On the cloth diaper board I frequent, there has recently been quite a few posts about Flats. Flat diapers are similar to prefolds, in that its a piece of fabric that you can fold in different ways to give your baby customized absorbency and the best fit. Flats are essentially just squares of fabric, usually just one layer and can be made of most any material. The threads made me curious and I kinda wanted to try them. One day when I was bored I decided I take one of Mercy's old swaddling blankets and test it out as a flat. The blanket was 40x40 and made of flannel. It was pretty big on her, but I got the basic concept down. It was fun trying out the Old School cloth diapering techniques, and way easier than I thought it would be.
Then I decided to try it with a smaller receiving blanket, and was able to get a much better fit. Then I decided to take all the flannel from Joanns I had laying around and cut it down to size and turn them into flats. Heres my current flat collection, made from purchased flannel, and also a couple upcycled blankets.
Thats 7 diapers, all made from what I had laying around the house, costing a total of probably 10 dollars. Flats is one of the most economical and environmental ways to cloth diaper. You can find receiving blankets from garage sales and resale stores for less than a quarter, use ones you have laying around the house (since moms usually receive an overabundance of these at babyshowers) or you can buy flannel from Joanns (I always wait til its on sale for 2.50/yard). They have tons of cute prints so you're baby will always have the cutest behind. You can also use old towels, tshirts that don't get worn, pretty much anything you have laying around. If you cut a fabric that will fray though (like flannel or terry cloth) you will need to hem it, I just zig zag stitch the edges, or you can just cut it with pinking shears.
Another benefit is there is so little waste with these. A yard of fabric (or bigger swaddling blankets that usually measure 40x40 instead of 30x30) will give you scraps after you cut it down to size. You can turn the scraps into cloth wipes, or you can fold the scraps and use them as a lay in doubler to increase absorbency in your baby's wet zone. Using the Origami Fold, and a scrap doubler, my upcycled blanket diaper is more absorbent than my $30 Goodmama! Also, being only 1 layer of fabric they dry super fast so you use less energy if you dry them in the dryer, or less time if you line dry.
Here's a pic of a flat on my girl, taken today.
That is 18 layers of absorbency right there, and look at how incredibly trim it is!
I do love my "fancy" pocket and AI2 dypes, but I also love these. The fact that they are made by upcycling materials, all the scraps are utilized making no waste, and then the old school folding and pinning, all adds up to making me feel awesome and empowered when I use these. Throw in that the knowledge of how to fold these and being able to make one out of pretty much anything around the house, and I feel darn near indestructible. At least when it comes to diapering that is.
Yeah, thats right, I just said a diaper makes me feel empowered. You can laugh at me, I'm laughing at myself a little too.