Alright, this has been a long time coming! You may remember the diaper shower that I helped throw and the cloth diapers that I whipped up for the mama to be! I promised you guys a tutorial, and a tutorial you will have. There are many reasons to make your own diapers – cute fabrics, custom fits and we averaged our cost per diaper to be about $7 a diaper – much cheaper than what pocket diapers typically sell for!

Here are the materials you need:

  • ~25″ of 1/4″ wide swimsuit elastic cut into two 6″ pieces and two 4.5″ pieces
  • 18″ x 20″ butter suede cloth (we found this at Hancocks for $5.99 a yard), there are option options that you could use, but we found that this was the cheapest and most widely available
  • 18″ x 20″ PUL Fabric
  • 1.5″ wide Aplix Hook and Loop Tape (Velcro is not a good option – it won’t stand up to the wear and tear like aplix): 14″ Loop tape and 4″ of hook tape, if you will be making lots of diapers, you could invest in plastic snaps and a snap setter, but it is a tad pricey.
  • Coordinating Polyester Thread
  • Printable Pattern (pdf) – this pattern is approximately a small/medium size diaper so I think it would fit a 6 month old up to a thin 2 year old – Jude still fits in his!

I modified the pattern because the rise seems too long and the front tab didn’t seem wide enough to me. . . Our diaper cuts ended up being a little narrow, so I modified the tabs to be a bit shorter as well. Ideally, I would have left the width on the tabs. You could also trace a cloth diaper you already have.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Using the modified pattern on the fold, trace and cut the pattern on the PUL and the butter suede.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Center 7.5″ of the loop side of the Aplix (the soft side) on the front of the PUL. Edge stitch in place.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

The pattern has marks showing where to tack the elastic, I moved the elastic up just a bit on the front of the diaper. The 6″ pieces are for the legs and the 4.5″ is for the pocket opening on the back. Using a satin stitch or a tight zig zag stitch, tack the elastic onto the wrong side of the suede cloth as shown on the pattern and this photo:

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

On the PUL, tack one 4.5″ piece of elastic on the back (if you are making a pocket diaper – if you are making a diaper cover, there is no need to double up the elastic or have the extra flap on the PUL).

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

I used quilting clips to clip the PUL and the butter suede right sides together.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Make sure to sew with the butter suede on top otherwise the PUL will stretch (you could use a teflon or walking foot if you want to sew with PUL side up). You want to start the stitching at the edge of the pocket opening – stitching around the whole diaper  leaving the pocket open. So, with the suede facing up, starting at the right side of the pocket, stitch as close to the edge as possible – making sure that you are going through both layers of fabric. Be careful not to catch the elastic in your stitching.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Here’s what the diaper will look like:

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Trim any excess fabric, especially around the curves.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Now you have to create the tubing that the elastic will sit in around the pocket. I started with the elastic around the pocket on the PUL side. Fold over the PUL using the existing stitching to guide the depth of the fold.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

With the needle in the down position, stitch down the short side to the corner and turn. Often, I would make sure to stitch over the elastic once more to secure it even further.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Carefully stitch the long side, making sure not to catch the elastic in your stitching.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

It helps to pull the fabric tight as you stitch, allowing the fabric behind the foot to bunch.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

This is what it will look like once you have encased the elastic.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Do the same for the butter suede!

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Turn right side out – it’s starting to look like a diaper now, isn’t it!

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Now it’s time to edge stitch the diaper and encase the elastic around the leg holes. With the butter suede on top, starting at the right side of the pocket, edge stitch.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

You should be able to see the tack you make to secure the leg elastic, so edge stitch until you get to the tack. Make sure the needle is in the down position. Turn and stitch about 3/8″  away from the edge. You want it to be far enough away for the elastic to have plenty of room in the casing.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Turn again to stitch parallel about 3/8″ from the edge for the length of the elastic. You will stop once you get to the second elastic tack mark. Turn and stitch the 3/8″ back to the edge.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

The stitching around the elastic casing will look like this:

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Complete the edge stitching, creating another casing around the other leg hole. Here is what the completed edge stitched diaper will look like.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Now it’s time to add the remaining aplix to the tabs. I included ‘washing’ tabs to fold the hook side down during washing to prevent snagging. These pieces around about 1.5″ wide. I rounded the corners of the pieces that will be on the ends of the tabs for aesthetics. It’s not necessary if you don’t want to create the curve.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Edge stitch the hook portion on the interior tabs of the diaper. Follow with the loop part of the aplix. Repeat on the other side.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

I included a loop piece of the aplix on the exterior of one side of the diaper to allow for crossover securing of the diaper. This isn’t necessary, but I find it nice to have.

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

Here is the completed front of the diaper:

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

And here is the back!

Pocket Diaper Tutorial

There is definitely a learning curve in making these diapers, but after you complete one, you’ll find a rhythm! I could make about four in two hours.

As far as what to insert in the diapers for absorbency,  you can use 4-6 layers of flannel or hemp sewn together with a zigzag stitch. Really any absorbant material will work – layers of old towels, cotton . . . Or you can just buy inserts!

Lots of Diapers!

Have fun making diapers with this tutorial! And let me know if you have any questions!

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19 Responses to Pocket Diaper Tutorial

  1. Monica Gee says:

    Oh my goodness. I love those prints. I’ve been tossing around the idea of making my own since PT is growing out of all his. I don’t use velcro normally because PT can take it off, do you know how to do the snaps? I’m guessing there is just a tool somewhere you can buy to install them, but thought I’d ask!

  2. kristen says:

    YOU ARE SO TALENTED!! those look amazing!

  3. Jenny B. says:

    Ok… again, Mom you amaze me! I LOVE THE PRINTS AND THESE LOOK REALLY STURDY! How much do you think this cost you total? Including hours making it? My question is how would the cost/time needed to make these out weigh the cost of just simply buying them?

  4. Cynthia says:

    Thank you so much for posting this! Paul and I have started sewing together. He kind of took over the projects I wanted to do because he was having so much fun figuring out the engineering side of it. Anyway, he is convinced we could make our own cloth diapers and now we have a pattern!! He’s very exctied!!

  5. Rosie says:

    They look great. I pin mine when I make them with regular pins. I know some people are precious bout pin holes, but if you are sewing it, them top stitching, you are creating a lot more holes than a few pins. Plus I pin inside the seam allowance.

    TO the previous commenter you can buy snap presses that are heavy industrious looking. Or you can buy snap pliers. Snap pliers are cheaper and tak up less space but I have heard they can be hard to get snaps all the way through the layers especially if doing thicker fabric like minky or an All in one.

  6. Anastasia says:

    I have a pair of snap pliers and have used plastic snaps. I think I spent $30 on the pliers and snaps and I will never ever need to buy more.
    They are no problem to get through a layer or two of fabric. As a matter of fact you might even want to reinforce a single layer of fabric so the snap doesn’t pull off when you unsnap it. If you are making a fitted diaper with a lot of layers you need to use the hole punch that comes with. It’s kinda like a nut pick.

  7. Jenny says:

    Liz,
    When i have a kiddo, I want to pay you for some private sewing lessons. I made my niece maddy a play tent and nearly ripped my eyes out… Love the cloth diapers!

  8. Christina says:

    Hi, I love your tutorial so easy to follow. My question is, how would I turn this into a one size? would I just add a little extra around the pattern? and do I add an extra loop tape above the hook tape on the tummy part? thanks :)

    • Elizabeth says:

      I think you would widen it just a bit, but not much around the middle. The rise would have to be lengthened in the front and I would use snaps and not hook and loop for the adjustable part. I would certainly reference a one size diaper you already own to create the pattern!

  9. [...] ThinkLiz Pocket Diapers.  Finally, the backbone of my diaper stash. My awesome friend Beth over at ThinkLiz made me these diapers! Actually the ones pictured are almost all mine and the one in her tutorial is mine too! These are great! They are Jeremy’s favorites – he thinks they are cute and super easy to use. These have fit her the whole time and she still has plenty of room to grow in them. Thinking about making your own diapers? You should totally check out her tutorial! [...]

  10. lyn says:

    Hi, i just bought everything to sew my dear daughter pocket nappy. But, i dont have enough strength to start. Im afraid i cant do it.. please give me positive vibe. So i can start as you’ve done…

  11. Do you still know the eBay vendor for the PUL? The link no longer works, and I do love eBay for a good deal! Thanks.

    • Elizabeth says:

      It looks like the vendor closed up shop! I’m sorry! I would search etsy and ebay for other vendors of PUL. Hobby Lobby and Joanns recently started carrying some cute PUL prints as well!

  12. [...] Pocket Diaper Tutorial by think liz. [...]

  13. Katie Masters says:

    Curious to know how these diapers are pocket diapers? You stitched all around the diaper.

  14. Gina says:

    So happy I found this! I almost paid someone on Listia.com credits for this tutorial. Same cover pic and everything. Thank you for providing this tutorial freely:-)

  15. Really glad to have found this tutorial! I was talking to a girl in my pregnancy group and she was explaining the process you have shown here. I really didn’t want to go buy a book so I’m really glad you have this great photo tutorial which shows exactly what to do! Thank you!!

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