How to Make Diaper Covers

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Cloth diapers today are experiencing a resurgence in popularity. With the wide variety of styles and types of cloth diapers now available, it's easy for parents to save money and help the environment by using cloth diapers. Although cloth diapers are much cheaper in the long run than disposables, especially when reused for multiple children, the upfront cost can sometimes be disconcerting. If you're good at sewing, you can save even more money by making your own cloth diaper covers. Cloth diaper covers can be made of any waterproof material, such as wool, PUL (polyurethane laminate), fleece or nylon.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Paper bag or large sheet of paper
  • Round plastic container lids (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Diaper cover material (PUL, fleece, wool or nylon)
  • Paper clips
  • Sewing machine with zigzag stitch
  • Elastic
  • Bias tape (optional)
  • Velcro

Create Your Pattern

  • Take your baby's measurements while he is wearing a diaper. Measure around his waist just below the belly button. This is the waist measurement. Then measure from the belly button, through the legs and up to the back of the diaper. This is the rise measurement.

  • Use a ruler to draw a straight vertical line on the sheet of paper that is the same length as your baby's rise. Then draw another line perpendicular to it across the top that is the same length as your baby's waist. If your baby's rise is 14" and her waist is 16", then you should draw a T-shape with a vertical line that is 14" long and a horizontal line that is 8" on each side (16" total). At the bottom end of the vertical line, draw a horizontal line that is half the length of the top line (7" in this case). This will be your tummy panel line. Finally draw a horizontal line in the center of the vertical line that is about 4 or 5 inches shorter than the tummy panel line, depending on how narrow you want the crotch of the diaper to be. This is the crotch line.

  • Draw a line that curves from the left end of the waist line in to the left end of the crotch line and back out to the left end of the tummy panel line. If you want, you can use something round, such as plastic container lids, to make your line curve perfectly. Then draw a similar line on the right side.

  • If you're using a material that needs to be hemmed, add a seam allowance by tracing a second line 1/4" outside of the outside edge of your pattern.

  • Cut out your pattern along the outside line. Fold it in half to make sure the two sides match. You are now ready to sew your diaper cover.

Sew Your Diaper Cover

  • Attach your pattern to the material you are using for your cover with paper clips. It's better not to use pins so you don't create holes in the fabric, which will potentially cause leaks in the waterproof material. Cut out the material around the edge of the pattern.

  • Sew your elastic onto the inside of the diaper cover at the legs and the back of the waist. First anchor the elastic where the curve of the leg begins; then stretch the elastic as you sew past the crotch line to the end of the curve of the leg opening. Do the same on the other side. Then sew the elastic across the back of the waist, stretching it as you sew. Use a zigzag stitch.

  • Hem your cover using a 1/4" seam and a straight stitch, if necessary. Fold the material over the elastic so the elastic is inside the seam. If you prefer, you can use bias tape instead of a hem. Fold the bias tape over the edge of the cover and sew all the way around. Use a straight stitch.

  • Add Velcro closures. Sew a strip of the loop side the Velcro across the front of the waist. Then sew squares of the hook side of the Velcro onto the inside of each of the back tabs at the waist, on the same side where you sewed the elastic.

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