ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Learning to Make Cloth Diapers

Updated on September 24, 2014

Homemade Diapers for Homemade Babies!

Opposite: Template for Rita's Rump Pocket - a free diaper pattern

On this page I'm recording my experiments with making cloth diapers (or cloth nappies, if you're British like me!).

I've also added links to places to buy cloth diapers as I know I'm going to be buying a few to try too.

I'm expecting my first child and I can't bear disposable papery plastic hygiene products so I'm sure I'm going to feel the same way about disposable diapers.

As I'm not sure what will be the best cloth diaper for my child I'm going to experiment with making as many different types as I can just in case some of them just don't work. I'm also going to experiment with recycling old clothes from around the house.

I'm still learning so I'll be adding my experiments as I go.

Making Fitted Diapers

In the long run cloth diapers work out a lot cheaper than using disposable diapers but the initial cost of cloth diapering can be pretty intimidating.

Seeing as I know my way around a sewing machine and I have quite a stash of fabric hanging around I decided that I'd make up a few of my own cloth diapers.

Inspiring and Frugal Websites

If I can save money by making something myself then I'll jump at the chance.

As I recycle a lot of fabric in my textiles work, I loved the ideas on these websites of recycling old clothes, towels etc to make some cloth diapers.

As I'm experimenting with different fabrics - using old t-shirts and other clothes - I'm planning on making plenty of other diapers in different fabrics just in case some of them don't work very well!

Buying a Sample Cloth Diaper

I found some cloth diapers on eBid and decided it would be a good idea to buy one so I could see how it was constructed and what sort of size it was.

I'm thinking I might supplement some of my handmade diapers with some more bought cloth diapers just in case my experiments go horribly wrong!

I like the snaps on this diaper - useful for getting a good fit on the nappy.

The pattern I started with calls for a Velcro fastening but I've heard that when babies get a bit more dextrous they can easily undo the Velcro themselves.

Above: A cloth diaper I bought from ebid.

Ottobre Design Cloth Diaper - Attempt 1

The PDF Pattern I Started With

I found this pattern quite easily by searching for cloth diaper patterns in my search engine and it looks pretty good so I thought I'd give it a go for the first lot of diapers I make.

Making the First Lot of Fitted Diapers

I collected together a load of suitable recycled fabric from my fabric stash and washed it at 90 degrees.

On one of the websites I found they'd made cloth diapers from old t-shirts. I collected together some old t-shirts made from the thicker fabric and decided to give it a go. I'm a bit dubious about the knit fabric stretching when it gets wet but I guess when that happens then it's time for the diaper to come off anyway!

The First Batch of Fitted Cloth Diapers from Recycled Fabrics

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The basic diaper pattern. I cut 2 of these - one for the inside and one for the outside.The inside with soaker pad (3 pieces of towelling and 1 piece of fleece) and elastic pinned into place. I cut my elastic shorter than the pattern said as the measurements didn't look right.The outside with velcro pinned into place. Spot the "deliberate" mistake!The diaper sewn together - the pattern suggests that the edges should be overlocked rather than seamed but I wasn't sure I liked the way that looked so I sewed the pieces together rather than serging them together.The diaper closed - cunningly hiding the part where I put the velcro on the wrong side.
The basic diaper pattern. I cut 2 of these - one for the inside and one for the outside.
The basic diaper pattern. I cut 2 of these - one for the inside and one for the outside.
The inside with soaker pad (3 pieces of towelling and 1 piece of fleece) and elastic pinned into place. I cut my elastic shorter than the pattern said as the measurements didn't look right.
The inside with soaker pad (3 pieces of towelling and 1 piece of fleece) and elastic pinned into place. I cut my elastic shorter than the pattern said as the measurements didn't look right.
The outside with velcro pinned into place. Spot the "deliberate" mistake!
The outside with velcro pinned into place. Spot the "deliberate" mistake!
The diaper sewn together - the pattern suggests that the edges should be overlocked rather than seamed but I wasn't sure I liked the way that looked so I sewed the pieces together rather than serging them together.
The diaper sewn together - the pattern suggests that the edges should be overlocked rather than seamed but I wasn't sure I liked the way that looked so I sewed the pieces together rather than serging them together.
The diaper closed - cunningly hiding the part where I put the velcro on the wrong side.
The diaper closed - cunningly hiding the part where I put the velcro on the wrong side.

The Soaker Pads

I made the soaker pads, for my first batch of cloth diapers, from an old towel robe and a piece of old fleece sweater. I think the fleece isn't that absorbent so I figured it might be good for the outer layer of the soaker pad.

The toweling from the old dressing gown isn't that soft but it's going to be under a layer of fabric so it won't be against the skin. I'm not sure how well it'll work but I know in the cloth pads I've made recycled towels have worked really well.

The soaker pads may be a little too thick so I might have to reduce the layers on the next batch.

These are super easy to make - they're simply rectangles bound together around the edges.

Conclusions on Attempt 1

I don't know what happened with this - I think it ended up as more of a toddler size!

I think the diaper might have ended up quite huge because I was using t-shirt fabric with stretchy material. I've got some fabric on order so I think I'll give this pattern another go with something less stretchy. I was looking for flannel but I couldn't find any so I ordered Winceyette instead which I figure is similar.

I think this diaper could still be useful if I take off the Velcro and use a safety pin to keep it in place. I think I'll keep it around for one of those days where the washing machine has broken and there's nothing else to use!

I've still got 4 diapers to sew up from this pattern - I'm going to try to see if I can work out where I went wrong with the first one and see if I can salvage them.

Ottobre Design Cloth Diaper - Attempt 2

>Please excuse the bits of blue fluff on this diaper! I'm hoping they'll wash off easily.

This is the same pattern as the Ottobre diaper above but I used winceyette as the main fabric - this seemed to work a lot better than the stretchy stuff.

I also treated the elastic differently - in the last diaper I cut a certain length of elastic and stretched and sewed it into place. On this diaper I stretched the elastic out as far as it would go and cut it off when I reached my mark.

I really wish I had an over-locker/serger. I had to zigzag around the outside instead - in the last Ottobre diaper I made I sewed it with the seam inside but this makes the elastic look odd.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The sewn-up diaper left open.The front with velcro tabs hidden behind their protector pockets.The front with velcro tabs visible on the left hand side.The closed diaper - not as neat and pretty as it could be!
The sewn-up diaper left open.
The sewn-up diaper left open.
The front with velcro tabs hidden behind their protector pockets.
The front with velcro tabs hidden behind their protector pockets.
The front with velcro tabs visible on the left hand side.
The front with velcro tabs visible on the left hand side.
The closed diaper - not as neat and pretty as it could be!
The closed diaper - not as neat and pretty as it could be!

Conclusions on Attempt 2

Well, I'm not sure how I feel about the "raw" edges on this. I was going to sew the seam on the inside, but like I said, it made the elastic go wonky. I know it says something about channels for the elastic in the Rita's Rump Pocket and that doesn't have raw edges so I'm going to see if I can figure out how to hide the rough edges and make the elastic stay in place.

I also don't like the way the Velcro protector tabs ended up so I need to look at that too.

I've been thinking that I might try running the elastic further along the legs because I'm not sure it goes up far enough.

Rita's Rump Pocket

Rita's Rump Pocket

I've been looking for this pattern for ages!

I printed this PDF out last year some time and then lost it and couldn't remember what it was called but I found it again whilst doing a little diaper research.

This diaper is a pocket diaper - basically you're making a diaper where you can remove the soaker pad for washing and drying or add another soaker pad if your baby needs more protection.

I cut 2 pieces out of winceyette, sewed them together and then sewed the elastic in place.

The whole diaper was then top-stitched which created a neat little channel for the elastic.

Super easy!

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The printed out pattern - ready to cut out.One diaper piece.The diaper sewn together and open.The finished diaper closed up.
The printed out pattern - ready to cut out.
The printed out pattern - ready to cut out.
One diaper piece.
One diaper piece.
The diaper sewn together and open.
The diaper sewn together and open.
The finished diaper closed up.
The finished diaper closed up.

Conclusions on Rita's Rump Pocket

This has to be my favorite diaper pattern so far. It was so easy to make and really fast to sew up.

I'm not sure if I chose the best fabric because it's so thin, I think, but I guess it's the thickness of the soaker pad that I put inside that will count.

I'm going to definitely make a few more of these!

Free Diaper Patterns Blog

I found this website recently whilst listening to the Material Mama podcast.

There are quite a few different ideas for cloth diapers on this site that I plan to try out.

Making Prefolds

I've heard that prefolds are the best diapers for newborns because you have more control over the fit.

I thought I'd make quite a few of these as I don't have a lot of experience with babies and I have no idea what size they come in yet!

A Simple Prefold Pattern

I followed the simple instructions at the bottom of this page to make my first set of prefolds.

This is essentially just a rectangle with another rectangle sewn inside.

These are so easy to make! The only thing I'm worried about is that they only use one piece of toweling in the middle for a soaker pad. I'm not sure whether they'll be enough on their own.

I couldn't get hold of any flannel so I used winceyette and a piece of an old towel robe in the middle - they took about 10 minutes to make - if that.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The prefold laid out flat.Folded up - I presume this is how they're supposed to go!
The prefold laid out flat.
The prefold laid out flat.
Folded up - I presume this is how they're supposed to go!
Folded up - I presume this is how they're supposed to go!

Soakers and Diaper Covers

Seeing as I love knitting I decided to make some knitted diaper covers (or wool soakers).

They need to be made out of yarn with a high wool content and work best when they've been lanolized. The lanolin (natural grease from sheep) waterproofs the cover and keeps it stink-free!

Don't worry if knitting is not your thing! You can also make fabulous wool soakers out of felted wool sweaters.

Alice's Wool Cover

This is the first soaker I made from 100% wool.

This was a really easy pattern to knit - I probably should have knitted a fun pattern into it to give myself a bit more of a challenge!

It turned out a little big although it is supposed to fit over a double night nappy.

I added little ribbed legs as I a few other people had done this too to give the soakers a better seal.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The first side knitted.The front - finished and huge!The back - finished and huge!I decided to knit some legs to give the diaper cover a better seal!
The first side knitted.
The first side knitted.
The front - finished and huge!
The front - finished and huge!
The back - finished and huge!
The back - finished and huge!
I decided to knit some legs to give the diaper cover a better seal!
I decided to knit some legs to give the diaper cover a better seal!

Punk Knitters Soaker

I have to say, of the two soakers I knitted this one is my favorite - it's just too cute. The only thing is - I've never actually used either of them. Oh well, maybe this one will make a great baby gift for a cloth diapering friend.

Wool soaker by MeltedRachel
Wool soaker by MeltedRachel

Update!

Rachel has some explaining to do!

OK, don't think less of me but I never used any of the diapers I made for this page.

I was given some second hand fitted cloth diapers and they were so awesome that I just never ended up using the ones here.

I also had bad carpal tunnel syndrome at the end of my pregnancy so I just ran out of time for sewing and finishing off the diapers with necessary Velcro or poppers. I also found that the wincyette fabric I used wouldn't work with the Snappi fasteners and there was no way I wanted to use safety pins. With the exhaustion I had there was just too much of a risk of hurting my little one.

I reckon the diapers would work fine though, maybe I'll finish them off for the next baby!

I'd love to know if you've had any success with making your own diapers and what patterns you used.

Comments are screened :)

Share Your Thoughts - Reader Feedback.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      jessefutch 5 years ago

      Great lens. Getting anyone and everyone into cloth diapering is a truly noble quest! I have three boys, two were cloth diapered and one IS cloth diapered!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 6 years ago

      Good on you for doing this. If only more people would heed the need to avoid plastic and return to the natural fibres. Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Parenting Young Children. Hugs.

    • VisFeminea profile image

      VisFeminea 6 years ago

      this + diaper free baby and we were in heaven

    • Showpup LM profile image

      Showpup LM 6 years ago

      Congratulations! This lens is very helpful. I used cloth diapers for all of my children. How I wish I'd had this information then. Maybe for future grandbabies...

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Happy baby to you and how wonderfully creative!

    • Laniann profile image

      Laniann 7 years ago

      Congratulations! How wonderful - your first child. You will be a great Mum! Very creative lens.

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @Addy Bell: Thanks :D

    • Addy Bell profile image

      Addy Bell 7 years ago

      Congratulations!

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @nightbear lm: Thank you :D:D

    • nightbear lm profile image

      nightbear lm 7 years ago

      What a great lens. I love how you demonstrate the process and your efforts to create. Others will find your process fascinating. Like I did and the little ipoop baby is to die for. Great job. Blessed.

    • Rachel Field profile image
      Author

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      @clouda9 lm: *Beams* Thank you so much!

    • clouda9 lm profile image

      clouda9 lm 7 years ago

      What an absolutely fabulous lens...your experiments and explanations on how you have learned to make diapers are a mommy-who-sews dream come true. Excellent photos to boot! *Blessed and featured on http://www.squidoo.com/my-angel-wings

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)