Tutorial: How to Make Cloth Pocket Diapers out of Old T-Shirts!
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Okay, so I’ve had a few people ask me how I made my diapers out of old t-shirts… It might be easy enough for a cloth diaper vet to figure out how to make them, but for a lot of women, especially people who are new to cloth diapers, it can be really… elusive? So, I’ve broken down the steps in this video with directions on how to make your own cloth diapers out of old t-shirts. Alternately, if you don’t want to watch the video, you can read the tutorial below.
Okay, so you already watched the video, rated, commented and subscribed to show you love me? He he he. Just kidding… You don’t have to. But, I really enjoy it when people do!
Onto the Tutorial
**Note: I use 1/4 inch seam allowance. You can use whatever you like for yours, or whatever your pattern calls for. Just make sure you backstitch at the beginning and end of EVERY seam!!!!
This set of instructions can be used, and reproduced as long as you give me credit and link back to this blog post.
1. You need an old t-shirt.
Now, preferably, your shirt should be a size Large or bigger. But, depending on what size of diaper you’re making, you may be able to get away with using a small or medium shirt.
2. Pin and cut your pattern.
Now, I don’t know what pattern you’re using. I’m using one I made myself… But, for obvious reasons, you have to pin your pattern. You can lay you’re shirt out a few different ways, but if you want to use the design or logo that’s on the shirt, you should fold the design part of the shirt in half and cut the two peices for your diaper separately. If you don’t care about the design, you can just fold the shirt in half (both layers) and cut both peices out at once.
I laid mine out in a way so I could get the design on the body of the pattern. Like I said, you don’t have to do it this way, but when there is a design on the shirt, I prefer to. After all, who doesn’t like having cool designs on their diapers?
Pin your pattern down. Depending on what pattern you’re using and how big it is, will determine how much you can get out of a shirt. I’m using a size large pattern that I designed myself, and I can get enough for both peices out of a men’s size large t-shirt. With smaller shirts, you may only be able to get one piece, depending on your pattern size. In that case, use two shirts, and mix and match the pieces.
3. Cut your pattern out.
Might seem obvious, okay, it is… But you’re going to need to cut your pattern out!
If you’re only cutting one peice at a time, be careful not to cut the other layer of the shirt while cutting out your pattern. Make sure you smooth it out really well, and check it every few cuts!
So, now you have one (or both, depending how you cut it) pieces for your diaper!
If you cut out one piece, continue on to step 4. If you cut out both pieces, skip to step five.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 for the second piece.
Like I said, you’re going to need two pieces for your diaper, so if you only cut one piece out, then repeat steps 1-3 using the other side of the t-shirt, or a second t-shirt depending on your shirts size. When you’re done, you should have two pieces, identical in size.
5. Pin and sew the side
Lay your pieces right sides together and pin ONE side together, edges even. Then sew that side. Repeat for the second side, leaving the ends open.
6. Sew the front end of the diaper shut.
You have both sides sewn. Now, you need to sew the front end of the diaper shut.
I don’t even use pins for this. I just hold it as I’m going, make sure the edges stay even, and sew it shut. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, you can use pins, but its not necessary.
7. Mark your pocket and sew.
This step is a tiny bit trickier. I fold my diaper in half (in order to ensure the pocket is directly in the middle and not off center), and then use a pin to mark where each side of the hole will begin.
It’s a little difficult to see in the picture, but I have two pins, about 6-8 inches apart. It really doesn’t matter how far apart they are, however, keep in mind, you want to pin it at least two inches bigger than the actual finished hole will be because the elastic will shrink it, and you need to be able to fit your hand in it.
Once you have your pins marking where the hole will be, sew from the side, to the pin on both sides, leaving the hole open.
8. Sew in your side elastic.
Now, it’s time to add your side elastic! This step is relatively easy and for the most part, you can just eye it.
Cut your elastic (I use 7-8 inches and then trim the excess). You’re going to sew it right along the side seams, starting at about the bottom of the front diaper flap, and ending at the bottom (as if it were being worn) diaper flap. You do not put elastic on the flaps at all. Just along the side body part of the diaper. I use a zigzag stitch for this step. Make sure you’re stretching it tight as you sew!!! Repeat this step for the opposite side.
**Note:If your diaper has a pattern on it, make sure you’re sewing the elastic onto the side of the diaper that does NOT have the pattern you want shown on it.
9. Make a casing and add elastic.
Now, you’re going to fold the fabric on one side of the hole down, and sew it straight across, leaving both ends open. This will serve as a casing for your elastic.
As you can see in the photo, I simply folded it down, and sewed from one finger, to the other, leaving the ends of my casing open.
Cut your elastic slightly larger than half the length of your pocket hole, and sew it on one end of the casing, before threading it through and sewing the other end down.Your elastic is only sewn on the ends, and is simply threaded through the casing.
Repeat this for the other side of the hole. Your entire pocket hole should have elastic in it now and should look similar to this.
10. Turn your diaper right side out.
Your diaper has been sewn together inside out. By reaching into the pocket hole, you can turn your diaper right side out and then use a point turner, to make sure all of the corners and points come out as well.
Congratulations, you just made a diaper out of an old t-shirt! Your diaper should look somewhat like this:
You can leave your diaper as it is, and use diaper pins with it, like I do, or you can add velcro, snaps or buttons to help you fasten it! I prefer snaps, but unfortunately, I don’t have a snap press, and my son LOVES taking off velcro, so we use diaper pins!
11. Using your diaper.
Before you use your diaper, you’ll need to stuff some kind of soaker in it. You can make your own soaker pad out of old sweatshirts (I sense a future tutorial…) or you can simply use prefold cloth diapers, or even just a terry cloth towel.
Stuff whatever soaker material you’d like to use into the diaper, and you’re ready to go! Put it on baby, fasten it, and you’re done!
Please keep in mind that this type of diaper, because its made out of cotton and old t-shirts, will most likely need a diaper cover, since it’s not water proof. You don’t have to use one, but a lot of people do. If you pad it well enough, and change your baby often, you might not need to, but to prevent accidents, I would recommend using one. You can buy plastic pants and just pull them up over the diaper, or use an actual velcro or snap diaper cover as well, or even a wool cover. Whatever you prefer.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed the tutorial! If you liked it, let me know! Leave me a comment! Rate, comment and subscribe to my youtube video! Make your own diaper, show it on your blog and link back to me or even just throw me a comment with a photo! I’d love to see what you create!