How to Make Cloth Diapers for Your Baby

So, you’ve decided you want to try making cloth diapers for your baby yourself, but you have no idea where to start.  Hopefully, I can help you get started by providing you with some useful information in this post.

OBV and Bamboo Fleece Fitteds

Diaper Patterns

If you have no idea how to design a diaper pattern yourself, or you just don’t want to deal with that, there are quite a few free patterns available online.  Zany Zebra Designs has a few listed on their site.  Another good site for cloth diaper patterns is The WAHM Mall.

I’ve only tried one diaper pattern – the Ottobre pattern.  It was the first one I ran into and I thought it would be easy to follow.  I ended up making a diaper that was way too big for my daughter and the leg elastic was so loose that there was no way she could wear it.  It took me a few tries to get the size and elastic length right.  I’ve read that a lot of other people have had much better luck with the Ottobre pattern than I did though.  I ended up designing my own pattern which I tried to perfect over a few months.  A lot of people recommend the free Rita’s Rump diaper patterns, so it might be worth looking at those.

If you don’t mind paying for a diaper pattern then here are a few popular ones:

Yahoo Baby Diaper Sewing Group

The “sewingdiapers” group on Yahoo is a great source of information.  There’s a lot of helpful mamas there who would love to help you with any questions you might have.  They can also help you select a diaper pattern if you’re not sure which one to choose.

Diaper Making Fabric

To make your first diapers you can use old T-shirts, swaddling blankets, towels, pants, etc.  I wouldn’t recommend using new and expensive fabric for the first couple of tries.  My first two diapers were disasters, so I’m glad I used cheap flannel.

Once you feel more comfortable making diapers, find out if your local fabric store carries any of the fabrics you’d like to use.  If you can’t find anything there then try searching online.  There’s quite a few online stores that carry diaper making fabric.  You might also want to ask in the Yahoo Baby Diaper Sewing Group where to find specific fabric.  If you have no idea what fabric to use, the group can help you with that as well.  I usually use the very absorbent bamboo fleece for my cloth diapers which I haven’t been able to find locally.  So, be prepared to order the fabric online and pay a bit for shipping.


Buying the right elastic for your diapers is very important.  The most popular types of diaper making elastic are as follows:

  • Lastin® (1/4″ and 3/8″)
  • Polybraid Elastic (1/4″ and 3/8″)
  • Cotton Swimwear Elastic (1/4″ and 3/8″)
  • Fold Over Elastic (5/8″ and 1″)

Lastin is not the easiest to use, but it’s supposed to be very durable.  Cotton swimwear elastic tends to shrink a bit, so you might have to either wash and dry the elastic before use or make it a little bit longer than suggested by the diaper pattern makers.  Polybraid elastic is probably the most popular choice for diaper making.  Fold over elastic (also known as FOE) is used more frequently for making covers than diapers.

Cloth Diaper Fasteners

Snaps and velcro/aplix/touch tape are the most popular choices.  Touch tape is easier to use than snaps, but it’s scratchy and it can create diaper chains in the wash.  Snaps are not as easy to use, but are great in the wash and usually last longer than touch tape.

Other fasteners that you can use include the Snappi® and diaper pins.  Snappiable/pinnable fitted diapers are quite a bit easier to make than ones with snaps or touch tape.  I have recently made a few of those myself and have been using them for night-time because they seem to be a lot more comfortable for my daughter.

I hope this is enough to get you started.  You’re always welcome to ask me questions!

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  • Emi

    Awesome. I’m adding this link to my blog resources for my readers!

  • Nessie

    Glad you like it Emi! Hopefully, your readers will find it useful as well.

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  • fiona169

    thanks i think this will work perfectly for my daughter she hates the regular papery diapers like huggies and stuff once again thanks