After much trial and error, I am happy to announce the most up to date design on my bunchies pattern. These diapers are very easy to sew. They are an adjustable fitted, allowing for a range of baby bottom sizes, and they can be returned to a perfectly flat shape, which reduces drying time and makes them easy to store. Best of all, they are made with recycled clothing- a t-shirt for the shell and part of a flannel sheet for the soaker. The only other materials needed are elastic cord, found in the sewing section of Walmart and very cheap, some velcro scraps, and a few buttons. I hope you will give them a try.
The pattern is basically an hourglass shape, but with longer, narrower tabs along the back end. Shown here folded in half, it is 14" long, 6 1/2" wide at the front and 8" along the back. At the lowest point in the middle it is 4" wide.
Step 1: Fold a t-shirt in half, carefully smoothing any wrinkles. Pin on the pattern and cut out.
Step 2: Place wrong sides to the outside and pin together, leaving the back tabs open.
Step 3: Fold over 1/4" of the edge of the back tabs on both pieces. Clicking on the photo should enlarge it enough to see the detail.
Step 4: Stitch 1/4" or so from the edge along the back and around the sides and front, leaving 1 1/2" open at the tabs.
Step 5: Turn right side out using the opening on one of the tabs. Top stitch all the way around 3/8"-1/2" from the edge. This forms the casing for the elastic cord. When you come to the tabs, stitch all the way to the edge so that the seam comes to a sharp point as shown in the picture.
Step 6: Thread the elastic cord into a darning needle and feed through the casing all the way around, smoothing it flat as you go. Tie it off with several good square knots when you are done, and trim.
Step 7: Cut velcro pieces as shown, using the hook side for the back tabs and the loop side for the front. Stitch securely, being careful not to sew over the elastic cord. I used a zig zag stitch and went all the way around each piece twice.
Step 8: For the soaker, cut four layers of flannel in a 13" square. Stitch around the outside, leaving a small opening for turning. Turn out, then top stitch all the way around, turning the edge of the opening inside as you sew it shut. Fold the soaker in thirds, and center it lengthwise down the middle of the diaper shell. Pin the middle third along the back side, about 1" from the edge. Unfold and stitch the middle securely. The soaker can be stored flat, then folded into thirds before using. I usually fold the two sides under so there is no seam against the baby's skin.
Step 9: Sew flat buttons 2"-4" from the end of the tabs as shown. You may want to put 2 or 3 on each side to make the diaper more adjustable. To use diaper, place under baby's bottom, fold between legs and close tabs. Then, grasp both ends of the elastic cord together and pull gently. Loop the excess around the buttons. Quickly run your finger under the leg openings to make sure it is not too tight and stretch if necessary to even out the bunching. To wash, close the tabs, but make sure the soaker is unfolded and on the outside. Alternately, you can keep the soaker a separate piece if you wish. You can also use a newborn size prefold for a soaker instead of making one.
Here is a side view on my son. It is just a wee bit snug, so I will probably add another pair of buttons closer to the front. I have been using this size diaper since he was a chubby baby. I have noticed, though, that the sizes of my babies' bottoms don't change all that much from the time they are 3 months to toddler size. Once they start getting mobile, they work off the fat even though their bones and muscles are growing.
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