Monday, January 11, 2016

How the California drought conditions have affected our small family cloth diaper business

As many of you know, Little Seedlings® Diapers is a family owned small, California based, business solely run and operated by me, Samantha White. As many of you also know, California is in a severe drought. Like many others in California, our household has long been practicing water-conservation for many years. However, the state of the current drought has reached epic proportions and is now considered to be one of the most severe droughts on record for California. Households are being fined for overuse of water outside of their allotted monthly budgets. Our lawns are dying and we dread laundry and dishes so much that every load is completely full in an effort to further conserve. 

These conditions have forced me to rethink how I construct the soaker systems for my diapers. For the past 5 years that I have been in the cloth diaper industry I have always pre-washed/prepped the absorbent heavy organic bamboo cotton fleece used in the soaker systems. What this means is a lot of extra water use to wash large batches of this fabric! This fabric is highly absorbent and drinks up a lot of water in the wash. In order to continue to provide high quality, exceptionally well crafted diapers I needed to develop a soaker design that would eliminate the pre-washing/prepping step in construction. 

There were several issues I had to think of when designing the new soakers. 

Q: How much shrinkage to account for in the design? 
A: Easy! I added enough width and length to account for the shrinkage that will happen when you wash/prep your soakers.

Q: How to account for the differing shrink rates of fabrics used in the soaker? 
A: There was only one way around this one. Use all the same type of fabric. Since the shrink rates of fabrics differ so much, depending on fiber content, it became impossible for me to sew a liner to the top of the diaper without it becoming loose and baggy after the first wash. Previously I have always topped each soaker with a microfleece layer or coordinating cotton velour. But do not fear...the organic bamboo cotton fleece is super soft against your baby's skin.

Q. What if someone still wanted something to go between their baby and the organic bamboo cotton fleece? 
A: I now include a finished microfleece liner with each diaper to lay on top of the main soaker to help wick wetness away from your baby's skin.

So here it is! The new Little Seedlings® soaker system. It's more trim yet more absorbent than ever before!

The Little Seedlings® snap-in soaker is made up of multiple layers of heavy organic bamboo cotton fleece. 70% bamboo, 30% organic cotton.
This material is highly absorbent and perfect for use in cloth diapers due to it’s unique antibacterial quality. An antimicrobial bio-agent called “bamboo kun” is found naturally in the fiber. This “kun” makes the bamboo a naturally antibacterial, antifungal and odor resistant fiber.  

Included with your diaper is:
- The main, two petal, snap-in soaker system that has two sets of snaps to allow the best positioning for your baby’s needs
- A separate newborn soaker that can also be used as a booster for the regular soaker, by snapping it in between the petals of the main soaker.
- Also included is a microfleece liner to lay on top of the main soaker to help wick wetness away from your baby’s skin.

Little Seedlings® soakers need to be washed/prepped before use (**note: the outer shell does not require any prepping so you only need to launder the soaker to prep your diaper).
Bamboo retains some of its natural oils and therefore needs to be washed several times to achieve maximum absorbency. Although your diaper is ready to use after only one wash, it will become more absorbent with multiple wash/dry cycles.
Wash: Prep your soaker by washing on a normal hot cycle with cloth diaper safe detergent (laundry soap WIHTOUT added fabric softeners). Synthetic fabric softeners can cause your soaker to retain a waxy build-up that will affect the absorbency in a negative way. Natural softeners like Mrs. Meyers, Ecover, and Seventh Generation can be used without the problem of build-up.
Rinse:  We recommend at least two rinse cycles to remove any excess soap residue that can irritate your baby’s skin.
Dry: Tumble dry on medium heat or line dry.
**Remember that your soaker will become more absorbent with multiple wash/dry cycles.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Let me introduce myself for those of you that don't already know me...

My name is Samantha and I am a stay-at-home mom of three children ranging in age from 11 years old to 3 years old.  I have been a cloth diaper advocate for 11+ years and cloth diapered all three of my children and I am an active member of the Real Cloth Diaper Association Cloth diapering has grown and changed so much in my 11 years of experience and I have used everything form origami folded flats name it and I've probably tried it.  While cloth diapering my third child I decided to take my love of sewing and my love of cloth and put them together and started making my daughter's diapers.  What started out as a hobby has now grown into my small family business.  I love what I do and the flexibility is offers me to be able stay home and be there for my children.  

One small corner of my home studio
I Love sewing!!!  When I'm not sewing I am thinking about it, reading about it or attending classes to learn more new and exciting techniques.  It has become a true passion of mine and I can honestly say that I LOVE my job!  

A few words on stocking the store:
I do my best to stock the store on a regular basis but, at this time, I do not have a set stocking schedule.  However, it is usually every two weeks and stocking dates and times are posted on my main Facebook business page. Although I would love to have a regular set stocking schedule I cannot accomplish that at this time with my 3 children all home from school for the summer.  I hope to resume regular stocking times in late August when my children are attending school again.  In the meantime, I sew and stock as often as possible so check back often for announcements on the main Little Seedlings facebook page.

As well as stocking the store I run custom SYOF (send your own fabric) groups in my chat group HERE. Feel free to join if you are interested in chatting about cloth or would like to join in on the SYOF fun!

I also post pictures of my work and updates on my main business Facebook page HERE.  Be sure to click the "show in my newsfeed" button so that you don't miss out on any important announcements.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Here we grow again...

Little Seedlings is a proud member of the Real Diaper Industry Association... a trade association bringing together the cloth diaper industry!

Hybrid Fitted Diapers

What is a Hybrid Diaper?

"Hybrid Fitteds Diapers" are constructed with cotton prints outside, a moisture resistant Poly Fleece core, and a plush Cotton Velour or Organic Bamboo Velour layer next to baby's skin. These diapers still require a cover to be 100% waterproof, but the Poly Fleece core significantly reduced the transfer of moisture to the outside of the diaper while still being very breathable.  Many babies can go hours without a cover before the outside of the diaper feels damp.  They are made with the heavy wetter in mind.

The inner soakers are constructed with super absorbent Organic Bamboo Fleece and topped with either plush cotton velour or organic bamboo velour to coordinate with the inner velour of the diaper shell.  Bamboo has naturally occurring antimicrobial properties and b
amboo fabric will also resist yeast, mold and fungus cultivation.  The natural antimicrobial qualities of bamboo will also help naturally eliminate odors.  All these qualities combined make it an excellent material for use in cloth diapers. 

All Size 1 (formerly called one-size) and Size 2 (formerly called Toddler fit) diapers come with an additional matching Super Doubler to fit between the soaker layers for 3 more layers of absorbency. Newborn diapers come with the addition of a meconium liner topped with stay dry wicking jersey to not only protect the soaker from staining but to also keep your newborn seedling feeling dry and comfortable for longer.

All  Size 1 and Size 2 diapers come with a fold down rise to fit your future or smaller seedlings.  However, you do have the option to request that the fold down rise be left off.  Please keep in mind that, without the addition of the fold down rise, the diapers will not fit the smaller end of weight range. Newborn diapers have the addition of a snap down umbilical area to prevent irritation of the healing cord.  Newborn diapers are designed to fit right from birth.

Diaper Sizes:

Newborn Diapers fit approximately 7-12 lbs.
Size 1 Diapers fit approximately 12-35+ lbs.
Size 2 Diapers fit approximately 18-40+ lbs
Fit varies slightly due to the types of fabric used. Knit fabrics always have a little more stretch than woven and tend to be a little more roomy. 
Cotton Velour Topped Soaker System:

The main soaker panel is constructed of 2 layers of Heavy Organic Bamboo Fleece (HOBF) and topped with luxurious, soft, absorbent cotton velour (CV).  It is a one piece soaker that folds in half and snaps into the shell at the top allowing it to fully open flat for a faster drying time.  This soaker system also comes with a doubler that can either lay on top or easily fit between the soaker layers.  The complete system offers the absorbency of 6 layers of HOBF and 3 layers of CV.

Stay Dry Soaker System:

The main soaker panel is constructed of 2 layers of HOBF with a thirsty layer of hemp sandwiched between the bamboo layers.  This system also features a full size doubler with two layers of HOBF and topped with wicking jersey that is designed to lay on top of the main snap in soaker panel.  This design helps to keep your baby feeling more dry and comfortable. The complete system offers absorbency of 6 layers of HOBF and 2 layers of thirsty hemp.  This system is highly absorbent!