How to Make Cloth Diapers – Materials Tips and Precautions

How to Make Cloth Diapers - Materials Tips and Precautions

The first few days of being a parent can be hard. In many cases, the difficulties do go away as the child grows older – however, one of the most important problems does not. Diapers can be hard to manage, especially so in the first couple of years after having your baby.

Your baby is sure to need her diaper changed at least twice a day, and this trend continues until you potty train your toddler. Until then, you are stuck with this chore! Diapers can be expensive too, but there is a great alternative to the store-bought ones that you may have been using – cloth diapers.

Whether it is to reduce wastage, save money or save the planet, cloth diapers are one of the better options that parents have in their arsenal. In this article, let us take a look at how parents can make better cloth diapers.

Types of Cloth Diapers to Make at Home

When it comes to cloth diapers, there are a few types of which you can make by yourself at home. Some of these are:

1. Fitted Cloth Diapers

These look like disposable diapers, but they can be made at home. They have elastic around the legs of the child, along with snaps or hook-and-eye tape in the place of fasteners. You can also choose to use diapers pins or other plastic fasteners in the diaper. These should be used along with a diaper cover that is waterproof.

2. All-in-One Cloth Diapers

These are like the fitted diapers mentioned above but have a waterproof layer outside. You will not need a separate cover outside for the diaper.

3. Pocket Cloth Diapers

These have a waterproof outer layer along with a soft inner layer and a pocket along the gusset. They have the absorbing quality owing to the stuffing soakers or the flat cloth diapers in the pocket.

4. Flat and Prefolded Cloth Diapers

They are the simplest to make and can be put on your baby with the help of a fastener. Flat ones have a large cloth in one layer, while prefolded ones have multiple layers of fabric which have been sewn together and seamed into thirds.

5. Diaper Covers

These are usually waterproof, but not absorbent in the least. They are made to be worn over fitted, prefolded or flat diapers. They can be made of laminated fabric or lanolized wool.

What Materials Do You Require to Make Cloth Diapers?

These are the materials that you will need to make the diapers:

1. Cloth Diaper Patterns

These patterns can be downloaded for free from the internet, in the pdf format Many such patterns are available, and you can choose the one that suits your baby. There are patterns which are multi-sized and one-size-fits-all, and many also have fabric recommendations, a list of the tools required and sewing instructions.

2. Fabrics

There are broadly two types of fabrics available, and these are the waterproof types and the soft absorbent type. The latter includes fabrics like knit terry, fleece, velour, flannel and French terry. The latter includes either PolyUrethane Laminate or 100 per cent wool, which has to be treated with lanolin in order t make it waterproof for usage. You can also save old washcloths, t-shirts, towels and prints for the layers of the diaper.

3. Fasteners

These are used to make the diapers always remain in place when they are worn. They include hook and eye tape, which has to be sewn on, or plastic snaps which can be fitted on using a special tool.

4. Elastic

Your baby has to always be comfortable, so using elastic is a great idea. Braided elastic and narrow swimwear work well, and some patterns may even use fold-over elastic.

5. Sewing Supplies

These include the miscellaneous items, like:

  • Sewing machine
  • Fabric scissors
  • Ironing board and iron
  • Fabric Marker
  • Straight pins or binder clips (for PUL)
  • Thread
  • Safety pin
  • Knitting needle

Sewing materials to make cloth diapers

How to Make Cloth Diapers at Home

You might now be wondering as to how to make a cloth diaper out of a towel or a t-shirt. Here are some ways as to how:

1. Fitted Diapers

This is a brief method of how to make a fitted diaper.

What You Will Need

  • Absorbent diaper lining
  • Elastic material
  • The outer fabric (for a fitted diaper – a knit cotton fabric; for a waterproof diaper – a polyurethane laminate fabric)
  • Absorbent hidden layer
  • Snap pliers
  • KAM Snaps
  • Sewing machine
  • Polyester thread
  • Diaper pattern (for newborns)

How to Make

The pattern is to be traced onto the fabric, and the shape is cut and obtained. This is to be done separately for both the outer and the inner layer. The snaps are to be then placed along the waistband of the cutouts, and they are then squeezed into place. You can use snap pliers and make them fit tight, and then go to the placement of the remaining snaps. The soakers can also be snap-on, according to your wishes. Then, the right side of the fabric is all sewn together, and the elastic has to be sewn in place. After the sewing is done, the final step is to add the wings of the diaper using snaps again.

2. Serged Newborn Fitted Diaper

This is a variation on the fitted diaper, and the general overview is given below.

What You Will Need

  • Elastic material
  • Large T-shirts (2 nos.)
  • KAM Snaps
  • Snap pliers
  • Polyester thread (Coordinating)
  • Sewing machine
  • Serger
  • Diaper pattern (for newborns)

How to Make

There need to be four layers, which are all cut out from the t-shirts using the pattern with about a quarter inch outside left for sewing. Sew on the back elastic, and place the snaps according to its placement on the pattern. The leg elastics also have to be sewn in the same way. Belly snaps can be places using the snap pliers, and you can then start serging along the edge of the diaper. After snapping on your soakers, you can add the wing snaps to the diaper in a similar fashion as above.

3. No-Sew Flat Fold Diaper Instructions

These are actually the easiest to make, and you can even make them without a sewing machine.

What You Will Need

  • Cotton flannel (a yard length)
  • Pinking sheers
  • Marker for fabric
  • Pins
  • Ruler

How to Make

Make the pattern the correct size after printing it, according to your needs, and then cut it out to attach it to the fabric. Use the pinking sheers in order to cut the fabric, and there are folding lines on the diaper to be used if you want to.

4. All-in-One Diaper

These are handy and more complicated, compared to the ones above.

What You Will Need

  • Cotton flannel (a yard)
  • Oilcloth (1/2 yard)
  • Cotton quilt (0.5 yards)
  • Hook and loop tape (16 inches)
  • Pins
  • Machine and thread for sewing
  • Elastic (1 yard)
  • Scissors

How to Make

Print the pattern, and cut out the fabric as directed with precision at the notches. Three wings are to be made from the flannel, and the other wing from vinyl, along with the pad from the quilt. The pad is to be folded into thirds and is lengthwise pinned to one of the flannel pieces. Zig-zag stitch can be used to sew around the pad, and this padded wing piece is then placed over another flannel piece and pinned with the notches right over it. These two pieces are basted together and turned over. The winged vinyl piece is to be stacked over the remaining flannel piece with the notches lined up and pinned. Starting on the smaller side, you have to sew the complete way around the diaper with some allowance and stop about 5 inches from the starting point. Turn the diaper right side outMake the right side of the diaper towards the outside, and then top stitch around the diaper. Cut the rough part of the hook and loop tape, after sewing on the soft one to the front of the diaper. The rough part is sewn on to the inside of the back tab, and the elastic is stretched and sewn to the inside of the leg hole.

Tips and Precautions

  • You should always try out each type at first, to get a feel of what is right for your baby.
  • Do not invest time and money in a larger diaper stash right from the start, without proper knowledge.
  • If you are experienced in sewing, you can create a pattern by measuring or tracing a purchased cloth diaper.
  • How to make cloth diapers more absorbent? The leftover pieces of fabric are extremely useful in that regard.

If you really want to make a great cloth diaper for your baby, this is the place to start. However, ensure that you have an idea of what you are getting into before starting off!

Also Read: How to Use Cloth Diapers for Babies