I designed my own newborn diaper pattern over a year ago. I had tried some of the free patterns available, and even some of the paid ones, but I just didn’t like any of them.
1. Cut your peices
If you plan to do a solid piece of PUL with a printed accent piece, you’ll need to cut the accent piece first. Fold your pattern on the line marked, and cut only that area, as shown in the picture. If you are using printed PUL or want a solid colored diaper, you won’t need an accent peice.
Cut the entire pattern from your PUL.
Cut your inner material from the entire pattern.
2. Accent piece
If you are not using an accent piece, skip this step.
Lay the PUL piece out flat.
Lay the accent piece on top, lining it up with the PUL.
Pull it down, lining up the end of the accent piece at the 1/2 inch mark between two lines on the grid.
Flip the accent piece down as shown, but line it up an inch above where it had been lined up previously.
Pin it with one pin on either side.
Sew it on using a backstitch at the beginning and end, with a 1/4″ seam allowance.
Trim threads when you’ve sewn the accent piece on.
Flip the accent piece up, right side facing out.
Fold down the top part just barely and sew it down with your needle in the right position (1/8″ seam allowance). You want to sew it down as closely as you can. If you have an accent piece, do your best to line up the two layers. Don’t worry if it isn’t even everywhere, just make sure the edges are and sew it. This will prevent fraying around the casing when it is washed later on.
This is how it should look when you fold it over and sew it the first time.
Now you’re going to fold it down again, this time making the top even with the top of the wings. This is where your casing will be. I never pin it to sew it, just use my fingers, but I couldn’t get a photo without pinning it. Sew it with your needle in the left or right position, whichever puts it as close to the edge you just sewed as possible.
You will need to do the same to your inner piece. Fold it over, then sew it down with the needle in the right position, as close to the edge as possible.
Then fold it down again and sew it as close to the edge you just sewed as possible.
Lay your inner and the PUL right sides together and pin them, lining up the edges as you go. Start pinning on either side of the elastic casings you sewed, working evenly, alternating between the left and right, doing just a small section at a time. Once you get to the bottom (the furthest right part of the picture above) the inner layer may be uneven with the PUL. This is okay. Very carefully trim it with scissors to match the PUL and then pin it.
With the PUL facing down, and on the right side of the casing, sew all the way around the diaper until you reach the left side of the casing. DO NOT SEW THE CASING SHUT! Backstitch at the beginning and end and use 1/4″ seam allowance.
As marked on your pattern, tack a 3 1/2″ piece of 1/4″ elastic in the seam allowance on both sides of the diaper. Sew over this several times, back and forth to make sure the elastic is sewn down well.
Push a safety pin through the end of one 8 inch piece of 1/2″ elastic.
Beginning on the PUL side, push the pin through the casing you sewed.
Once you have reached the other side of the casing on the PUL side only, pin the non-safety pin end to the casing to prevent it from being pulled inside of the casing.
Moving the safety pin from the PUL side, push it through to the casing on the inner side and thread it through that casing.
Unpin the elastic on the PUL side of the casing, and remove the safety pin. Pull both ends away from the diaper, giving you room to layer the two ends of elastic and sew them as shown. Be sure to go over this seam several times. Once it’s sewn, pull the part of the elastic where it is sewn into the inner casing to hide the ends.
Your casing now looks like this. This is where you will turn the diaper right side out, and where you will stuff your inserts into the diaper.
6. Turn the diaper right side out
Putting your hand inside of the elastic hole, turn the diaper right side out.
Once the diaper is right side out, you should use something to turn the corners as well as you can. In my experience, a corner turner can puncture the fabrics. I have had better luck using the end of a non-flexible thermometer.
Your diaper is now turned right side out and almost done being sewn!
As you get closer to the elastic, start sewing slightly further to the left, pulling the elastic as tightly along the side as you can, making sure you don’t sew through it. You will want to sew slowly for this part until you get the hang of it, and constantly re-pull and re-check the elastic to make sure it’s lined up with the seam between the PUL and inner than you did before you turned it right side out.
You will see the elastic start to gather as you sew. You should be able to pull the fabric along the elastic when you are done and it move freely in these areas. If you can’t, it means you sewed through the elastic. If you sew through the elastic, the diaper is likely still usable, but may not be as well-fitting in the legs.
Once you’ve reached the end of the first piece of elastic, return to the 1/8″ seam allowance. Continue sewing, following the same procedure as you approach the second piece of elastic, and return as close to the edge as possible for a 1/8″ seam allowance after the elastic ends.
On the left wing, with the PUL side facing you, mark three dots, half an inch between each. On the right wing, mark two, one inch apart. Make sure they are approximately the same distance from the top of the wing.
Apply male snaps to all of the dots you just marked EXCEPT the middle one on the wing with three dots. The male side of the snap should be on the inner of the fabric. Then, apply a female snap to the middle dot on the wing with three marks, making sure the female side of the snap is facing the outside of the diaper.
Using the first seven inches of your ruler, line it up evenly on the front of the diaper. If the diaper extends slightly more than seven inches, make sure about the same amount of fabric extends past the 7 and past the end of your ruler. Mark a dot at 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Apply a female snap to these dots, with the female side facing out.
Your diaper now has all the snaps it needs.
Now stuff your diapers with the insert of your choice (I recommend premie size indian prefolds for newborn pockets) and you’re ready to go!