Cloth Diaper Pattern & Tutorial

Cloth Diaper Free Pattern & Tutorial

Newborn Cloth Diaper Cover Free Pattern and Sewing Tutorial

Cloth Diaper Free Pattern & Tutorial

First you need to download your FREE pattern. I traced my pattern in actual size so you can print this from your home computer. Just print all three pages and tape them together. Then cut it out. I have even conveniently labeled them in the order you should tape them...just in case you can't figure it out. :)

Download those bad boys here:

Pattern Piece #1

Pattern Piece #2

Pattern Piece #3

Now when I create my own patterns I actually copy them onto parchment paper so they last longer and they are more like a real pattern...thus...easier to use.

*This diaper pattern is for a LARGE diaper. With the adjustable snaps that I put in mine it can fit a baby from about 3 months to about 3 years. But I'm not promising that it will fit a new born. That is just straight up cray' cray'. But I made almost all my cloth diapers in this size and I have loved it.

Now you need to cut out piece of fabric using your pattern. I like to use flannels. They are soft on baby and come in lots of cute prints. Be sure to cut your pattern on the fold that way you don't have half of a diaper. :) Your piece should look like this when you lay your pattern down to cut it:

See how my pattern is on the fold?

Now you need to cut a piece of PUL. What the...? I know right? PUL (for all you non-cloth diaperers) is Polyurethane Laminate. Basically a fancy way of saying its a fabric that sorta feels like plastic. It makes the moister wick away from your babies skin and helps keep their little legs dry. 

Now where would I get such a thing? (You might ask) Well...let me tell you. You can actually buy this at JoAnns but it is super 13 bucks a yard. Yow-zah! You can also buy it online cheaper (by the yard) but I always got mine at a little place called SAS fabrics in the ghetto of Phoenix, AZ. So just do your best on this part.

So when you cut out both pieces they should look like this:

Now you need to pin your two pieces together. You need to put RIGHT sides together. How do you know the right side of the PUL? Its the shiny slick side. So place the shiny side together with your patterned side of your flannel and pin:

Did you notice that my pins are going the wrong way? Normally when you pin your fabrics together (on any other project) you would put your pins ninety degrees to your fabric so you can remove them easily as you sew. When you make a cloth diaper you want to put your pins like ducks in a row. This is because you don't want to poke any holes in the PUL that are going to be on the inside of the diaper. SO if you keep your pins close to the edge you won't have holes in your plastic later.

Also, I like to put LOTS of pins in it because the PUL tends to stick to the darning plate on your machine and the fabric tends to shift. Using lots of pins ensures that your fabric will stay where it needs to be.

Enough about pins...

Now get your pattern back out and lay it on top of the PUL. See where those little asterisk are? That shows where you start and stop your elastic. So get a Sharpie, and put a little dot on your PUL wherever there is an asterisk. Don't won't be able to see the dot once your diaper is done.

NOW we are ready to sew...finally. See where the front (the smaller end) of you diaper is? See those two dots? These two dots show you were to start and finish sewing.

Put your machine to about a 3 1/2 length straight stitch.

Now using a 1/2 inch seam allowance start where my pointer finger is, go all the way around the diaper and end where my pinky finger is. Remove the pins as you go.

Now whip out your elastic. You will need 1/4 inch elastic. I think that this size works better than any other. Its just the right width for the diaper.

You are going to need three pieces. One piece for the back of the diaper which is 5 1/2 inches long, and two for legs that are 6 inches long .

If you have never sewn elastic before, don't be scared. Its super easy. First you need to tack down your elastic, so change your machine so that its on the 0-1 length so that it doesn't move anywhere. Now change it so its on a large zig-zag. Its very important that you use a zig-zag stitch when sewing elastic. This allows it to stretch.

Lets start by sewing the elastic to the back of the diaper (the larger end).

Start by tacking down your elastic by that little dot. Now change your stitch again so that its a much smaller zig-zag and to about a 2 length. Now as you sew, pull your elastic tight so it stretches. You will start to see that it will ruffle as you sew. This is what you want. Be sure to only sew over your elastic ONE time. If you keep sewing over it, it won't stretch like you want it to. 

Here is a close up of the stitch: 

See how it zig-zags small and then I tack it at the beginning and end of the elastic right where the dots are?

Now do the same thing by adding the elastic to the legs, stretching your elastic from one dot to the next.  Now all three pieces of elastic are in. 

Ok. Phew. I'm tired. Now take a break and drink a Dr. Pepper. (I may or may not have done this step).

Now do you see in the picture below that there is a lot of extra fabric outside the seam? Well its time to cut that off!

Being careful not to cut any stitches, cut off any extra fabric so it looks like this:

Where there are curves in the diaper you need to do little slits so that it is more smooth when you turn it right side out.

Now comes the rewarding part. Take your whole hand and stick it inside the diaper and turn it right side out:

Don't mind the fact that we started with a whale print and ended with a princess. :) I was just sewing two diapers at once.

Now use a pencil and poke out all the little areas so that its nice and smooth when right side out. Obviously you still have an opening that needs to be closed. Turn your fabric under and pin it as best you can.

Now you are going to top stitch your whole diaper to give it that finished look. Starting at the opening, top stitch your diaper.

When you get to an elastic part DO NOT sew over it. Just sew around it. Make a sort of "jut" out of your normal line and then "jut" back in once you aren't sewing around elastic. Like this:

Once you are all done top stitching you are done! The outside of your diaper should look like this:

And the inside should look like this: 

When you fold up your diaper it will look like this:

Cloth Diaper Free Pattern & Tutorial

At this point you have several options. 1. You can do buttons. I don't like to do buttons because when I have a squirmy baby I don't like to be wrestling with the buttons. I like to put it on as fast as possible. 2. You can add velcro. The only problem with this is my kids can rip their diapers off (And run around naked) and when you wash it in the washing machine, the velcro sticks to EVERYTHING. 3. Your third option is to do snaps.

I always do snaps. I had to purchase the snaps "pliers" and it was twenty bucks. But I figured it was a good investment seeing as I'm making these diapers for about 5 bucks each. This is the one I bought and I got it at JoAnns. 

And then you will need to buy the actual snaps. These are about 4 dollars. I always buy the white ones because they go with almost any fabric: 

Now I think the more snaps in your diaper the better. It is more adjustable and just fits your baby better no matter what size they are.

Start by putting 8-10 snaps across the front top of your diaper. Be sure to use the "male" side of the snaps. That way the "female" side of the snaps is against your babies skin and is not as rough. I also like to put "risers" in my diapers so you can shorten the diaper if its too long on your baby. I like to put four snaps in that part. But be sure that your bottom two snaps are the corresponding "female" snaps. 

Cloth Diaper Free Pattern & Tutorial

Now put the "female" snaps on the outside of your diaper so that it fits together right with the first snaps you put in. Viola! 

Cloth Diaper Free Pattern & Tutorial

I don't know why, but there is something so rewarding about making your own cloth diapers. :)

Cloth Diaper Free Pattern & Tutorial

Cloth Diaper Free Pattern & Tutorial

Cloth Diaper Free Pattern & Tutorial

Cloth Diaper Free Pattern & Tutorial

Cloth Diaper Free Pattern & Tutorial

Cloth Diaper Free Pattern & Tutorial

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  1. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! This seriously has been the BEST tutorial/pattern ever. I've purchased patterns, tried various free ones, and THIS is my favorite. The easiest, most straight forward; and I finally have a diaper I'm proud of.

    I do have a question though. When you topstitch your diaper and do your "jut" around the elastic: do you stretch it out to be "straight" again to make it a little easier. I'm thinking this would be the best/easiest way; and it would still crinkle back up because of the elastic.

    Thanks in advance.

    1. thanks so much! I'm so glad you liked it! I love it too cause its pretty straight forward. It's a keeper :)
      To answer your question, yes. I do stretch it out when I'm top stitching. If you don't stretch it while you are stitching and then stretch it out to put it on your baby you might have some seam popping :)
      Hope this helped!

  2. I made several pocket diapers with this pattern with no problem... Just start and stop at the opposite end of where the pattern dots are (so yes, leave back open, close the front).

    Also, I'd suggest leaving an extra inch of fabric where you want the pocket to be (when you're cutting). So it'll look like a rectangle sticking out from the back of the diaper.

    Then, when you put your side elastic in, do the same for the two back pieces, right under the rectangle and in line with the rest of the diaper. Once that is in, fold your 1" (or so) rectangle flaps down over the elastic, and sew them down on the other side of the elastic (you just made a casing for the elastic.)..Flip diaper as normal, and you've got a pocket that stays closed and no raw edges or anything. :)

  3. Couple of questions; are these meant to be used as a cover for disposable diapers or as a reusable diaper? Also, is the Polyurethane Laminate able to be washed in a machine?
    Thanks in advance!