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Sewing a Diaper: Hands-on Practice
By Angelique Mullen
Fall 2005

To show how simple diaper sewing can be, I decided to make a fitted diaper for my upcoming baby. For this diaper, I used only materials found in my home. The following are some basic instructions based on what I did. They are modified from Sew Your Own Diapers. I made a homemade pattern based on instructions from this site.

Step 1: Choose materials. For diaper materials, I chose an old, flannel crib sheet, some worn diaper flannel that I purchased online years ago, and an old terry-cloth towel. I also used some one-inch hook and loop tape, quarter inch elastic, and my homemade pattern.

Step 2: Cut materials. There are many ways to make fitted diapers. I tailored my own diaper design to fit the materials I was using. For this diaper, I cut three layers of the flannel for the diaper, and three layers, two flannel and one terry cloth, for the soaker. My soaker ended up being heavy enough with only three layers because the terry from the old towel was thick. Four layers would have been too much.

Step 3: Sew the soaker pieces together and then sew them to the inner layer of flannel. Because I do not have an overlock sewing machine, I sewed the three layers of soaker using a straight seam, and then I took pinking shears to the outer edge, to prevent fraying. Once the soaker was completed, I sewed it into the inner layer of flannel.

Step 4: Sew hook and loop tape to the print side of the outer layer. If you use hook and loop tape, it helps to have a large size, two inches in width, for the outer layer. Since I only had one-inch wide tape, I sewed two strips to the front of my outer two layers.

Step 5: Sew elastic to the underside of the soaker piece. After sewing the outer loop side of the tape to the outer layer, I took three pieces of elastic and sewed them on the inner layer, on the underside of the soaker side. For the top, I used a three-inch piece of elastic, and I used two four-inch pieces on the sides for the legs.

Step 6: Sew the layers together, There are two ways to do this. I placed the layers together so that the outer layer with the hook and loop tape sewn on the print was facing down on the table and the inner layer with the soaker was on top of it facing up. I folded the edges of both sides inward, pinned them together tightly, and sewed.

An easier way to do it might be to turn the pieces so that the wrong sides are facing out, sew almost all the way around, and turn them. Whichever way you do it, make sure not to sew over the elastic, something I inadvertently did over one section of the diaper.

As you can see, there are a few places where my seam got “side-tracked”. I was able to fix those easily with a needle and thread and some hand sewing.

Step 7: Sew tabs of hook and loop tape. The last step is to sew about an inch of the hook side of the tape to the side flaps of the inner soaker side.

When making another diaper, I would do a few things differently. First, I would not sew hook and loop tape to the absolute outer edge of the diaper. It made it very hard to turn the edges under. Make sure you give yourself plenty of space for turning the seams. Second, I would make the elastic a little tighter. This diaper is a wider on the legs than I would like.

Other than those small changes, I am very pleased with my first diaper. It was very easy, and the whole process took less than three hours.

For further instruction, please see Sew Your Own Diapers.

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