This tutorial will show you how to sew your own newborn pocket diaper using adjustable elastic.
These diapers are equivalent in size to a disposable diaper size 1 and with the adjustable elastic they can be adjusted down a little smaller than the equivalent of a disposable size newborn. The cloth diaper has a snap to adjust for the umbilical cord as well. I like using the adjustable elastic so you can get a perfect fit for your baby. I hate it when I buy a cloth diaper and the legs are too big, which causes leaks, or too small, which just looks uncomfortable. The adjustable elastic prevents this and you can also adjust it as your child grows. I also love using the adjustable elastic because I hate sewing regular elastic into diapers!
Visit our previous post where I posted the pattern for the diaper. Scroll clear down to the bottom of the post and click on "Download the Newborn Diaper full sized pattern here". This will open a google doc in which you can download the PDF of the pattern for free.
Materials and Fabric Needed:
2. Stay dry lining fabric (I used wicking jersey and microfleece. But you could also use suedecloth, minky, etc)
3. Size 20 plastic snaps (or you can adjust the pattern and use hook and loop) – 9 sets of snaps per diaper.
4. Absorbent material (I used baby loop terry that I received as a sample, but if you don’t have any laying around, I would recommend up-cycling old fabric here – use fabric made with 80% or more cotton such as t-shirts, sheets, etc).
5. Button hole elastic - I purchase mine from www.diapersewingsupplies.com
6. Buttons - About 6/16 inch is the prefect size but they can be a bit smaller or larger and it will be fine. We found cheap ones at Walmart or upcycle them from old worn out clothing.
7. Thread – Use 100% polyester thread. Do NOT use cotton thread OR polyester coated thread or you increase the chance of wicking leaks.
8. Fabric glue stick (I just used a regular glue stick and used very little glue).
9. Snap pliers if using snaps.
10. Sewing machine. You can use a serger to finish the edges if you want. However, I have a serger and didn't finish my edges with it.
You will also need inserts to put into the finished pocket diaper. Here is our tutorial on making newborn inserts.
Sewing the Diapers:
1. Print out the pattern, tape it together, and cut it out.
2. Cut out the fabric – You will have (1) one PUL full sized diaper piece, (2) one PUL tummy flap reinforcement piece, (3) one PUL reinforcement piece for each wing, (4) one full sized lining piece, and (5) one full sized absorbent piece. (Your total pieces will be 6).
3. Using fabric glue, glue the reinforcement PUL piece to the PUL diaper piece on the tummy panel. Use as little glue as possible; it only needs to be held in place while you put the snaps on. The reinforcement piece makes the fabric have more structure for when you pull on the snaps to remove the diaper from baby.
4. Apply snaps to the tummy panel of the PUL using snap pliers. Follow the snap placement shown on pattern.
5. Pin the lining material and the absorbent material together. Make sure the right side of the lining material is facing out.
6. Sew the buttons on the absorbent layer using the button placement marks shown on the pattern. Make sure to sew through both layers of fabric as the double layer will help reinforce the button stitching.
7. Next, you’ll make the pocket opening - on the PUL diaper piece, draw a line a little less than ½ an inch on the edge of the tummy panel even with the outside edge of the third snap (see picture). Cut down this edge. Fold down and pin.
8. Continue with the pocket opening - On the inner layers of fabric – lay the fabric on top of the PUL diaper piece so that the absorbent layer is facing up and the wicking layer is facing down towards the PUL. Line up the edges and cut the layers about ½ inch down using the PUL as a template. (see pictures). Then cut the absorbent layer across (see pictures). Then fold down the lining layer and pin (see pictures).
9. Sew this flap down so it stays in place. I like to zig zag stitch this, however use a longer stitch length than I did so that the stitches don’t pull the fabric and stretch it out.
10. Lay the PUL diaper piece with the right side up. Put the inner fabric layers on top of it, with the inner layer down (the buttons should be visible). Line up the sides and pin in place.
11. Using a ½ inch seam allowance sew around the diaper. Do not sew where the pocket opening is that you created in steps 7-9.
12. (optional) serge around the edges. I don’t know if I will do this again. I’m not very good at serging and its really hard to go around that many curves!
13. If you do not serge around the edges, trim the edges around the curve to a little less than ¼ inch and trim the edges by the leg and back elastic to about ¼ of an inch.
14. Turn diaper right side out.
15. Top stitch. (I forgot to take a picture of this step before the diaper was finished. Sorry)
16. Sew the elastic casings.
17. Apply wing snaps.
18. Cut elastic. I cut my back elastic about 8 inches and my leg elastic about 10 inches. It is a little longer than I need, but I wanted extra adjustability. Fold over the edge of the elastic about ¼ of an inch and then fold it over again another ¼ of an inch. Zig zag stitch in place.
19. Thread the elastic through the elastic casings. This is easiest to do with a large safety pin.
20. Make newborn inserts! See our tutorial here.
You are finished! How did yours turn out? If you have any questions let me know!