When some of the leg elastics in my favorite diaper covers recently died, I decided to attempt to replace the elastic myself. I can make minor sewing repairs and can follow an easy pattern pretty well. I figured that replacing the elastics in the legs of my diapers would be pretty easy. Fortunately, my optimism was right. Replacing the leg elastics in diaper covers is fairly simple and straightforward and takes less than half an hour per diaper.
To replace the leg elastics in a diaper cover, start by gathering your materials. You will need tiny scissors, regular scissors, replacement elastic, polyester thread, a safety pin, and a needle. I used a pair of fingernail scissors as my tiny scissors. Polyester thread is necessary in case you are sewing through any PUL. The polyester will melt slightly in heat, sealing any holes you might create.
Use the tiny scissors to carefully cut the thread on both ends of the leg gusset. Open about half an inch on each side. Be careful not to cut or damage the PUL.
Attach a safety pin to one end of the replacement elastic. Use the safety pin to pull the elastic through one opening in the leg gusset and out the other. Using the safety pin gives you something hard to wiggle through the tight space.
Using the needle and thread, sew the replacement elastic into the diaper with a few stitches. Avoiding sewing through the PUL if possible. With the Best Bottom shell that I repaired, I was able to sew through just the trim without touching the PUL. Then sew the remaining opening closed. Use tiny stitches to make the thread disappear against the diaper. (By using super tiny stitches, I can barely see the purple thread that I used, which was not quite the same color as the trim on my diaper.)
After sewing one side of the leg gusset closed, pull the other side of the elastic tight. I used another diaper shell with good elastic as my guide for the tightness of the elastic. (After finishing the repair, I discovered that I pulled the elastic to four inches.) Mark the end of the elastic with a safety pin to prevent the elastic from pulling inside the open leg gusset. Cut the excess elastic off. Following the same technique as on the first side, sew the second side closed. Remove the safety pin after making a few stitches to secure the second side of the elastic, and then sew the remaining opening shut.
Repeat the repair on the other leg gusset.
The Best Bottom diaper cover in which I replaced the leg elastics features double leg gussets. However, I replaced the elastic in only the outer gusset, essentially creating a cover with only a single gusset. If you so desired, you could also repair the second gusset. However, I found that replacing the leg elastics in just the one gusset made the cover fully functional again.
Replacing Leg Elastics in Diaper Covers © 2013 Heather Johnson
Best Bottom Diaper Cover with Stretched Leg Elastics © 2013 Heather Johnson
Stretched Leg Elastics on Best Bottom Diaper Cover © 2013 Heather Johnson
Best Bottom Diaper with Elastic, Needle, Thread, Safety Pin, and Scissors © 2013 Heather Johnson
Snipping the Thread on the Leg Gusset © 2013 Heather Johnson
Exposed Elastic on the Leg Gusset © 2013 Heather Johnson
Inserting the New Leg Elastic with a Safety Pin © 2013 Heather Johnson
Resewing the Leg Gusset Closed © 2013 Heather Johnson
Repaired Leg Gusset © 2013 Heather Johnson
Pulling the Leg Elastic Tight with a Safety Pin © 2013 Heather Johnson
New Elastic in the Leg Gusset of a Best Bottom Diaper Cover © 2013 Heather Johnson
Repaired and Damaged Leg Gussets on a Best Bottom Diaper Cover © 2013 Heather Johnson
Repaired Leg Gussets on a Best Bottom Diaper Cover 1 © 2013 Heather Johnson
Repaired Leg Gussets on a Best Bottom Diaper Cover 2 © 2013 Heather Johnson
Repaired Leg Gussets on a Best Bottom Diaper Cover 3 © 2013 Heather Johnson