Make your own cloth diapers. Really!

July 7, 2010

How-to

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This is a guest post written by a reader of All About Cloth Diapers.

Did you know that you can make your own diapers?

Really!  If you are even slightly handy with a sewing machine you shouldn’t have much trouble at all picking it up. I have even heard of ladies that taught themselves to sew by making cloth diapers!  There are many patterns available, a number of sources to purchase fabrics, and even online groups of women who chat about sewing diapers.  Let’s take a look at some of the basics.

If you are just starting out I would recommend that you purchase a pattern that has clear directions.  My personal favorite is the Very Baby pattern.  I started out using their fitted pattern and it is still my favorite.  They also have patterns for one-size fitteds and pockets, covers and even an AIO!  There is a tutorial section on their website that shows many different modifications that can be made to their patterns.

There are a number of other patterns available to purchase.  Here is a small and by no means exhaustive list.  I have not personally tried every pattern designer listed:
Very Baby
Little comet tails: Little Half Moon Diaper Pattern, Little One Size Diaper Pattern, Stellar Transitions Pattern, Little Starter Cloth Diaper Pattern
Rainy days (shop currently closed)
La-Di-Da
Chloe Toes
Darling Diapers Unlimited

There are also free patterns that can be found online with a quick google search.  Here are a few:
Cloth revolution
Mama bird (as of August 2009, now costs $2)
Rita’s rump pocket fitted (and variations)
Darling diapers Newborn
Celtic Cloths

The next step will be finding your fabric.  If you have a bunch of old t-shirts stashed in a closet that never get used you could cut them up to make diapers!  Upcycling is fairly common in the cloth diaper sewing world as there are a number of ladies that cloth diaper for financial reasons.  Old flannel sheets and pajamas also make good diapers.  Cut up old towels for soakers, old socks can be used for cloth wipes….You get the picture.  There are a number of clothing items that can made into parts of your cloth diaper stash.

If you would prefer to buy new fabrics there are a number of online shops that carry fabrics for cloth diaper making.  One is very baby.com.  They carry many different fabrics.  PUL (used for the waterproof layer of AIOs, pockets and covers), knit terrys, diaper flannel, micro fleece and many other fabrics.  They also sell elastic, Velcro, snaps, thread and patterns.  Diapercuts.com and celticclothswholsale.com are a few other places to look.  Joann fabrics is another place to check.  They have a sale on their flannel fabrics a few times a year and many of the Joann stores now carry the diaper fabric PUL.

One other hint for you!  If you prefer snapping diapers but gasp at the price of a snap press, kamsnaps.com has snap pliers available.

While we are on the topic of  “sew your own”…  Lets not forget that you can make your own cloth wipes and wet bags too!  There are many tutorials out there that can be found with a quick google search!

I would recommend that you look at two different forums.  One is called Diaper Sewing Divas and the other is found on the Very Baby website.  Both of them are wonderful places to go and ask questions.  The ladies on either site are terrific at sharing knowledge.  If you decide to sew your own stash of cloth diapers you will not be alone in figuring things out.  There are no stupid questions.

As a stay at home mom of 3 boys under 3, I am very glad that there are companies that have made it easier for us to make our own cloth diapers.  It gives me the chance to try cloth diaper styles that I would not be able to buy ready made.  The cost per diaper is much less as long as I am willing to put in the labor to sew them.  I am able to sit and sew while the boys are napping or while they are occupied with their toys in the same room with me.  Sewing diapers is a fun way to clothe your child’s bum with things you have created yourself .  It can be a way to save money and  (dare I say it) an almost addicting hobby.

Some sites I found (it’s me now :) ):

http://www.cheekydiapers.com/Free-Cloth-Diaper-Sewing-Patterns.html

http://www.diaperpatternreviews.com/pages/Cloth_Diaper_Patterns.htm


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About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. Autumn enjoys writing but would choose camping with her family any day!

View all posts by Autumn Beck

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20 Responses to “Make your own cloth diapers. Really!”

  1. Jennifer M Says:

    I cloth diaper my 5 month old. I have a stash of purchased diapers as well as some that I made with Kayla’s Cloth Kits pattern http://kaylasclothkits.com/
    Sewing diapers is super easy and fun! I love that I can chose my own fabrics and colors and I that the total cost per diaper is a little over $7.00 if you buy one of her diaper making kits (and can be even cheaper if you order your fabrics from yahoo groups co-ops or other diaper fabric sites .)

    I hope other mamas try sewing their diapers. It’s such a money saver!

    Reply

  2. Jenn Says:

    All of my diapers are Rita’s Rump Pocket Fitted that I use with WHAM covers. The covers I have are very similar to the thirsties duo wrap but we go coverless during the daytime. I love the RRPF. It takes a very short amount of time to whip up one and I stuff them with either flats or prefolds. I did modify mine to make the flaps shorter and I made them sized instead of a one size sort of dipe but I highly recommend this one to any beginner.

    Reply

  3. Manda Says:

    Thanks so much, guest writer! I’ve been cloth diapering for a little over a year (since my second child was less than two weeks old), and the most fun part of it has been making and using the diapers I created. For various reasons I didn’t start sewing any diapers until May. They are from Very Baby’s Very Basic AIO pattern, which really wasn’t hard. I hadn’t sewn a whole lot before, and even that was ten years ago. I love the Very Baby site and forum — I bought my PUL and other materials from them. (Only the flannel I used for the inside layers was from JoAnn’s.)

    I think anyone could make cloth diapers from this pattern, and I like the shape (and non-bulkiness) of these diapers better than my Smartipants. My husband changes diapers with our Very Baby AIOs (he is not interested in trying to put on a prefold with a Snappi).

    Reply

  4. Heather Vitteri Says:

    I was THRILLED to read this post as I have been trying to make my own diaper covers and had been unsatisfied as to what I had found. I will be looking at these links.

    Also, KWIK SEW carries an EXCELLENT pattern which has all three diaper types (AIO, Covers, fitteds) AND wetbags!!! I almost shouted out loud when I found them at the fabric store. Who knew???

    Reply

  5. Mary Says:

    I just love that you posted your post on making your own cloth. This is something I have wanted to do for some time, but feel intimidated to say the least. I will check out the sites listed & hope I find one that suits my baby well.

    Reply

  6. Melissa Says:

    I’m another one who loves sewing my diapers. Two of my favorite free patterns are the sprout snap one size (This one is really awesome!!!) and the Tighty Whitey Hipster. I am pretty sure you can find them by googling, but they are really great, better than some of the bought patterns I’ve tried.

    Reply

  7. StephanieH. Says:

    I love the cloth diapers that I have made I do not use PUL I use wool covers for water proofing. I make the covers from Old sweaters that I felt myself

    Reply

  8. Debra Says:

    I just wanted to throw out there that a good friend of mine is trying to collect homemade cloth diapers for premature babies in Uganda. If anyone feels up to trying out their sewing hand for a good cause, your efforts would be extremely appreciated and would help provide for sweet little babies in great need! Here’s a link to her blog where she has several posts about the project: http://disguisedflower.blogspot.com/2010/02/preemie-project.html

    Reply

  9. Joanna Says:

    I sew all the diapers for my little girl, and you are right, it can be addicting. It is fun to make and use something practical and cute for my kids. I love being able to make them exactly how I want them and customise for our needs. I also sew woolies and I love those for nights!

    Reply

  10. Carrie Says:

    OMG. Incredibly addicting is a huge understatement. I started by trying to make my own CD’s about a week after I started CD’ing by trying to make one out of polar fleece… with the polar fleece on the INSIDE!! Talk about pee everywhere! Since then I’ve come up with my own patterns and am now just started to make them for others.

    I just wanted to put my kudos in for verybaby.com. they are quick, very helpful, and their website is easy to use! I just ordered some fabric last Friday and got it yesterday even with the 4th of July inbetween!!

    Now back to my sewing machine…

    Reply

  11. Charlotte Duron Says:

    Hi….I love this article…well..actually he whole site! I am a mother of 5 and expecting a surprise blessing of our 6th in October. I have 2 sisters, who recently had their first babies. They got me interested in cloth diapering..but thinking baby #5 was the last, I had a hard time dishing out the money for the fitted diapers. But this pass May, I stumbled onto a pattern for making my own and haven’t bought disposables since. I have been using T-shirts, flannel sheets, old towels, etc. Only having to buy a little elastic. I have even put a layer of old plastic shower curtain in it for better leak control. I have made the covers and fillers, pockets, and AIOs. I have made enough for my 15 month old son and am now ready to start on ones for our upcoming little girl. Thanks so much for all the helpful information and advice….I wish I had known about this 10 years ago when my first was born.

    Reply

  12. Asashia Says:

    Wow, this is great information! I would love to create some AIOs but first I’ll have to acquire a sewing machine!

    Reply

  13. Trenna Says:

    I also found many helpful suggestions from the people at http://www.patternreview.com. Many highly suggest a pattern by Jalie (they also have excellent maternity & nursing patterns).

    Reply

  14. OperaDiva Says:

    If you aren’t big on PUL for your diapers, there are also plenty of patterns that allow you to use either Anti-Pill Fleece or Wool instead. I have only been sewing a few months, and already have made about 10 soakers out of a modified version of the Katrina’s Soaker Pattern (http://katrinassqs.blogspot.com/2007/10/free-soaker-pattern.html) . This pattern is really easy, and allows your baby’s skin to breathe a little easier than PUL.

    Reply

  15. lisa Says:

    Don’t forget the cloth inserts for those of us that went with gdiapers! The disposables are pricey and the cloth are too! Plus here in canada the shipping is crazy ridiculous! Using several layers of absorbant cloth; ( I use old receiving blankets, some layers of microfiber and bamboo on the top) you can make an excellent insert that is super effective. For the brave at heart, you can even make a mock gdiaper. I found a tutorial ( of sorts) on utube. FYI I buy my new materials at Wazoodle.com here in Canada. Happy sewing mamas!!

    Reply

  16. Amy Says:

    I used http://www.diaperkits.com and liked them!

    Reply

  17. Slee Says:

    i have long been planning on converting my prefolds into fitteds. this must reminds me that i really really need to do it.

    Reply

  18. Julie Kieras Says:

    That is a wonderful post – I have been collecting resources to try to do this – later on when baby is older! Thanks for adding some web links to my collection!

    Reply

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