How to Make Cloth Diapers
Diapers, often known as nappies, are typically made of plastic and cotton. According to estimates, the average infant goes through 6,000 diapers before being toilet trained.
Most households manufactured or bought reusable cloth diapers before disposable diapers became widespread in the previous decades. Cloth diapers are gaining popularity nowadays since they can be reused, saving you money. There are a variety of cloth diaper plans available, ranging from simple to intricate, but you can create a cloth diaper with only cloth, a sewing machine, and a little time.
Cloth diapers are a terrific method to lessen your environmental impact, but they can be expensive to purchase. You can save money while also helping the environment by making your cloth diapers. All you need are a few tools and supplies, as well as a suitable design.
What Exactly Is The Purpose Of A Cloth Diaper?
A cloth diaper performs similarly to a disposable diaper in most ways. The fabric inserts absorb liquids, and the waterproof layer ensures no leak.
What Is the Best Material for Cloth Diapers?
For Heavy Wetters
Bamboo fiber absorbs a lot of water, and it is also resistant to the development of bacteria.
Wool is the best material for diaper covers because it is natural and easy to clean. It is antibacterial, and when lionized, it becomes highly water-resistant. Items made of wool interlock fabric, like crocheted and knitted items, must be washed by hand. Still, many people prefer wool diaper covers and think that the material’s advantages outweigh the additional maintenance.
Hemp is a fibrous material that is resistant to the growth of germs. Moreover, hemp can hold more water than cotton because it is more hygroscopic. However, hemp textiles are not as thick as cotton or polyester, and they do not absorb water quickly. It is why many use hemp fabric in cloth diapers alongside other absorbent fiber, such as cotton.
Cotton is a widely used plant-based fiber. Moreover, cotton production is a huge industry due to its immense popularity and numerous uses. It is also a popular material for DIY cloth diapers.
For Light Wetters
Polyester fleece is available in various colors and weights; you can use it for multiple purposes. It is common for diapers to have a stay dry layer of the thinnest fleece on the inside of the diaper. If you want a more breathable diaper cover, you can use a lighter fleece fabric.
Polyester is a synthetic substance, which means it is created using chemicals and petroleum. The words “polyester” are frequently substituted in diapering with “microfiber,” “mink,” and, on rare occasions, “Zorb.” A lot of water can be absorbed by these products at first, but over time they wear out and lose their ability to absorb.
The waterproof layers of cloth diapers provide vital features that most parents will not want to go without. They are frequently made of PUL (polyurethane laminate) and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) materials.
How to Make Pocket Diapers
You can use PUL to create an all-in-one waterproof diaper for the outer layer. You can construct a fitted diaper with a knit outer layer. Also, waterproofing this fitted diaper will need a diaper cover. Moreover, you may buy cotton knit material for the outer layer. You can even use an old cotton t-shirt or blankets and reuse the cloth for your diapers.
To make a newborn diaper, you will need the following materials:
- Cotton Sherpa or another absorbent diaper liner or other high-quality elastic
- Hidden layer of Zorb or other absorbent material
- Outside fabric (PUL for waterproof all-in-ones (AIO), knit cotton for fitted diaper)
- Snaps by KAM
- Snap press or pliers with an optional awl for marking snaps
- Polyester thread in a matching color
- Machine to sew
Making the Diaper
- Draw the pattern onto the diaper outer and then cut it out. Avoid repeating this step because printer paper is difficult to pin and cut around. Instead, use the outside layer of the diaper as a template for the subsequent layers.
- Cut one Sherpa diaper body layer and one Zorb diaper body layer. The main diaper body will be made up of three layers: one layer of knitting on the outside, one layer of super-absorbent Zorb as a concealed inner layer, and one layer of soft, luscious cotton Sherpa near the baby’s skin.
- You can place the snaps across the front of the waistline. Only these snaps will penetrate the outer and Zorb layers of cloth. The insides of the snaps will be covered behind the layer of Sherpa, preventing them from rubbing against your baby’s delicate stomach. The socket should be on the top cap and the stud on the bottom cap.
- Squeeze the snaps together to secure the caps in the stud and socket. You can use a snap press for this or use KAM’s snap pliers if you do not want to make many diapers.
- Snap pliers are quick and straightforward to use. Insert the cap or socket (cap or stud) into the pliers and press down. To squeeze the tip of the cap in around the socket and “lock” it in place, you will need to use a lot of force with the pliers. Snaps will always set better if they pass through several layers of cloth (in this case, the knit plus the Zorb).
- Use the KAM Snaps awl to mark the placements of the remaining waist snaps after you set the umbilical snaps. You can poke straight through the design and all of the fabric layers. The awl makes it simpler to press the snaps through numerous layers of fabric and allows for more exact snap placement.
- Snap-in soakers are a favorite of beginners. You may stitch your soaker as additional layers into the diaper’s core (between the Sherpa and the Zorb). Snap-in soakers dry significantly faster and let you vary the amount of absorbency you need based on whether you are using the diaper overnight or during the day.
- The next step is to align the fabrics so that the right sides face each other. The exterior layer of the knit is put against the Sherpa’s fuzzy side in this diaper.
- The elastic is then sewn in place. Sew the ends of the elastic to the diaper’s designated areas, keeping the stitching to the diaper’s outer half-inch. Because this diaper pattern has a ½” seam allowance, the stitches will not interfere when turning the diaper.
- Leave a gap on the rear of the diaper to turn it inside out. Moreover, you can clip the seam allowance off the edges to eliminate bulk before turning it. Then, cut it down to approximately a quarter of an inch.
- Once the diaper has been turned, do a top-stitch around it, sewing a scant ¼” from the edges. Continue doing this except at the leg casings, where you can thread deeper in to avoid stitching through the elastics.
- The last step in the diaper body is to attach snaps to the diaper’s wings. KAM Snaps sells hearts and engraved snaps with imprints of monsters, animals, and other lovely designs, so you can do all sorts of cool things to personalize your diapers! The inner side of the snaps has a stud, and the cap is outside the tab.
Making the Soaker
- After you are done with the diaper, you will need to make the soaker. You can cut one out in the same color as the diaper, making it simple to match the soakers to diapers later when doing laundry.
- You will need one layer of Zorb and one layer of Sherpa for your soaker. Then, similar to diaper construction, sew all three layers together, turn, and top-stitch. The Sherpa layer will be the “top” layer, closest to the baby’s bottom.
- You can make a second soaker out of two layers of cotton Sherpa and one layer of Zorb for this diaper. You may sew your two soakers together in a “petal” manner, which means they are sewn at one end, but you can choose to keep them apart since you may not need the entire amount of absorbency during the day.
How to Make Fitted Diapers
You might wonder how to make a cloth diaper out of a towel or a t-shirt at this point. Here is a quick guide to sewing a fitted diaper.
- Absorbent diaper liner
- Material with elasticity
- The outer fabric (a knit cotton fabric for a fitted diaper; a polyurethane laminate fabric for a waterproof diaper)
- Hidden absorbent layer
- KAM Snaps and snap pliers
- Machine to sew
- Diaper pattern
Follow the instructions in making a pocket diaper but minus the pocket opening. Firstly, trace the design onto the cloth, and cut out the form you want. Please do it for both the outer and inner layers individually. Then position the snaps along the waistline of the cutouts and press them into places. You can use snap pliers to tighten the snaps and place the remaining snaps afterward. Then, depending on your preference, the soakers can alternatively be snapped on or not. After that, stitch the right side of the cloth together and put the elastic in place. After you have finished stitching, you will need to reattach the diaper’s wings using snaps.
How to Make Serged Fitted Diaper
Serged fitted diapers are a variant on the fitted diaper.
- Material with elasticity
- Old t-shirts or blankets
- Snap pliers from KAM
- Thread made of polyester
- Machine to sew
The instructions are similar to making fitted diapers. There should be four layers; you can cut each layer out of old clothing or blankets, leaving about a quarter inch on the outside for stitching. Next, sew the rear elastic and the snaps according to the pattern’s positioning. Stretch the leg elastics in the same manner.
You can also use the snap pliers to install belly snaps, after which you can begin serging along the diaper’s edge. After snapping on the soakers, attach the wing snaps to the diaper in the same manner as before.
How To Make All-In-One Diapers
An all-in-one diaper is more complex, but the end product is worth the time and work. These diapers feature a built-in absorbent pad and a waterproof covering to keep your baby dry.
You will be able to make this diaper style in approximately an hour if you have some sewing expertise. Thanks to the adjustable hook-and-loop fastening, these diapers will suit newborns from six months to 18 months.
- 1 yard of choice color lightweight cotton flannel
- ½ yard vinyl or oilcloth
- 16-inch hook and loop tape 1/2-yard lightweight cotton quilt batting
- 1 yard elastic
- Thread and sewing machine
- Print the design and expand it according to the instructions.
- Cut out three-winged diaper pieces from flannel fabric, making sure to cut the notches properly. Make a fourth-winged piece from vinyl. Cut a piece of quilt batting for the diaper pad.
- Fold the diaper pad in half and then in thirds. Pin the diaper pad lengthwise, right side up, in the center of one of the flannel winged diaper pieces. Sew around the place with a zig-zag stitch.
- Place the one-winged flannel piece on your work table, right side down. Place the padded winged piece on top of it, right side up, with the notches aligned—pin with care. Sew the two sections together approximately one-eighth of an inch from the edge with a basting stitch. Then, overturn the stack.
- Place the face-up vinyl winged piece on your work surface. Right sides together, stack the remaining flannel piece on top, notches aligned. Place the basted flannel pieces on top, right sides together, and pin them all together.
- Sew almost around the diaper with a 14″ seam allowance, starting at one of the front wings (the shorter side). To leave allowance for turning, stop around 5″ from where you started stitching.
- Turn the diaper over to the right side. Close the diaper’s opening with pins and top-stitch all the way around. Remove the rough section of the hook and loop tape and set it aside. About one inch from the edge, pin the soft side to the outside front of the diaper (shorter end). It should cover the entire front of the diaper. Trim any excess and top-stitch it in place.
- Then, they make two cuts in the rough area of the hook and loop tape. Cut off any extra before pinning these to the inside of the rear tabs. Place the top-stitching. Sew the elastic to the inside of the leg openings and the rear edge. Remove any extra material.
How To Make a No-Sew Flat Fold Diaper
Flat fold diapers are the most basic type of cloth diaper. You do not even need a sewing machine if you have some pinking shears. You can create these diapers without spending any money using old flannel sheets and a free design. To prevent leaking, you will need a supply of reusable waterproof coverings.
- 1 yard of flannel fabric made of thick cotton
- Fabric marker
Choose and print the design and expand it according to the instructions. Pin the pattern on the cloth after cutting it out. Cut the diaper out using pinking shears. Use a ruler and fabric marker to draw center fold lines on the diaper to produce optional folding lines.
How To Make Diaper Inserts
Inserts are usually rectangular or oval-shaped cloth that you stuff inside diapers. In addition, it is what absorbs the moisture and wicks them away from your baby’s bottom. You can make your diaper inserts depending on the size of your diaper. Moreover, you can use absorbent material like Zorb, hemp, microfiber, or bamboo.
Most inserts are made of three to five layers of fabric. Aside from that, you can make bifold or trifold inserts. They are basically like prefolds, but you use them as an insert for your diaper instead of using it as a diaper.
- Absorbent material (Zorb, hemp, bamboo, microfiber)
- Sewing machine
Usually, the length and width of the insert depend on the size of the diaper. Small sizes are 4″ by 11″ (width and length), medium and large sizes are 5″ by 13″. Measure your desired size and cut them out, then you can sew two to three layers at a time.
How to Place Inserts Inside Your Pocket Diapers
Take the inserts you are using and place them in the center of one of the ends. With your other hand, open the pocket diaper and stuff it in. You can add insert snaps to your diapers, like the ones from Glow Bug diapers; however, most diapers do not need them.
Then, make sure the inserts are flat and bump-free on the inside. Stretch the lining over the inserts and cover them completely, especially if you are using microfiber, which can cause skin irritation. Your pocket diaper is now ready for use on your little one!
What to Do Before Making Cloth Diapers
If you are going to buy new materials for your diapers, make sure to wash them first. Cotton flannel, especially when washed in hot water, can shrink dramatically.
Reusing old linens and reusing old garments are both environmentally friendly and cost-effective. Before you go out and buy new fabric, look at what is available at your local resale shop.
Make your diapers out of organic cotton flannel from the fabric store if you are concerned about the chemicals in the fabric. When you are ready to start cutting, make sure you are as accurate as possible to the pattern. Even a quarter-inch of extra cloth might affect the design of your diaper.
How Many Cloth Inserts Do You Need?
We recommend 24 to 36 cloth diapers and inserts when starting. Having 14 to 24 diapers and inserts should be plenty for older infants. It is based on the necessity to change a diaper every two hours and wash it every two to three days.
What Are the Materials Used to Make Cloth Diaper Covers?
Water-resistant fabrics, such as PUL or wool, make cloth diaper covers. They do not have any absorbency, so you will need to use a flat, pre-fold, or fitted diaper underneath them. Many pair fitteds, stay dry inserts, and prefolds with a cover. Furthermore, the purpose of a diaper cover is to make the outer part of the diaper waterproof.
How Do You Change a Cloth Diaper?
It is pretty similar to changing a disposable diaper. To be ready to change, some diapers require the pre-assembly of the pieces. Also, you can use snaps or velcro to modify the size according to your child’s specific needs.
You will change cloth diapers the same way you would change disposable diapers, using velcro, snaps, or pins to attach the clean diaper around your infant. Moreover, you can adjust the waistline by using snaps located at the top of the diaper.
By using snaps on the front of the diaper, you can adjust the size of the diaper to your specific needs. You will know it is time to change a cloth diaper if it hangs down or feels stiff. To avoid rashes, change cloth diapers every two hours.
Before discarding the dirty diaper into your diaper bag or pail, always close the tabs so they do not stick together or damage the attachments.
Now you know how to make cloth diapers. It is a gratifying and exciting activity for new parents who want to explore cloth diapering. You can choose your own designs and save money. Moreover, it makes you feel good about your contribution to environmental protection. Really, there is no reason not to invest a little time in making a pocket diaper, fitted, or all-in-one diaper for your baby.
The days of fiddly folding and pinning are over. Cloth diapering is simple and environmentally friendly, but no method is perfect for everyone. Do not be concerned about what other people may think. Make the best decision for yourself and your baby.
I hope your cloth diapering experience is positive, with the added benefit of saving your family money and the delight of creating something with your own two hands.