London’s Repair Week kicked off this week (14th – 20th March 2022), and we are all here for the nuggets of wisdom on prolonging the life of textiles, including nappies. Reusable nappies are made with high-quality, durable materials that will last for years, if cared for properly. At the same time, even reusable nappies are not exempt from the odd broken elastic in a wrap, or the occasional snap of a popper. This is why for London Repair Week, we’re putting a spotlight on #LocalRepairHeroes and giving you advice on how you can save the most money with reusable nappies, with one option being how to ‘make your own’ out of old t-shirts or towels lying around the house.
We managed to catch up with Anne Stack, a parent from Hackney who not only valued her reusable nappy voucher, but went even further and started her own nappy repair business. Anne has made her own nappies for her daughter, who is now almost four years old, and she would love to share her experience with you all.
How did you come across reusable nappies?
I saw an advertisement in one of the Hackney papers for the £54.15 nappy voucher when I was pregnant, and I thought it was such a great incentive.
What did you love about reusable nappies?
Reusable nappies gave me a focus when my child was very small, I was always used to being on the go and having a project to do but all that stopped when I had to slow down and focus on my tiny baby’s needs. Learning all about reusable nappies was something I really enjoyed. It was so exciting choosing the different nappy systems and all the beautiful prints.
I also loved the washing routine. I found it very therapeutic, we don’t have a garden but I was able to dry the nappies on the balcony. Even in the winter I’d put them out – there is a little roof over part of our balcony. I’d leave the nappies out during the day in winter, and then bring them in at night where they’d finish drying in the warmth. Drying the nappies in the warmer months was very quick. I never found the organising or laundry of cloth nappies a chore – I even took them on holiday to France, when we went for 10 days. We finished with night nappies last September, I was sad to finally say goodbye to them.
What prompted you to start repairing nappies? How did you begin?
My background is in fashion design and sewing, so I was very interested in the fabrics used and how the nappies were made. I made a few PUL wraps, bamboo inserts (triple layer) and wipes when my daughter was about a year old.
Do you offer nappy repair services to families across London or in a specific catchment area?
London residents in Hackney can drop them off to me, and if they live in another borough, then postage is an option. I can also offer repairs to families elsewhere in the UK, as long as postage is covered.
What are the specific services you offer and how much do you charge for them?
At the moment I replace elastics, velcro and poppers.
Elastic is £3.50 to replace
Velcro is £5.00 to replace
Poppers are £1 per popper to replace
Do you do any repair workshops for interested parents / groups?
I did a live workshop on Zoom last April for London’s Reusable Nappy Festival. That was approximately an hour long, I covered quite a bit I talked about making prefolds from preloved t-shirts, Terry flats and wipes from old towels. I showed samples of how I did this step by step (showing visual examples), such as finishing the raw fabric edge. I also replaced the velcro and the elastic on a nappy and repaired a hole in the PUL.
We are very grateful to Anne’s advice on making and repairing your own child’s nappies, so that you can reap their benefits for even longer. Here are other ways that you can save money by making / repairing reusable nappies:
- Do a search on YouTube – during the previous London Repair Week, Alice shared some useful online tutorials to help you get started.
- Ask on local Facebook groups – other parents may have found their own #LocalRepairHero and can share their details with you.
- Check your local nappy supplier – they may either sell refresher kits or do small repairs for you.
Do you make / repair your own reusable nappies? Do you know a #LocalRepairHero like Anne? We would love to hear from you, so we can encourage others to carry on their reusable nappies as long as possible, and feed in to the circular economy. You can share your information with us using the accounts / hashtags below:
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Jenny Weeks, March 2022