Monday, 15 March 2010

replacing the elastic in a fuzzi-bunz {a step-by-step tutorial}

It happens to all of us, sometime or other. The elastic in a diaper goes. It snaps or it wears out and isn't stretchy any more. And it sucks. Diapers aren't cheap. Thankfully, the fix is. For less than $1 worth of elastic and about 35 minutes of time, you can replace all the elastic from a cloth diaper. It's really easy and only needs a basic knowledge of sewing and a sewing machine.

So here is my (hopefully) easy tutorial on replacing the elastic in a Fuzzi-bunz pocket diaper.

What you will need for this project:
(1) a FB diaper with elastic that needs replacing (I bought 5 for $5!)
(2) elastic. I like to use 1/4" swimwear elastic because it stands up well to washing, but you can use elastin (the clear elastic) or any other type in 1/4"-3/8" width
(3) a seam ripper (very important!)
(4) measuring tape or ruler
(5) scissors
(6) a small safety pin
(7) your trusty sewing machine with polyester thread (to prevent wicking). Your thread can match the diaper or you can use white thread (like me)

As you can see, the elastics in the legs and back of this diaper are all stretched out.

I started with the back elastic, since it's the easiest.

You want to turn the diaper inside out and start unstitching the casing at one end. Be careful not to put any holes in your PUL. You only need to unstitch enough to be able to access the elastic.

See how the elastic is sewn into the seam between the PUL and the fleece of the diaper? There is no need to unstitch all off that.

Instead just trim the elastic close to the seam.

Repeat this to the other side and then pull the elastic out. Usually there isn't much life left in the elastic so you can just throw in away.

Cut a new piece of elastic. For a medium FB I made the back elastic 7".

On one side of the opening anchor the elastic by stitching back and forth a few times. I sewed the elastic in on a slight angle so that when I restitched the casing I sewed over the elastic again.

Attach a safety pin to the loose end of the elastic and thread it through the casing.

Pull it through to the other side and sew it down in place by stitching back and forth a few times. I also attached it on a slight angle here.

Turn your diaper right side out and restitch the casing, sewing back and forth at the start and the end. Pull the diaper taut when stitching. When you release the diaper is should gather nicely. This is really easy to do because you just follow the holes left from the stitching that you unpicked.

I restitch the entire casing even though I didn't need to. It was just easier. I also made sure to sew over the ends of the elastic again to give extra strength to the attachment points. Hopefully this will prevent the elastic from snapping later on!

Much better!

On to the legs.

Turn your diaper inside out again and look for the attachment point of the elastic for one of the legs. You should be able to see the end of the elastic on the PUL side of the diaper.

Unstitch the casing.

This is where you can do like you did for the back of the diaper. Unstitch just the ends of the casing. Leave the old elastic in the diaper (it is sewn in so you can't take it out unless you open up the whole casing) and thread a new elastic through. Stitch the other end down and then restitch the casing. This works just fine but it does make the legs a bit bulkier.

That's why I like to unstitch the whole casing. As you can see the elastic is sewn in very well. You need to unpick the stitching and remove the old elastic.

To sew the new elastic down, select the three-step zigzag or elastic stitch. A regular zigzag will work too but won't provide the same degree of stretchiness.

Cut your elastic. For a medium FB I chose to make the leg elastics 6.25" but I tend to like a more snug fit! If you are only replacing one leg then take the measurement from the "good" leg so that they match.

Anchor your elastic at one end by zigzagging back and forth.

Pull your elastic taut while you stitch. I hold the end of the elastic where I want it to end and use the other hand to help pull the diaper through the machine as I sew.

The diaper should be gathered after it is stitched.

Here is the new elastic sewn in. If you are doing the other leg as well, do it now. Or, turn the diaper right side out again.

The casing for the elastic needs to be restitched. You can see where the previous stitching was so you just want to follow this.

Start at one end and with a straight stitch sew the casing, pulling the diaper taut while you sew and making sure to sew back and forth at both ends.

Et voila!

I recommend that you wash and dry (yes, dry, in the dryer) the diaper before use. This will help to seal up any small holes in the PUL left from the sewing.

I hope that you've found this tutorial helpful!

Please use and share this tutorial, but don't claim it as your own. A simple link back to us will suffice, and a comment to let me know. Thanks!


  1. I just can not for the life of me figure out how to get the stich on the leg right? UGH

  2. Thank you so much for this helpful post! I recently purchased some large FB online, and the lady failed to disclose that the elastics were all shot. I felt like I'd been ripped off. After attempting both methods in your tutorial, I do prefer the more time consuming one, because the end product is better. Your 3 way zig zag stitch actually improved my diapers, because they only had the one way stitch before, and I find them stretchier now than my son's mediums! Thanks a million - I feel like I've cheated the lady who cheated me because I will get many more years out of these diapers!

  3. Ya! People are using my tutorial! That's so nice :)

  4. Thank you! I have 6 smalls to fix for my baby#3 on the way and this is going to save us TONS of money!!

  5. I did it! One diaper's elastic replaced, only 18 more to go (sigh). However... it took me 2 hrs. I am hoping that now that I have done it once, it will go faster. But ripping out the seams takes FOREVER as I am trying to be so careful, never mind the white thread! Yikes! But thank you so much for this tutorial. I looked at others, but yours was the easiest to understand/follow.

  6. LOVE YOUR TUTORIAL IT'S THE BEST! I've got 8 ripped out and off to the store for the right elastic!

  7. Do you have measurements for what you would use for small diapers?

  8. Thanks so much for this tutorial! just wondering though, as i dont have a dryer, will my PUL be ok without drying them in a dryer after stitching?

  9. Love the tutorial...we will be selling our FB smalls when our son outgrows them. We picked them up second hand (had been through one child before us) and after only 3 months of steady use, the elastics are well on their way to being well and truly shot. I'm replacing the ones I've actually had to pull out of rotation and will then work my way through the rest.

    As we don't have a dryer of our own right now, would running the re-vamped diaper under a hair dryer work just as well for resealing the PUL around the new stiches?

  10. I took apart a FB 2.0 and learned that in the 2.0, the elastic is not stitched down all through the leg casings, just at the ends and like 4 stitches in the middle. So, if you're super lazy (me) you can just open up the leg casing on the ends and the middle, remove old elastic, and thread a new elastic through the casing without stitching it down. No idea if this will last, but it's choice for someone who is sewing by hand or who is new to a sewing machine maybe? The next one I do I will stitch the elastic down in the legs, though.

  11. I am so thankful I found your tutorial. I purchased 6 small FB online and the seller failed to mention the elastic was SHOT! I only paid about $1 a piece for them so with this easy tutorial and a little elastic, I think they will be as good as new in no time! thanks!

  12. Thank you so much for this helpful post. I am finding that my needle is skipping, what size needle did you use to resew the casings? I took out all the old elastic in my grandson's fuzzibuns, and hand washed to get out all the old lint! It was gross.