Cloth Wipes Tutorial

I am definitely nesting lately. I want to make so many things for the babe and get so many things done around the house. It is killing me that we don’t have the nursery painted yet. I’m going crazy. Since we did not paint the nursery the main color last night, I got started on my cloth wipe collection. I could have easily bought 40 wipes from here and spent $70+ on them. However, those things are ugly and much too expensive!

I thought that there’s no reason why I couldn’t make the wipes myself, so that’s just what I did. I ran down to Joann’s yesterday, picked up two yards of flannel fabric, and went to town! I figured I’d share with you how I made them, so you can make them too (if you want, of course).

For this project, you’ll need:

– Two yards of flannel (I bought two coordinating fabrics to make things interesting)
– Scissors
– Thread
– A rod/dowel of some sort (I used a skewer I had in the kitchen, you could also use a knitting needle)
– Iron, ironing board
– Sewing machine
– Pins

Now, I am writing this tutorial assuming that you know how to sew at least a straight line. I’m not one to write a tutorial on sewing, but I’m sure you can find many good ones out there!

I probably should have washed the fabric before I used it, but I didn’t for this project. I’m not concerned about shrinkage (I’ve used this flannel before for rag quilts — you don’t wash before you sew — and had no issue before), so I took the quick route. I’m also not concerned about the edges fraying. If you want to do this properly, I suggest washing and drying your fabric beforehand.

The first thing you want to do is iron your fabric — there’s no point in fighting weird wrinkle lines when you are cutting and sewing. Then you need to figure out how big you want your wipes to be. I went upstairs and grabbed out a Pampers wipe I have and measured it. It was about 7.5″x8.5″, so that is what I worked with. I added 1″ to my measurements to give me a 1/2″ seam allowance all around the wipe.

Now, I also took the lazy way out with this portion of the project. I cut out one square that was 8.5″x9.5″, folded up my fabric, placed the first square on top of the folds, and cut closely around it. It made for a really easy way to cut out a bunch of squares (I cut out 40 between the two yards of fabric). Do it how you like, but you should get 40 squares if you use my measurements. Of course you can make your wipes bigger and get fewer wipes out of two yards of fabric, but that’s up to you. Honestly, I would not make them any smaller than what I went with because they aren’t that big. If you’ve ever held a Pampers or Huggies wipe, you can see how big they are. Just perfect for a diaper change, but not much else.

So, now you have a stack of fabric. If you are using different types of flannel, you can separate everything here if you so choose. You need to take out your pin cushion and get ready to pin some fabric together! I had my fabric in two piles so I didn’t have to look at anything when I put my pieces together. I made three types of wipes: 1) brown fabric on both sides, 2) safari fabric on both sides, and 3) one side brown fabric/one side safari fabric. Do whatever you want. Here is where you get creative!

Once you have decided how you want your wipes to look, take two pieces of fabric and pin them together with the right side of the fabric touching (so it will be inside out). You want it to look like this:

I used four pins in each corner. You can do more or less. Whatever floats your boat. Once you have finished that one, you only have 19 more to go! I like to have everything ready to go from the start so I can fly through the sewing. Again, it’s your choice how to do things.

Next you are ready to sew. I used brown thread for some of these because that looked best; however, I ran out (ugh!) without realizing I didn’t have anymore brown, so the rest is done in blue. That is why you see blue thread in the pictures. I apologize for my lack of preparation. It was embarrassing. However, since these are going to be used to wipe up poop off my babe’s bottom, I didn’t think it mattered enough to make the 20-minute trip back to Joann’s for some brown thread.

When you sew these two pieces together, you want to make sure that you leave an opening so that you can turn them right side out again. I left about an 1″ opening in each of these. It was a little small, but I think it worked just fine. Whatever you are comfortable with is good. Don’t do less than an 1″ though, otherwise it will be difficult to turn these right side out. Make sure to use a backstitch at the ends of the opening otherwise your thread will unravel as you turn these suckers right side out.

Here you can see that I’m not perfect in my sewing, but at least you can see the opening I left! Make sure to clean up the long threads as you go and cut little slits at each of the four corners after everything is sewn together. This will make it easier on you later. If you forget, that’s okay. I forgot to do it for a few of my wipes and you wouldn’t even know.

After you have sewn all four edges together (save your 1″ or more opening!) and removed your pins, you are ready to flip these wipes right side out. Just force all the material through that opening (it make take a little while if you have a small opening like I did) until the pretty side of your fabric is facing out. Once you have the wipe right side out, you want to take your dowel (or whatever pointy object you decided to use) and poke the four corners out. This is much easier and better than sticking your fingers in such a small opening and trying to do this yourself.

See how the rod is making that corner look squarish? Right before I took the picture, that wipe looked like a wrinkly bag of crap. After you’ve done that to all four corners, you want to go iron your wipe again. Stuffing the fabric through that little opening will make it wrinkly, and you want all your edges to be nice and crisp for when you sew the finishing stitches.

After ironing, sit back at your sewing machine. Now for the reason for the 1/2″ seam allowance. Obviously you still have that 1″ opening on one of the sides of your wipe (you shouldn’t be able to easily see it after ironing everything down). You want to put a finishing seam around the edges of the wipe to sew that opening shut and make everything look pretty. The seam allowance ensures that you have enough fabric tucked inside to catch so you definitely get that opening shut well. Of course you may make your seam allowance smaller, you’ll just have to keep that in mind when you are ironing and sewing the finishing seams of your wipe.

I went around with a straight stitch (didn’t bother doing anything fancy since this is for a baby’s bum), making sure to use a backstitch where I started and stopped. I sewed a little less than 1/4″ from the edge of the wipe all the way around (basically I used the edge of the foot to guide me). Feel free to use a zigzag stitch or any other fancy stitch here. It’s all up to you!

(You can see my blue thread really well in that picture. Oh well. What you can’t see is that the light colored leaves are a pale blue, so at least it matches. Sort of.)

Once you have gone all the way around and snipped off your extra threads you are done! Your finished wipe will look like this:

Or it may look better. That’s fine with me! I don’t pretend to be perfect. :)

Now, you only have 19 more to go. ;) Honestly, it doesn’t take that long to make these at all. I’d say it should only take you about 10 minutes per wipe (at the most) as long as you know how to sew already. They really were a quick project.

And because I think they are just too cute, here is a stack of my wipes:

And here is another picture:

All in all, this was a super easy project and I am eager to pick out some more flannel to make my next 20! If you try this, I hope you have fun!

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