Ahhh, the old hook and loop versus snap debate. While hook and loop cloth diaper closures are quick and easy to use, they do wear out more quickly. Recently I was given a cute Thirsties cover with good laminate and elastic, but the hook and loop was barely sticky and had become brittle and curly on the ends.
I don’t have a working sewing machine right now so I had to figure out a way to perform a quick and easy refresh on this diaper cover. Instead of struggling along with some not-so-good hand stitching to replace the hook and loop closures, I decided to convert the hook and loop to snaps. With a few supplies it’s an easy project for any beginner.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
For this project, I used only a handful of inexpensive supplies.
- Snap press & awl
- Fabric measuring tape or ruler
- Needle & thread (or sewing machine if you have one)
- Fabric marker
- Seam ripper
- Snaps (I used size 20)
Step 2: Remove Worn Out Hook and Loop
The first step in your project to convert the hook and loop to snaps is to use your seam ripper to pull out the stitches of the existing hook and loop. On my diaper, the binding on the edges was actually sewn over the hook and loop, so I needed to pull up the binding over the “loop strip” on both ends before I could fully get the strip off.
Tip: Be very careful when seam ripping. You don’t want to poke extra holes in PUL. It is not a very forgiving fabric in the sense that it doesn’t close up on its own and is very easy to rip or tear with a seam ripper.
Step 3: Determine Snap Placement
Next you want to mark where you are going to put your new snaps. I already had another cover with snaps so I decided to use that as a makeshift template. If you don’t have one you could always measure the top edge of your diaper and put as many or as few snaps as you want in that space, spaced evenly.
I chose to measure my existing diaper. I knew I wanted to do a single row of snaps so I would need two on each wing. So I measured my diaper with the snaps already on from the edge to the middle of the first snap. The first was about 5/8″ in from the edge and the second snap was about 2 1/2″ in. I then made the corresponding marks on the wings of my cover.
For the row across the diaper my existing snap diaper had 10 but was also about a half inch larger. I decided to make mine using 9. After measuring I found that they snaps started about 1″ from the edge of the diaper and went on a downward swoop. The snaps closest to the edges were 1 1/2″ from the top while the center ones were 2″ from the top. I kind of eyeballed the rest because the best part of this project is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. You know you’re in the right area long as you stay within the area where the hook & loop previously was.
Tip: The male snaps are called “studs” and these go on the wings of the diaper; the female snaps are referred to as “sockets” and go across the diaper. Every stud and socket needs a cap. For additional information on how snaps work, visit the “Snaps 101” page of the KAM website.
Step 4: Press Snaps into Place
After you have everything marked, use your awl and press to put the snaps on. The studs are placed on the wings and the sockets are placed across the waist.
I started by placing the studs on the wings. The process is:
- Carefully make a hole using the awl.
- Pull out the awl.
- Insert the cap on one side and the stud on the other side.
- Use your press to secure it.
Once all the studs are placed on the wings, do the same thing across the front of diaper with sockets rather than studs.
Tip: Always double and triple check that your studs are facing inwards and your sockets are facing outwards. Can you tell I’ve made that mistake before?
Step 5: Finishing Touches
The last step is to sew closed any binding(s) you had to open to get your hook & loop off. I used a needle and thread to close the space by hand, but you can use a sewing machine.
Tip: Avoid using pins because they will add unnecessary holes to the PUL.
I like to put any new or altered covers into the dryer on high for 10 to 15 minutes. This may help to close any holes made during the sewing process and prevent leaks which could occur where holes were made.