How to Make Diapers for Baby

By Corrine Flatt, midwife, Las Vegas NV


There are many, many patterns for baby diapers out there in the world, and most of them are better than mine.  My pattern is a quick and easy diaper pattern for pinnable diapers that you will need to use with plastic pants or a diaper wrap.  Please feel free to modify this basic pattern with Velcro or snap closures, waterproof layers, and gussets.


You will need 1 disposable diaper that fits your baby, flannel, and some towel material.  Optional—but really nice, so try it on this first diaper—two six inch pieces of elastic, 1/4 to 1/8 inch wide.  I use all manner of old cloth for baby diapers.  I have used old tee shirts, old jeans (the BEST diaper material), flannel shirts, and anything else about to go in the trash or recycle bin.  I use old and ratty towels—what my family calls “dog towels”—for the inner/soaker layers.  Those waterproof mattress covers or vinyl/flannel tablecloths can be cut up for a waterproof layer.  Elastic can sometimes be recycled from old underwear. 


Take a disposable diaper that fits your baby and lay it out on three thicknesses of flannel and trace around it with a washable crayon.  Cut out that shape.  Reserve one piece of the three for your new pattern, pin a 3x5 card to it, and make notes and adjustments on it for your next diapers.  Cut out two (or more) pieces of toweling, 4 inches wide, and three inches shorter than the length of your diaper. 


Set your sewing machine for straight stitch with nice long stitches, like 4 per inch.  Place both pieces of toweling in the center of (the wrong side of) one of your flannel pieces and just stitch it down around all four sides. 


Now place this sewed piece atop the other piece of flannel, so that their “right sides” are together and the toweling is on top.  Pin six inches of the elastic along the leg opening edges.


If you are using a sewing machine, set your machine to zigzag stitch.  The stitches need to be narrow and tight, 10-12 stitches per inch, and 1/6 to 1/4 inch wide.  If you are using a serger, set your machine up for three-thread overlock stitch, 10 stitches per inch, and 1/6 to 1/8 inch wide/deep. 


Starting in the back, and leaving the center 4 inches open, begin sewing around the edge, taking care to sew in the elastic (without cutting it up with the serger).  Sew all around, leaving the center 4 inches open.  Take the diaper out and turn it to “right sides” through the hole you left in the back. 


Set your sewing machine back to straight stitch, 10-12 stitches per inch. 


Fold the open edges of the diaper inside, and sew it shut.  Now sew around the entire diaper again, about 1/4 to 1/2 inch inside the edge. 


The side with the rectangle stitching is the “inside”, or the side that goes next to the baby.  When you try one with a waterproof layer, the waterproof material will go just inside of the “outside” piece. 


TA DAH!!  After your first few, you will be able to make a dozen of these diapers in about 2 hours. 


How to Pin a Diaper Without Sticking Baby OR Mommy!


Get a bar of soap, leaving the wrapper on, and use it as your diaper-pin cushion—just trust me on this one!


Place diaper around baby, wrap the side-of-the-back over the side-of-the-front, place a finger under both layers and then “pinch” this fabric piece together from the front.  Remove your finger from the underside, and push a pin (from the soap bar) through the pinched material, safely away from baby and your fingers. 


Put your finger inside the diaper by the underside of the pin when removing the pin, learning how to not scrape the point across your finger.