Repairing elastic in Smartipants

We all know that I use cloth diapers, and I love them.  But after so many washings and tons of abuse elastic can begin to wear out, just like any article of clothing.  I searched the web for a tutorial for repairing Smartipants (my favorite brand and the majority of my stash) elastic but couldn't find one, so I'm making one!

Now before you proceed...  following these steps WILL DESTROY YOUR WARRENTY! So if you still have your warranty contact Smartipants FIRST!  If, like me, it was already shot due to using baking soda or something in the wash, then continue.  Or, if you don't care about destroying your warranty and just want it fixed today. 

You will need:
Sewing machine
Hand sewing needle
Poly Thread to match the current thread on your diaper.(cotton thread will wick)
Braided elastic 1/4" wide.  about 7" per side of each diaper.
Exacto knife and/or seam ripper
good (I suggest needlepoint) scissors
a thimble may help.
and patience... lots and lots of patience..

First thing you will do is to remove the top stitching at the front to open up the insides. You only need to open about 4" or so, so that you will be able to turn it inside our later.  Make sure you are VERY careful and do not puncture your PUL or you may cause leaks later.
Next remove the top stitching at the ends of the elastic.  Make sure you release the entire end.  That little corner there goes over the elastic.  You will be able to feel the elastic under the stitching.  

I know the pic is bad...   Turn the diaper partially inside out so you can see where the elastic is sewn to the seam of the diaper.   Remove the stitching holding that ONE END in place.
Stitch your new elastic to the now released end of the old elastic.  Stitch the other end of the new elastic to where you had just released the old elastic.  Find and release the other end of the old elastic like you did the first.

Use the old elastic through the casing that the old elastic was in, see why we didn't release all the old top stitching now?   Much easier.  Just make sure your two elastics are securely stitched together. If they should come apart before reaching the end, pull the new elastic back out and put a safety pin on the end and you will need to SLOWLY work it through the casing, it takes forever.....

Remove the old elastic from the new elastic. Toss the old elastic.  Stitch the new elastic to where the old one used to be attached.  Repeat the process for the other leg opening.

All ends should now be secure.  Turn the diaper right side out.  Lay an insert in the diaper and check the fit on your child.  If you don't include the insert your fit maybe off.

Replace all the top stitching you removed.  Make sure you follow the lines that were already there so that you do not create any unnecessary holes..   holes in PUL mean possible leaks.  Run your diaper through a HOT dryer load to help seal up any holes created and you are ready to go.

One repaired diaper and one waiting it's turn.

The same process can be used to replace the elastic on the back as well.

I really love my Smartis and have really abused them.  I have only replaced the elastic on my oldest 6 thus far. They are well over a year old, and have put up well with my learning curve.  I hope to use these same diapers, plus a few more (pinks!), for my daughter when she arrives.  If all goes well, she will leave the hospital in Smartis.
(Update: New Favorite!!!) 


  1. Thanks for this! Most of my stash is made up of SPs, they're all over 2 1/2 years old & all the elastic is just gone. I have a lot of seam ripping in my future! Thanks again :)

  2. I had 4 SP (just over 2 years old, but are also heavily abused, especially by our off-the-charts hard water) that needed their elastic replaced, so I went looking on the internet and found this blog post. Thank you for creating a tutorial! In my search I also found out that SP sells a elastic replacement "kit" for $1 + shipping. I wasn't feeling particularly confident in my diaper repair skills that day, so I bought 4 of the "kits". Turns out the "kit" is just 3 pieces of elastic and a one-page print out with your instructions slightly altered, and tiny versions of your photos. So I ended up back at your website for the full size photos. Wishing I had saved myself the $6 I spent on the "kits"! Just finished the first diaper, and it was quite simple and straight forward with your help. Thanks again!

    1. I'm glad you found it helpful :) I love being able to help people.
      Out of curiosity.. We're they actually my pics or just similar?

    2. Sorry for the delay in answering--I am back to see your photos as I replace elastic on some Happy Heiny diapers. The photos look EXACTLY the same, just smaller since it was a one page version.

    3. wow.. considering I have been a big fan of SP... that was very rude of them... while if they had asked I probably would have gladly let them use them... They could have at least used my name.. It was some serious work figuring that out.


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