, pull the old elastic through the casing and the new elastic should come with it. Attach the new at both ends with a safety pin, and then using straight stitch, sew the ends to the nappy. Again, be mindful of sewing it onto the serged edging.

9 - Turn the nappy outside in, and sew around the space where the back elastic is attached. This is a little tricky (and a bit hard to explain!). Basically, just follow the original stitching to replace what you unpicked earlier.

Now, if you don't want to remove the front end of the insert, skip ahead to step 14. I would recommend doing it though. It will help your nappy dry quicker, makes it easier to fold when the nappy is on the smaller rise settings and also makes it easier to boost.

10 - Turn the nappy inside out again, and find where the insert is attached at the FRONT of the nappy. 

11 - Using your seam ripper, unpick all the stitches until you have remove the small rectangle of fabric. Get rid of that little rectangle of fabric, and try to remove as many bits of thread as you can

12 - Turn the nappy right side out again. In some of the nappies, the inserts are sewn together at the front end, so unpick this. 

13 - Here are the two inserts detached from the front, showing how much easier they are to fold now. It will leave holes, but I've found that with a few washes these holes close up and they make no difference to the performance of the nappy while being worn.

14 - Now with your nappy turned right side out, all that's left to do is use a straight stitch to close up the front hole (yes, I have a pink sewing machine, because I am awesome).

And that's you all done! Here's the finished nappy, being compared with the blue one, and the old elastic compared with the new, big difference huh?

People have asked me before about holes in their Bumgenius Organic nappies, holes that have appeared in the cotton layer that covers the PUL. These holes are fine to leave, you can repair them by hand-sewing or patching them - but really, they are just cosmetic and don't affect the nappy's performance. 
I've also been asked about 'wicking' that can occur with this style of nappy (where the wee leaks through the leg holes onto clothes). This is easily avoided by making sure all the cotton is tucked in around the leg opening, you should not be able to see any cotton on the outside when the baby is wearing the nappy.

I was going to round this post off with a cute Squid in fluff picture, but he moves too fast!

Introductory Post innit.

So, here I am, starting up yet another blog. This one is a keeper, I'm sure. So, sarryb.blogspot.com. A place to show off my awesome sewing, knitting, and general craftiness mega skillz. Expect cloth nappies, baby talk, knitting, the odd bit of light profanity, sewing, tutorials, plenty of pictures and plenty of words.

The main characters will include myself (Sarry B), my lovely boyfriend (henceforce known as Bloke) and our baby (Squid), and sometimes our dog (Hound).

I promise that this one will last more than 5 posts. I swear down. Honest guv.