Guest post written by Celeste from Thinking About Cloth Diapers.
How to Make an Inexpensive Fitted Diaper
Fitted diapers can be fun to make! If you know the basics of sewing, and you have a sewing machine (or can borrow one!), you can make a simple fitted diaper following the steps outlined below in this photo tutorial.
By making your own diapers, you can save a lot of money, and get a one-of-a-kind design that fits your baby perfectly!
This tutorial shows you how to turn a prefold into a fitted diaper. Prefolds are workhorses in the cloth diaper world. Made of high quality cotton, they are absorbent and reliable diapers. But if you've ever tried to secure a prefold to a wiggly baby, you'll know that they are sometimes a challenge to use.
Fitted diapers are awesome for night-time use, and lots of families use them all day, every day. Combined with a cover, they are both reliable and affordable - and even more so if you make your own.
Materials Needed to Make a Fitted Diaper:
- 1 pre-washed 100% cotton prefold diaper (if you are using new prefolds, be sure to prep them. You can buy used prefolds from diaper services, or check out the used cloth diaper section at your favorite cloth diaper retailer to find some at great prices).
1 piece of woven cotton fabric such as flannel for outside layer, the same size as the prefold (be sure to pre-wash and dry this so it doesn't shrink later!)
Microfleece or suedecloth (optional)
1/4" wide swimsuit elastic (available from Wazoodle)
- Sewing machine with zigzag
Instructions to Make a Fitted Diaper
Center diaper pattern on prefold, and trace. As you can see from this picture, I selected a pattern where the 8 layer portion of the diaper was fully covered by the pattern, and the contours would trim away only the 4-layer portion of the prefold. The tabs for the diaper will not fit on the prefold, but we will add fabric to make the tabs later on.
Cut out diaper, keeping side pieces as these will be used to make the insert.
In this image, you can see the diaper starting to take shape.
Unfold the cut-aways from the legs. These will be used to create the soaker layer for your fitted diaper. We will want to retain as much fabric as we can as we cut the soaker out, so that your fitted has the same absorbency as the prefold did!
Stack the cut-aways together, and trim down to your preferred soaker shape.
As you can see in the picture below, I made a long, straight insert. Depending on your diaper pattern and your personal preference, you may also be able to make an hour-glass shape.
Since I don't have a serger, I will be turning this fitted, and top-stitching it for neatness. If you plan to turn and top-stitch, you will need to add another layer of fabric. This is where we will be using the cotton or flannel print. Lay the fabric out, and cut to the same shape as the prefold fitted pattern.
If your cotton print is wide enough, you can cut the diaper tabs at the same time. In this case, I used a smaller scrap of cotton I had left over from another project, so I will use smaller pieces to make the diaper tabs.
Here, I am attaching microfleece tabs to the prefold.
I also attached tabs to the outer cotton print layer using smaller pieces of the same cotton print. You could also make the tabs from a contrasting color or print! Lay coordinating print layer right-side down on top of the prefold, and trim both layers for the tabs down to match.
We will also need to finish the edges on the soaker layer. I prefer to turn and top-stitch the soaker too, so I will need another layer for this component as well. I opted to use a coordinating microfleece, which will provide a "stay dry" barrier between the absorbent cotton and your baby's bum, but you can use any fabric you want! Keep in mind, this is the fabric that will get soiled and wet, so you don't need to find anything beautiful if you don't want to!
Placing microfleece right-side into the cotton soaker, sew both with a 1/4" seam allowance. You could also sew a 1/2" seam allowance, and then trim the insert back to 1/4" inch allowance after. Leave the end of the insert open for turning.
Next, turn the soaker right-side out, and then top-stitch all the way around except for the open end.
Next, we will be attaching the soaker to the diaper, before we sew the outer print on. To reduce bulk in the insert, I decided not to turn the edges at the end of the diaper. Instead, I placed it, pointing up away from the prefold diaper piece, with the right-side down, as shown below.
I secured the soaker to the diaper with a straight seam, and then a zig-zag stitch that overlaps the edge, effectively catching any loose threads from the raw end of the soaker.
Having a soaker layer will allow this diaper to dry faster than if the extra absorbency had been sewn right into the core of the diaper. Next, I fold the soaker down, and add a straight seam about 3/4 of an inch from the end, which will cover up and contain any loose threads.
Now, place the diaper soaker-side up, and lay the cotton print right-side down on top, as shown below, and sew with a 1/4" seam all the way around, leaving 4-6" open at the back to turn the diaper.
Using swimsuit elastic, or other performance elastic products made to withstand the acidic conditions from urine, stitch the ends of the elastic to the seam allowance area on the diaper.
Be sure to pull the elastic snug across the legs and back.
Please note: I do not stitch the elastic in place all the way down the diaper. The reason for this is it can be very time-consuming to rip it out later for repairs or replacement if the elastic wears out before the diaper.
Almost finished! Now that the elastic is in place, the next step is to turn the diaper right-sides out. Pin the opening at the back of the diaper together, and then top-stitch around the diaper, using a 1/8" seam allowance.
For the pattern I used, I did not sew around the elastic at the legs. This helps the elastic to "roll in" toward the legs.
Congratulations! You have now finished turning a prefold into a fitted diaper! Here is a picture of inside of our finished diaper!
And now, for the beauty shot! Isn't it cute?
I am planning to add snaps to this diaper, but you can also use a Snappi or Boingos to fasten your fitted diaper, in which case you don't need to add any closures.
Voila - a cute custom fitted diaper, and all for less than $5 in supplies! What do you think? Would you make your own diapers?
Guest post by Celeste Ireland, author of Thinking About Cloth Diapers , a cloth diaper information website designed for new parents. If you plan to make your own diapers, don't miss her "make your own" section. Plus, receive another free tutorial for a fitted diaper made from old t-shirts when you subscribe to her monthly cloth diaper newsletter !
So you can easily keep track of the September Fitted Diaper Event, I will add a link to each of the posts below. No need to worry if you've missed one of the reviews. I've got ya covered!