How to make Cloth Diapers – 16 wonderful Patterns (FREE)

Sew your favorite from this collection of best homemade cloth diaper patterns and tutorials and let your baby enjoy the comfort and ease a cloth diaper provides.

This post lists a number of easy to sew cloth diaper patterns and tips on what kind of fabric to choose as the inner, outer and the insert layers.

A case FOR sewing Cloth Diapers 

When you sew something you are obviously saving money – but when making fabric diapers it is not just about the money. It is a lot of other things, just as important.

There is this belief ( I believe and many more do) that cloth diapers are better for my baby than the chemical-filled store-bought diapers.

It is also about the environmental impact you are leaving behind. I read here that it can take up to 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose in landfills. The baby will have to live in this world which is already filled with all the plastic waste that it can afford.

True that disposable diapers can make the baby really comfortable, keeping him dry. But you may end up keeping it on for longer than is necessary. With the cloth diaper, you inevitably change it as soon as it is wet. Or the baby will make sure that you do!

The fact that you can make these beauties in the prints of your choice, in the colours of your choice doesnot influence you? Well, that was a major one for me in favour of cloth diapers when I used them for my kids.

Then the thought in the back of your mind that your next child or your (not yet married at that time) sister’s kid will inherit the cloth diapers – The idea of Recycling tickling my Uncle Scrooge bones. This was big for me.

The cloth diaper wins hands down in all ways, in spite of the convenience of the store bought one

Reusable Diaper sewing – tips 

If you have decided to sew your own diaper the types of diapers you can make are many: The flat cloth ones, prefolds or fitted diapers and their many variations. 

  • The plain flat cloth ones are folded by you and fastened with a pin
  • The Prefolds are just fabric folded and prestitched.
  • The fitted diapers are a replica of the ones you buy – they can be all in one or with a separate insert.
  • The one with the inserts are diapers which have pockets for keeping in extra inserts -ie  you put an absorbent padding into a pocket that is built into the diaper. My advice is, if you want a full coverage make the fitted ones.
  • Then there are water proof diaper covers which you can use over cloth diapers which do not have waterproof covering.

What are the things you need to start making the cloth diapers ?

Sewing machine

If you have a serger you have it easy. But this is absolutely not essential for making your own cloth diapers. A zig zag sewing machine is enough.


For a cloth diaper, you will need 3 layers of fabric and if you want a waterproof  layer that will be additional.

Cotton, wool, hemp and bamboo are the usual fabrics used to make diapers, because they are breathable, absorbent, and soft. Choose organic avatars of these fabrics to be more safe.

What to use as the Outer layer for the diapers?

Cotton fleece, cotton french terry are the favourites fabrics for making cloth diapers; they are thick enough and smooth on one side where you can print your designs or embroider or face towards the baby’s body so that he is comfortable. Flannel is also great, but you have to take into consideration that it does not stretch. You will also have to source good quality flannel as there are many types. Polyester fleece also maybe suitable as outer covers.

What to use as the Inner layer for the cloth diapers?

Polyester microfleece is a good fabric as an inner layer for diapers; It is soft enough to keep near the baby’s body, and also very water absorbent.This material is good for making inner layers of the cloth diapers because it stays dry. Suedecloth( a 100% polyester fabric) , cotton french terry are all good choices for inner fabric.

What should be used as a Water proof layer?

PUL (Polyurethane Laminated Polyester is a knit fabric with a plastic backing; this is used as a waterproof outer layer for diapers. High quality Polyester fleece can also be water proof to a degree.

Check out this post on the different types of waterproof / water resistant material you can use for making the water proof layer)

waterproof material

What are used as Inserts?

Microfiber is an inexpensive but quite effective fabric that can be used for making inserts. Microfiber is not so good for touching the baby’s body but as inserts, they are the best.

When you are practicing, try to use an old receiving blankets/ old sheet to make the diapers. For making the flat diapers you can even use old t-shirts.

Needle and thread

Use polyester thread because it is strong. You will be sewing lots of layers and you need a sturdy thread. The cotton thread can retain moisture and remain wet for longer than  polyester. If you are using a waterproof material for your diaper you will have to use a ball point needle. Knits also sew well with ball point needle.

What kind of Fastenings are used on fabric diapers?

Diapers are fastened with Diaper pins, velcro bands and snaps.

Baby Diaper pins are the most convenient from a sewing point of view – no need to bother with sewing up any closures on the diapers. Just fasten with the safety baby pins. But pins can get frustrating after a point – the layers of fabric which have to be pinned maybe beyond the capacity of the pin you have; most lose the sharp point after some time.

If you are using velcro ( hook and loop) better choose a good quality one. Most cheap ones lose their joining capacity after a few washes. 1″ velcro strips are the most used. Snaps are the best closures. They are easy to remove, do not get damaged in the wash, no fear of them piercing or irritating the baby skin.


Elastic is used for a snug fit along the legs. 1/4 inch wide elastic is enough for making diapers. Check out the different types of elastics used in sewing here.

Cloth Diaper pattern – 16 best ones

(The pictures will take you to the relevant pages) 

1. Downloadable Cloth Diaper Pattern

cloth diaper tutorials

This is a beautiful downloadable Free cloth diaper pattern and sewing instructions from themafiatutu blog (

2. Cloth Diaper Pattern with back pocket.

cloth diaper sewing

This free diaper pattern from the blog has instructions for making a back pocket which is the highlight – but apparently this feature means you can only make personal diapers, not sew it and sell it, because it is patented.

3. Fitted Cloth Diaper Pattern

how to make cloth diapers
This is a very simple and easy to follow Instructions to make a fitted diaper from Dianna.

4. Make Cloth Diaper Inserts

Make your own diaper inserts – instructions from

5. One size Cloth Diaper & wipes tutorial


Homemade One-Size Cloth Diaper Pattern and Wipes Recipe

6. Downloadable Hip snappy Diaper Pattern

Free pattern ( downloadable) for a hip snappy diaper.

7. Free fitted Cloth Diaper tutorial with video

>fitted diaper sewing
Free Cloth Pattern from mamacandoit. This is a fitted cloth diaper pattern (Printable) which is one size fits all with step by step instructions; they even have a video.

8. Rita’s Rump Cover.

This one is a one-size fits most fleece/wool wrap cover for diapers.

9. Fitted Diaper with inserts.

A wonderfully detailed tutorial to make a fitted diaper with inserts 

10. Flat Diapers -sewing tutorial.

Flat diapers are the easiest diapers you can ever make. Follow this tutorial to make one yourself.

11. Easy Pre-fold diaper.

Follow this tutorial and Learn to make easy Prefold Diapers

12. Pinnable Diapers.

Sewing instructions to make quick and easy pinnable Diapers  that you will need to use with plastic pants or a diaper wrap from

13. No-elastic fleece pull up cover 

Sewing instructions to make a No-elastic fleece pull up cover which will give coverage to even bulky diapers.

14. Prefold diaper 

Complete and thoroughly detailed instructions to make Prefold Diapers.

15. Prefold diaper to Fitter diaper 

cloth diaper sewing patterns free
This tutorial gives you instructions to convert your prefold diapers to fitted diapers.

16. Instructions to make cloth diapers 

This is a site full of great information for sewing diapers – especially this page with detailed instructions for making cloth diapers.

Sewing Homemade Fabric Diapers

You need really absorbent fabric for making cloth diapers. Fabric straight from the shops have stiffness in them and which makes it less absorbent. Do prewash the fabric atleast 3 times in hot and cold water before making them into diapers. This will make the fabric, whether it is cotton, hemp or bamboo, more absorbent than off the shelves.

You may need to make many many cloth diapers if you do decide to use only these – like say about 24 numbers or to be extra cautious 36.

The easiest way to make a cloth diaper is to fold a big piece of absorbent cotton to a rectangle of size approximately 20 inches by 10 inches. Place the baby on this folded fabric and then take one short edge and pin its corners to the waist. You need to use special diaper pins for this.

Another idea for a newborn baby is to cut an 18 inch square fabric diagonally by the center to make a triangle shape. Use this as a cloth diaper with the pins; Of course, this is just a temporary diaper till the baby wets it.

I recommend using organic cotton and other eco-friendly and organic materials against the baby skin.

Related posts : Make easy new born baby top; Easy baby dress; Make baby blanket; Baby blanket and quilt sizes.

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Author: Sarina Tariq

Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

15 thoughts on “How to make Cloth Diapers – 16 wonderful Patterns (FREE)”

  1. I’m an old granny – waiting [and waiting] for my first great grandchild: no. nothing in the wind yet…
    I come from the age of cloth nappies -when disposables were introduced I used them only once during a camping holiday – just as a trial as I was loathe to use them at all, really didn’t fancy washing clothies in a tent situation with none of today’s useful gadgets…. all I had with the first child was a large bucket that I’d 1/2 fill with water and soap and leave to slush around while we drove through the bush –water for washing nappies was scarce at that time
    totally put off the disposables when our poor little no. 2 had such a sore bottom from only two days deep in the forest during a later camping trip. I insisted we spend the next night in a motel so I could put him into cloth nappies while I soothed his b. cheeks.
    sadly not all our 5 children wanted the ‘effort’ of using cloth nappies for their own babies. if I was baby-sitting I refused to use their disposables and used my own clothies…. no, not the fitted ons as that was quite some time ago and, besides, I’m a bit of a skinflint and still had our children’s cloth nappies…. haha
    since the fitted cloth nappies have been accepted and adapted and improved it has brought a smile to my face each time I am reminded – three cheers to such as you and especially, thank you for providing the free patterns and the hints.
    well done

  2. I sure wish that the Snappy One Size Cloth Diaper pattern was still available! Do you know of anywhere else I can get that pattern? Thank you for all of the great information! So very helpful! Looking forward to starting my cloth diaper journey! They sure have come a long way!

  3. Hi i am wondering if you can tell me if cotton fleece and sweatshirt fleece are the same thing? If not is 100% cotton suitable for the outer layer

    • Hi Dominique
      Sweatshirt fleece could be a polyester-cotton blend, 100% polyester or cotton . Heavy weight fleece (polyester) with waterproof quality is the best for the outer layer of diapers

    • hi Sarina. I would like to start a reusable diaper manufacturing business . what do I need for the meantime as I want to start on a small scale

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