Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Make cheap cloth diapers!

Super cute and SUPER easy!!!!!!

I have decided I want to cloth diaper my baby I'm cookin. When I decided this I of course started looking online for cloth diapers. Holy crap their expensive!!! So I decided I'm gunna make em!!! I found a few tutorials on how to make them and used ideas from them and a few ideas I threw in myself.

I am not a seamstress what so ever!!! So the thing that I mainly did was just look at pictures on the tutorials I found because I couldn't understand all their descriptions and sewing terms. So this tutorial is mostly pictures:)

First I used a diaper and laid it out on cardboard and traced it as best I could. I realized it was a little smaller than I wanted it to be so when I trace it I trace about half inch to an inch around it to allow for the sewing and mess ups;)

My father-in-law recently lost a bunch of weight so he gave me his old work T-shirts to use. I've got so many I can make a crap load of diapers, hahahaha get it crap load;) awww man I crack myself up:D

Here's the stuff you need:

T-shirt is what I suggest, you could use sheets but you'd have to use many more layers. So I suggest T-shirts.

Velcro, I use the half inch wide stuff

Elastic, I think it's 1/4 inch I use? Maybe a little smaller? The size of it doesn't really matter that much, just don't use 3 inch wide stuff cause that's a little over board.



Wash cloth, or towel

Some sort of soft material, this will be the outside, I just go to Walmart or JoAnns and buy the left over scraps for under a couple bucks. I've used rougher material but the soft stuff is nicer.

Sewing machine

I also suggest having a seem ripper (I use mine way to often)


Ok below I've already traced the card board. I lay down two layers of the T-shirt and one layer of the soft material, then trace it then cut it out as best I can, don't worry about making it perfect, just do the best you can.

Lay them so the soft material's face side is facing the t-shirt material.

Take your towel or wash cloth, fold it into thirds, then take some scrap t-shirt material to wrap around the towel material.

Sew the material around the towel, then trim the excess off. (This one isn't the best one I've done, usually they look really nice but of course I just had to do a crappy job since I'm sharing (insert rolling eyes)

Take one of the T-shirt's and place the towel on top of it and sew it to the center, You should use pins but I am extremely impatient so I usually end up doing it with out. I do suggest the first couple you make do use the pins just until you get the hang of it. This is like my tenth diaper so I can do it without just fine now.

Now lay your layers together, I have laid the layers differently each time it really doesn't matter the order as long as your soft material's face will face out, so just make sure to have it facing the t-shirt material at this point.

Now sew three of the edges together. Leave one of the ends un-sewn, you will be turning it inside out. This is where I usually end up using my seam ripper, I usually get carried away and sew all four sides;)

Now take your elastic, doesn't matter what side you sew it on, sorry if it's confusing in my pics I just noticed I kept flipping the material. Just to clear it up the diaper is still inside out at this point.

Sew the elastic into the curves(legs holes) Use your own judgement on how tight to sew the elastic, I sew a couple stitches then start pulling it tight, I noticed I prefer it almost a little looser than you'd think because when I pull it to tight then it seems like the leg part would be too tight on the lil baby's leg.
Just try it a few different ways and see what you like best:)

Here I've got both legs done, looks like I might have done one side tighter than the other, oh well cause you can't notice a difference when it's done.

Now sew your elastic on the backside, Make sure it's the side that's already sewn shut.
Again as tight as you feel it should be.

I added this next pic in to show you to make sure to tie off your ends and remember your turning it inside out so its ok to tie them together. I don't do the whole tying the string to itself thing that talented seamstresses do. Some of the strings I end up not tying cause I don't have a string to tie them to. I figure if later down the road it loosens I can just do a quick fix.

Now your going to turn it inside out! Separate it so you put your hand in between the soft material and T-shirt material then grasp the sewn end and just pull.
You'll have to pull your lil tabs out too.

Here's how it should look, lil funny right now but starting to look like a diapie, don't let that piece of elastic it's laying on confuse you. I just accidentally laid the diaper on top of it.

Now take the areas that have the elastic and pull them tight and sew along it on the outside.

Here's what it should look like, or similar at least:) Don't stress over perfection! Remember our mother's and grandmothers used to just wrap cloth around our bums and pin it so compared to that these are genius!!! Just ask your grandma, she'll be impressed;)

Now take the end that's still open and fold the material inside itself. Again I suggest you pin it till you've done a few.

Now sew along it, make sure to sew through all the layers, I have one diaper I didn't do a great job with and a little chunk is stickin out. It won't mess up anything just kinda an eyesore but whatever, soon it'll be covered in poo and I think that's a little more of an eyesore;)

Here's close to what it should look like now. Almost done!!!!

Now take your velcro and sew chunks as big as you want to the front (side without the elastic) Use as much or as little velcro as you want. Some of mine have more than this some have less. Or if you want you can use those snap things, I prefere velcro cause I can choose a little better on how I want it resized and I figure when the velcro gets bad I can easily replace it. Plus with the snaps you have to buy the tool to apply the snaps and I'm just to cheap to do that;)

Now sew your other velcro to the tabs on the backside. Make sure to figure out how you want them to sit, how high or low, how close in, how big of tabs. I try to judge where the babies body will be to try and make it so the velcro won't be touching to much of the body. I try to use the fuzzy Velcro on these tabs since they will most likely touch his body. But I've also done it the opposite way too, cause you'll notice you will end up using more of one side of the Velcro than the other, so to avoid waste I usually rotate the sides of Velcro(I hope that made sense)

Look your done!!! Here's the front!



Other side

Inside view

I hope this was easy to understand, again I am NOT a seamstress so I don't know terms or "proper" ways to sew, I just put the material down and push the pedal and sew. If you have ANY questions please feel free to ask:)

These are super cheap and I figure each one has cost under $3.00 The cost might vary depending on what material you purchase and if you have extra t-shirts and wash clothes but comparing these to the nice 10 to 15 dollar diapers you can buy, I'd prefer these. They might not work as excellent as the expensive ones but I have purchased the expensive ones and when I hold them next to each other there really isn't much of a difference. Oh and I've noticed these are way easier to dry because I don't use that water proof material(you really don't need to) These will hold the ingredients just fine. Also their way cheaper so you can afford to make tons of these and use them while at home if your worried about how well they'll work and then buy the expensive ones to use when you go out and about. I have bought about 5 pairs of the expensive ones and have made around ten of these and plan on making more once baby's born, I decided the ones I have will work great for now and then as he grows I will make ones that will fit him at the time and go bigger. I don't want to get carried away and make a bunch and they all be to small.

It roughly takes me half hour to an hour to make one but I take several breaks and my sewing machine is old so I let it rest a lot. When I made my first couple it took me close to an hour of straight work time but I was trying really hard for perfection, then I realized the things I was stressing on making perfect really don't matter in the end. I just try to make the outside as good as possible cause that's the part you'll see and gets the most wear and tear.


  1. It is so cute! As someone who has cloth diapered fromt he beginning with my 2nd I wish I had done it with my first. I do not want to burst your bubble at all because that is insanely creative and I would in no way have been able to do that but, you have no waterproof layer. When the baby pees or does a nice big wet #2 its going to leak through terribly. Plus with all your layers you are really going to struggle to keep those diapers clean. You will more then likely get alot of soap build up in your washcloth/towel part and since it is not removable it will be almost impossible to get wash the soap out of it competely leading to buildup which causes horrifc burns on the babies bum (trust me here, I have been there. Also since your towel is not sewn into itself it will become all smooshed in the washing machine and be impossible to straighten out. I really think something like your design might work well for a newborn with a waterproof diaper cover over the top but once the baby is bigger and the diaper mess larger I think keeping these clean will be really difficult. The average cycle used to wash cloth diapers is hardcore. 1 cold rinse first so that you wash all the gross out of the diaper, 1 full hot cycle with soap to clean the diaper, 1 warm rinse to make sure all the soap is out. plus then it has to go through the dryer, or be lined dry (which since yours is a washcloth on the inside will take a really long time). The only reason I am saying all this is because cloth diapering can be so much fun and so simple but the key is using the right items. otherwise your baby will get diaper rash from hell and your diapers will take a million years to dry and its going to be insanely frustrating. Have you checked out kellyscloset.com or grovia? I used grovia all in ones for cloth diaper my baby thistime and they were SO stinking easy. For the cost you might like a few all in ones for times you want it easy and something like pocket diapers or covers and flats for when you have more time. Don't get me wrong, you are on to a good idea but take it from someone who has been there done that it takes alot of time to sort out! depending on how much longer you have left gro via offers awesome sales, zulily.com has diapers on once a week or so at 50% off, babyhalfoff.com has diapers occasionally too. Kellyscloset runs specials quite often too.
    Something like the flip system works really well too. http://www.kellyscloset.com/Flip-System_c_864.html
    gro via has a similar system
    I really hope this helps, you can email me any questions or post them here. I have a ton of friends who cloth diaper and did it myself. People who have cloth diapered always like to help each other out, its such a confusing process! Cheers.

    1. I appreciate your concern but like I said many, many, MANY times throughout this post, these are not perfect, they are not ment to be, their for when I'm at home and I don't have to worry about messes as much. Now to address some of your concerns: I have no waterproof layer mostly because I'm cheap but also because reading several womens tutorials on making cloth diapers they also did not use waterproof layers because you really don't need it with the material you use. If you used thin material you would but the wash cloth is wide and long and absorbs most of the mess and what it doesn't the rest of the material does. I will be a stay at home mom so situations like this will be easy for me to deal with as I have only one child and no life so I have the time:) I am not concerned about the cleaning of these because again I have no life so I can easily spend all day cleaning them if I need to, not really but you get my point. Also these have been so cheap for me to make if after using them a few dozen times, I really have no problem throwing away the old icky ones and making new. I have an entire garbage bag FULL of free material. The towel is sewn in, If you'd read the post you would see that I sewed another piece of material over it and then again sewed it to one of the t-shirt layers. So it is actually sewn in twice. I have already washed all my diapers I have made several times to make sure they do hold together good and I am happy to inform you that they are all just like new, even after hard core washings and they dry way, way, way better than the cloth diapers I have purchased, and they are so much softer after washings. I have said many times these are not perfect diapers, and they are not designed to be used out and about, I have purchased cloth diapers for the times I'm out but as for when I'm at home just relaxin with baby these will be just fine. I do NOT plan on using these as my ONLY form of diaper. And again can I point out like I did in my post, these are beyond the technology our ancestors used, you do realize they would wrap a baby in one layer of cloth and pin it, right? So as far as I'm concerned my diapers will be perfectly fine. I understand you are just trying to "warn" me but it's not neccesary, I have several friends and relatives with children, I know how capable children are of having major blow outs so I know that maybe at times my diapers will not hold up perfectly but there's times store bought cloth diapers do not hold up either, and disposable ones have their downfalls also. I am not concerned with the "flaws" in my diapers but thanks so much for pointing them out even though almost everything you pointed out was addressed in the post.

  2. I am so happy they are holding up to washing! I made my girls dresses one time and they fell apart in the first few minutes of handwashing :( all that effort and time just to literally watch it wash down the drain! I had no intention of hurting your feelings and im sorry you felt like I was just pointing out just flaws, as I said in the beginning of my comment they are so creative. I know two women first hand who made diapers and did not read anything about the making of them and just went off what they thought the store bought ones looked like they were so upset that thier diapers did not perform the same as the purchased ones. I know what its like to spend so much time to make something, blog it and then discover that what you did is not what you expected. I was merely offering my thoughts as constructive critisim. Also what I meant about the towel is that since its only folded and not sewn together to itself and then sewn directly onto the other cloth it can shift around and can become all wonky inside the layers its sewn into. I had diaper that did this somehow and had to have it refunded. Since they are so cheap to make and you really don't mind throwing them out it doesn't matter. I know you said they weren't perfect and I was NOT trying to point out just the flaws, I was only trying to offer my experience and knowledge. Like I said I have had some bad expereience with the diapers not washing out thourghly and burning my daughters bottom. Unfortunately since they were all in ones I could not tell there was soap build up inside. It literally burned her bottom, I always, always warn cloth diapering mamas about that, not to scare but just to remind that it happens way more then you would think. I did all the normal washes and took care of the diapers 100% and it still happened! I was so upset. I didn't know that you had to strip diapers and that with all that padding its so difficult to do. Are you doing all the diapers in the same outer fabric? Can't wait to see pictures of all the cute homemade fluff!

    1. Oh that's to bad the dresses fell apart, I know what you mean about spending the time on something and then being disapointed if it doesn't hold up. I guess I should add in my posts that I do not post anything that I haven't first tested and made sure it's up to par(or atleast up to my standards) And if by chance there is something wrong with something I make and post about I point it out and try to suggest how to fix it or prevent it. I think maybe I don't quite understand the towel thing still, I fold it into thirds then cover it with cloth and then sew all four sides, so I'm sewing through all three layers of the towel and through the material that's covering it. So far with washing them they haven't bunched, given I haven't washed them dozens and dozens of times but I have washed each atleast 5 times. I'll keep in mind about the soap build up. It wouldn't be hard to modify these and make it so you can get the insert out, I can always try that on the next one's I make. I have all different fabrics, I just buy scrap pieces so I usually only have one or two diapers that are matching:) And I've made sure to buy all gender neutral colors so if they hold up to use for a next baby it won't matter if it's a boy or girl:)

  3. I think these are awesome and I plan on making some tonight!!

    How are they with leaks?

    I have two in diapers now and one on way!! so if these work I cant wait to make more!!!

    1. They work great! I only use them at hime because every now and then there has been leaks but they haven't been consistent ones so I think its just times that baby pees extra.