Sewing Workshops

March 10, 2011

Every year I run a sewing workshop as part of the Reuseable Nappy Week in October, run by the Australian Nappy Network. This is generally held in a reasonably central location in Sydney and can accommodate up to around fifteen people with sewing machines, their babies and toddlers and cutting tables.

As part of the event, the NSW nappy kit is on display so that you can see a whole range of MCN “in the flesh”, so to speak. Some years we have also had a Knit In where those interested in learning to knit longies, shorties or wool soakers have had a hands on activity as well.

Outside those times, I am also able to run smaller sewing workshops near Hornsby in the north of Sydney. Learn to sew nappies, nappy covers, training pants, baby slings or other baby or mama related items.

These sessions usually run for about 4-5 hours from mid-morning to mid-afternoon. They are so much fun that some people keep on returning despite being very experienced at sewing.

If you are interested in attending a workshop like this (no more than half a dozen people), please email me (marnie @ nooneewilga . com) to figure out a time to suit. You need to bring your own sewing machine, fabric, notions etc but some patterns are available for use. Babies and toddlers are welcome but you are responsible for their care and safety!

The Origami Fold for longer rise

August 22, 2009

I used the origami nappy fold a lot with my babies from birth to toilet independence.  As my bubs grew bigger, I needed a longer rise and so modified the fold.  Here are pictures showing the way that I fold.  Please note that I have used a face washer for this demonstration so the cm scale squares in the background are not relevant to actual measurements!

The nappy is folded in quarters.

The nappy is folded in quarters.

A triangle is formed by pulling out one of the closed corners.

A triangle is formed by pulling out one of the closed corners.

Flip the nappy over with the flap extended.

Flip the nappy over with the flap extended.

The extended flap is pulled down.  It is this that will give the longer rise.

The extended flap is pulled down. It is this that will give the longer rise.

Fold the extended flap into three as shown and the nappy is now ready to put on the baby.  Compare this with the following picture.  You can see that the "length" (rise) is almost 1.5 times that of the standard fold shown in the following picture.

Fold the extended flap into three as shown and the nappy is now ready to put on the baby. Compare this with the following picture. You can see that the "length" (rise) is almost 1.5 times that of the standard fold shown in the following picture.

This is the same nappy shown using the standard folding technique.  Compare with the previous picture to see how much shorter the "length"/rise is.

This is the same nappy shown using the standard folding technique. Compare with the previous picture to see how much shorter the "length"/rise is.

Sewing tiny undies

July 24, 2009

Pattern for Tiny Undies

Photo of little undiesThis post contains instructions for making and using a pattern for small underwear that I designed and currently use to make little undies to measure for EC babies and small toddlers.

You are welcome to use the pattern to make as many undies as you like for the use of your own family or friends, but I would ask you not to use it for commercial purposes. If you are interested in a licence for commercial production, please email me at

I would love to see pictures of undies you have made from my pattern when you are finished.

I hope you enjoy using this pattern – you might find that you want to make some adjustments for it to be a perfect fit for your child. If you make the adjustments I have indicated below,then you will be able to increase the size of the pattern as your baby grows. This basic size will fit 8-14 kg, more or less.

Please note that it is a pattern for underwear – NOT training pants – and  is not intended to be waterproof.    If you would like to make training pants from this pattern, I suggest that you check the thigh and waist measurements carefully, adjust as required, and then increase the rise at front and back to accommodate the extra thickness of absorbent fabric.

The basic configuration of this pattern assumes the baby is a girl.  If you have a boy, you can double the front section of the undies and tape the crotch section to the back pattern piece thus making a mock-fly style.

If you want a pattern for training pants, you can buy my OneWet Pants pattern (available electronically with the pattern in PDF format with three sizes and comprehensive instructions and tutorial).

So, let’s get sewing!

1. Get the requirements together.
Use an old cotton knit Tshirt to make up the first pair of undies from this pattern. An adult Tshirt will make several pairs of baby undies. A baby Tshirt will make one or two pairs of baby undies. You will also need enough elastic for waist and thigh openings – total amount is approx 10% less than waist plus twice thigh measurement. I generally use 1/4″ (6mm) braided elastic in a casing, but you can use lingerie elastic or foldover elastic as well.

After you have worked out the exact fit required for your baby, then go ahead with using more expensive fabrics.  Remember that you are making underwear, so ensure that the fabric will be comfortable against the skin.  I recommend 100% cotton interlock for making these items.

2. Draft up the pattern pieces.
The undies pattern is shown in the following links (right click and open them in a separate window):

Front pattern piece for undies

Back pattern piece for undies

Pattern piece for crotch of undies

The board that the pattern pieces are photographed on has 1 inch squares. You will have to draw up the pattern pieces yourself – or print them out at the right scale. Note that if you are using casings for the legs, you must add an extra approx 1/2″ of fabric at the thigh openings on each piece (including the crotch piece) for the turning allowance.

3. Cut out the fabric.
For a pair of panties for a girl, you will cut one front, one back and two crotch pieces.  If you are using casings at the legs, then you may like to trim the turning allowance off the crotch piece that will be on the inside to reduce bulk.

For a pair of undies for a boy, you will cut the back and crotch in one piece and then cut two of the front piece.  Tape the back and crotch pattern pieces together on the seam line and cut as one from the fabric.

4. I enclose the crotch seams, but others don’t. To enclose them, follow the instructions for ladies’ panties at

5. If you are using casings at the leg openings, then sew them now.  I  generally use a 4mm zigzag stitch and don’t bother doing a double turnover for the hem as knit fabric doesn’t unravel.

6. Sew the side seams using a straight stitch or very narrow zigazg. I overlocked the sideseams on a few pairs of undies for myself and I didn’t like the extra bulk so I don’t recommend using a serger/overlocker.

7. Make the waist casing. Tuck a scrap of fabric in the casing at mid-back to make it easy to identify front/back. Sew using a 4mm zigzag stitch.

8. Thread thigh and waist elastic through the casings.  Use a bodkin or safety pin.  Check for comfort on the child. Stitch the elastic together. I do it by hand – I find it faster and less stressful than fiddling with the machine for this step 🙂

9. Voila – undies are finished. Check on the fit, make any adjustments required then search out more Tshirts to cut up LOL

How to make adjustments (and make them in this order)
* thigh too tight – extend the back side pieces by the extra amount plus 1″ required to go round the thigh
* straddle too short – if the distance through the crotch is ok, make the back and front waist higher; alternatively make the crotch piece longer by up to 1″ and add extra length to the waist if necessary
* waist too tight – extend each of the side pieces, back and front by 1/4 of the amount required and then add an extra 1/2″ at each side for wearing ease.

If you decide not to make little undies for your child and would like to buy them ready-made (but still made to measure) check out my website at Noonee Wilga and email me. 🙂

Make your own Very Portable Potty System – VPPS

May 1, 2009
How to make your own VPPS – very portable potty system – for use for babies and small children on the go.

Since I first posted details of how I made our own very portable potty system for use when we were away from home, many people have asked for it again.

So here it is… (originally posted on the Elimination Communication list at Yahoogroups).

I developed a very portable potty system (VPPS!) for use with my DD when we were out and about, including on planes (longest flight leg was 12 hours) and buses (longest trip was 16 hours). In a plastic bag I had a face-washer (small towelling square), a small container (500 ml margarine) and a 375 ml screw top (plastic) jar. The jar fitted inside the container when not in use.

The sunglasses in the following picture are just for an indication of scale!

When I thought it was time for DD to need to use the potty, I would just take VPPS out of my bag, sit down where ever we were (gutter, park bench, seat in the shopping centre, seat at the bus stop etc etc), place the container between my thighs, pull DD’s pants down and hold her in position over the container. I cued her and she went.

It took a little practice to get the right angle of the container so that it didn’t spill forward onto my legs 🙂 Then, when she was finished I stood her up beside me, pulling up her panties and pants at the same time. I held tightly to the container with my legs at this stage. Then when she was stable I tipped the contents of the container into the screwtop jar, put its lid on, wrapped it in the face-washer in case of any leakage, pop it all back in the plastic bag and off we went. I emptied it when I had the opportunity.

It seems complicated when I write it out like this, but using this system took us very little time. It was discreet enough to use while we were travelling in Turkey on public transport and even while waiting in Singapore’s Changi Airport.

We used this system from the time that DD was about 7 months old and I got brave enough to take her out of nappies when we were out of the house. Its final use was during another long overseas trip when my daughter was 23-25 months old. She reliably told me in advance of her need to use the toilet from the day we left on that trip, so after our return home I retired the VPPS and since then we have always used either public toilets or the road verge or similar places in an “emergency”.

Getting the most out of a cloth!

April 27, 2009

If you have a piece of cloth to use as a booster for a nappy or pad but it is just a bit too large for folding in two or three, you might like to consider folding creatively, such as across the diagonal.  The following photos show how you can fold a 30 cm square cloth to fit into a 14cm x 27 cm space.


Cloth laid on the diagonal.


Fold one corner across one third.


Fold the other corner across.


Fold the top and bottom corners down.

Hope that helps!  It adds a little more absorbency at the middle of the cloth (three layers rather than two).

Making a fleece prefold belt

April 23, 2009

On the elimination communication list, Jenn wrote asking

> Does anyone know how to make a pre-fold diaper belt?
Here are my instructions for how to make one using several different methods.

The easiest way to make a prefold belt is by tieing a length of 1/2″
elastic into a circle the right length for the waist of the baby.
Another version is made by cutting the elastic wasitband off the top
of a pair of pants.

The snazzy sort that you can buy at the online EC speciality sites is
a piece of elastic sewn in a circle and then covered with polar fleece
(or other fabric).  To make one of these yourself, buy some 1/2″
(12mm) nonroll elastic and some polar fleece.
*  Measure and cut the elastic by checking against the body of your
baby for the appropriate length with prefold tucked underneath.  Cut
the elastic.
*  Overlap ends of the elastic about 1/2″ (1cm) and sew the overlap together.
*  Take a piece of polar fleece about one and a half times the total
length of your elastic (say 60cm/ 22″) and about 8cm/3″ wide.
* Sew the 8 cm/3″ ends together using a straight stitch.
*  Fold the fleece in half (wrong sides together) to make a skinnier
strip and place the elastic inside the fold.
* Begin sewing close to the edge of the polar fleece using a straight
stitch and sew carefully right round ensuring that you don’t catch the
elastic in your seam.

Voila!  One finished fleece covered prefold belt 🙂

Please note that the following image shows an adjustable prefold belt and these are available from my Noonee Wilga and The Potty Shop sites.

Welcome to my blog!

April 21, 2009

This blog is intended to keep you up to date with happenings at Noonee Wilga.  I will announce new products, new fabrics and other things of interest.  Subscribe to updates or bookmark these pages.

On Nappy Addicts, there was a question about placement of side snaps on training pants.  Here is an (oddly formatted) excerpt from my OneWet Pants Sewing pattern showing how I do it.

Time to place the snaps.

Hammer or set snaps at the corners on top of where you stitched the elastic.

For the front of the pants, the cap goes on the outside of the fabric and the stud attaches to the inside.

For the back of the pants, place the cap on the inside of the fabric and the socket on the outside.


Here are more details about the pattern, which is available for purchase for personal use only.