Patterns for Cloth Diapers

Patterns for Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers can be made from a wide range of materials: twill, jersey, birdseye, flannel,
and terry cloth. Cotton and hemp are the most commonly used fibers. When choosing fabric
for your diapers, look for something that is soft and absorbent, and will stand up to many
washings. To make quality diapers, new fabric is not a requirement! There are many source
of recyclable fabric that you may want to consider. Flannel top sheets and receiving blankets
are two favorite sources, as they have already been washed numerous times, but are
rarely worn out. Receiving blankets can be picked up inexpensively at yard sales and second
hand stores. Better yet, ask a friend who is done having children for their leftovers.
These may be stained but after a trip through your washing machine, they are ready to
use. Two newborn or infant sized diapers can be made from each receiving blanket.


Newborn finished size: approximately 13 1/2″ x 13 1/2″
(For older babies, you can increase size anywhere up to 17 1⁄2 ” square.)

Supplies Needed

  • 1/3 to 1/2 yard of cloth per diaper
  • Thread
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors
  • Ruler or quilting ruler
  • Sewing Machine

    If you are using new fabric, before cutting your fabric, wash it at least three times in hot
    soapy water and tumble dry. This is needed to preshrink the fabric.
    Iron as needed before cutting.

Instructions for Cutting

Cut squares of fabric 14 1⁄2 inches square, 2 per diaper.
Cut a strip 11 by 7 inches …to be folded in half to form 1 strip 11 by 3 1⁄2 inches for lining.

Instructions for Sewing

  1. Place liner on one of 2 pieces cut for diaper as shown in the picture below. Place the
    other piece cut for diaper on top and pin the three pieces, including the liner, in place.
  2. Stitch through all layers using either a zig-zag or straight stitch so that the lining is
    secured in place. Do this twice to secure it well.
  3. Either use a Serger to stitch together the outer edges, or stitch all the way around
    with a strait stitch, then again 3/8 of an inch from the first stitch. Then zig zag the
    edges to finish them nicely.

Thrift and Time-Saving Tips

  • Diapers don’t have to be white! You can use patterned fabric.
  • Flannel top sheets, new flannel shirts and receiving blankets are a quick easy source of
    fabric that you may already have.
  • Do not use worn out shirts or bottom sheets. They will not last long enough to make it
    worthwhile. The same goes for cheap flannel, such as found at WalMart. I have had
    brand new fabric wear out in three months.
  • Making diapers is a great way to use up all those little spools of thread that are
    cluttering up your sewing supplies. When making my son diapers this last time, I
    emptied more than 30 partial spools of thread.
  • These diapers are very useful and much appreciated for the work in Zambia. If you
    can, please include a diaper pin.