DIY Diaper Directions

DIY diaper kits for making your own cloth diaper covers are available in my etsy store.

Cloth Diaper Cover Kit from Rose Bottom Diapers includes:
FOE (fold-over elastic)
Hook and loop tape (like velcro)
PUL gussets
PUL diaper

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***It’s best not to use pins with this fabric as pins will make holes that moisture can leak through.  I just use my fingers to hold materials in place, but tape or a glue stick may also be used to provide assistance***

***Polyester thread is recommended (cotton thread may wick moisture). Needle recommendations are universal 10 or 12, or size 11 ballpoint needles***

***Remember to backstitch/knot the thread at the beginning and end of each seam to keep it from coming undone***

“seam allowance” the area between the edge of the fabric and the stitching
“right side of fabric”
is the good side of the fabric that you want to see
“right sides together” means the right sides are touching each other (so you’re looking at the wrong sides which are facing outward while the right sides face each other sandwiched in the middle)

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“wrong side of fabric”
is the side the goes against the skin when being worn
“wrong sides together” means the wrong sides are touching each other (so you’re looking at the right sides which are facing outward while the wrong sides face each other sandwiched in the middle)

If you have an all white piece of PUL fabric, you will have to compare the textures on each side to figure out the right and wrong sides.

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Sewing Directions

There are dots on the diaper and gusset fabric to mark the areas to stretch the elastic.  Fabric with a print such as the one pictured below can cause confusion with which black dots are part of the print and which are the indication dots.  To make things easier, the indication dots are marked on both sides of the fabric.  However, unless otherwise noted, sew with the fabric right side up.

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1) Sew long rectangular piece of hook and loop tape in place in the front of the diaper.  (In the picture the front of the diaper is at the top and the back of the diaper is at the bottom.  The back is wider than the front.)  Find where the diaper curves outward (above the snaps in this picture).  The hook and loop tape should be centered in this area.  A zig-zag stitch is recommended for sewing around the perimeter of the hook and loop tape.

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2) Each gusset has one end that has been colored in a little with black marker. This is the end that goes in the back. The next step is to sew the FOE (fold-over elastic) on the long straight edge of each gusset. Once the elastic is on it will cover the mark indicating the back, so take note now and remember which end is which.  In the picture the purple circles are around the colored ends showing the back of each gusset.  The green circles are around the black dots which will be used both as an elastic stretch guide and to aid in lining up the gussets in a later step.

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The FOE is made to fold along the center. When getting ready to sew the FOE on your fabric, put the edge of the fabric along the center of the unfolded FOE, then fold the first few inches of FOE over the fabric.  As the fabric and FOE move through the sewing machine, be preparing the upcoming sections with the fabric in between the folded elastic.  Be sure to keep the fabric’s edge along the center fold of the FOE so that it will be well-secured when sewing.

DIY diaper (6)DIY diaper (7)DIY diaper (8)I’m using white gussets in these pictures so my right side is all white. Have the fabric so the right side is facing up as you sew. In this step you will only be sewing FOE along the straight edge of each gusset.
Start sewing using a zig-zag stitch and keep the elastic relaxed at first.  Once the dot along the curved edge is even with the needle, then it is time to start stretching the elastic.   DIY diaper (9)

Keep one hand on the end that has already passed through the machine and use the other hand stretch the elastic.  (I needed a hand to take hold the camera.  Pretend my other hand is behind the needle holding the other end of the gusset and elastic.)DIY diaper (10)DIY diaper (11)The method that works best for me is to stretch the elastic when it is unfolded, use my left hand to put the fabric in place, then use the index finger on my right hand to fold the FOE in half and hold things in place. DIY diaper (12)

Regardless of the method you use to place the fabric in the FOE, be sure to keep a hand on each end of the gusset with both hands pulling the elastic and keeping it stretched while you sew.  (You may need to stop sewing and let go to adjust the fabric and gussets during this time.  That is okay as long as you resume stretching the FOE when you start sewing again.)

When the second dot on the curved edge becomes even with the needle stop stretching the elastic and sew the remaining section with the elastic relaxed. Sew both gussets this way.

When this step is finished the gussets should look similar to the ones in this picture.  (I find it easier to sew the gussets in one continuous piece of FOE which is how it is pictured.  In case there was any question, yes, you snip the FOE after sewing so you have 2 separate pieces.)

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3) Now it’s time to sew the gussets on to the diaper. It is important to have the wrong sides of the fabric facing each other for this step. Make sure the front and back of each gusset is matched with the front and back of the diaper. There are dots on the curve of each gusset to match with the dots on the curves of the diaper.

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Use a straight stitch and a narrow seam allowance (about 1/8”) to attach the gussets. You will be sewing over this part again later with a zig-zag stitch when attaching the FOE and you will want your current straight stitch to be hidden under the FOE.

Since you’re working with curved edges, you will not have the entire section lined up at the same time. Once you line up the first set of dots, move the fabric to line up the edges (going back to the start of the gusset). The dots will no longer be on top of each other, but it’s okay. They will line up again when you get to that point. Sew slowly and continue moving the fabric, bringing the two edges towards the center so the edges meet when approaching the needle.

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(Obviously do your best to keep the dots lined up with each other, but if they get a little off from each other you don’t need to worry about it. If they get very misaligned, try folding the diaper around your baby and use your judgment about whether to leave it as it is or fix it.)

4) After both gussets are attached to the diaper, you may need to trim excess fabric/elastic.  Use the main part of the diaper as your guide and trim any excess fabric/elastic from the gussets so that the ends of the gussets are even with the diaper’s edges.

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5) Now it’s time to attach the FOE around the perimeter of the diaper.  Place your diaper as pictured and find the dot that is on the left side of the back edge. Prepare to sew the FOE about 1” to the left of this dot.

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Keep the elastic relaxed until you reach that dot, then fully stretch the elastic.  The FOE may obscure the dot.  I use a pin (resting on top of the diaper fabric and covered with the FOE but not poking into the fabric) to indicate where the dot is.  If you use a pin to assist you, be careful to keep the needle from hitting the pin.

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Continue sewing with the FOE fully stretched until you reach the second dot on the back edge, then relax the elastic.

When approaching gusset area make sure the end of gusset is lined up with diaper and will be tucked into FOE. The gusset area has several folds in the fabric. Go slowly and adjust the fabric as needed to keep your seam allowance consistent and to keep the area of the diaper around the needle laying flat.  Keep the elastic relaxed until you reach the first dot on the gusset (the dot you used to line the gusset up with the diaper earlier). Stretch the elastic as you sew the area between the two dots on the gusset and relax the elastic when you reach the gusset’s second dot. Some people like to keep the elastic completely relaxed until reaching the next gusset. Others prefer a little stretch in the front of the diaper as well. If a little stretch in front is desired, start stretching the elastic slightly when the first column of snaps is even with the needle.  Relax the elastic again when the second column of snaps is even with the needle.  If your diaper did not come with the optional snaps you can look inside the diaper (at the wrong side of the fabric) and you should see some small black dots indicating where the snaps would have been placed.

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Continue sewing with the elastic relaxed until reaching the second gusset. Stretch the elastic in the area between the dots the way you did for the first gusset. Keep the elastic relaxed after you finish the second gusset. When you reach the spot where the elastic is already sewn onto the diaper, overlap the FOE a little and cut the elastic.

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At this point I like to turn the diaper 90 degrees and zig-zag stitch over the raw edge of the FOE.

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6) Sew the hook and loop tape tabs onto the wrong side of the fabric on the back of the diaper where it extends.  Sew around the perimeter of the hook and loop tape.

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It may be helpful to close the back tabs over the front of the diaper to guide you in placing the hook and loop tape.


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7) After all sewing is complete, close the tabs and put the diaper in the dryer on high for 20 minutes. This will help seal the holes the needle made when you sewed.

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Congratulations! Your diaper cover is finished and ready to be used!