How To Make A Pocket Cloth Diaper

I love cloth diapering my children.  Not only is it better for them and the environment, but cloth diapers are also a money saver and just plain adorable!  I mean, who doesn’t just love this?

cloth pocket diaper

And would you believe that I made this myself?   This is called a pocket diaper.  The reason being that it has a pocket in the back, that you can stuff with inserts or prefolds.  This makes for easier and faster cleaning/drying.  If you have even a little bit of sewing ability, you can make one of these.  Here’s a quick tutorial of how to make one.

Materials Needed:

2 choices of fabric – I used PUL (polyurethane laminate – waterproof fabric) for the outer material, and a no-pill fleece for the inner fabric.  I use fleece because it keeps the baby dry.  You want to use a no-pill fleece versus just a regular fleece from Walmart, because it will hold up better in washes.

You will also need a sewing machine, scissors, elastic, a glue stick, washable pen/pencil, velcro, and a pocket pattern.  There are lots of free patterns here, here and here.   This site is my all-time favorite for making your own cloth diaper on the cheap!  If you’re not comfortable making your own pattern from the links I just gave you, there are plenty that you can purchase.  Just do a google search and you will find a plethora of options.

So here are the steps.  Be sure to back-stitch two or three stitches at the beginning and end of each sewing step.

Step 1: Place your pattern on your fabric, making sure that the stretchy part of the fabric goes width-wise on your pattern.  Trace the pattern onto your fabric and then cut it out.  Do this on both of your fabrics.  Be sure to leave the top tabs that will be in the back for the pocket.  Here are my two pieces cut out.

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Step 2: Sew the soft loop velcro onto the outside front of what will be your outside piece.  I just did a straight-stitch, but other people like doing a zig-zag.  It’s really up to you.

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Step 3: Since I don’t like to use pins on PUL fabric (they could affect the function), I use a glue stick to keep my two pieces together while sewing.  Just do a tiny bit of glue stick around the outside edges of the PUL fabric and press the fleece so that the two pieces are attached.  You want what will be the outside fabrics to face each other.   After it is sewn, the diaper will be turned inside out, so just make sure the good sides face in during this step. Don’t use a lot of glue; it will only take a little bit.  This is just to keep the fabric together like pins would so that you can sew.

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Step 4: Do a straight-stitch, sewing the two pieces together.  Be sure to leave the back pocket area open.   As an option, you can straight-stitch over it a second time for added durability.

Step 5: Fold the diaper in half lengthwise and mark on both sides where you want the leg elastic to start and stop.  That way it can be even on both sides.  Then do a zig-zag stitch while stretching the elastic as tightly as you can while sewing.  Do this on both sides.

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Step 6: Now it’s time to work on the pocket area.  Sew the elastic on the inside back PUL  fabric, below the tabbed piece of fabric.  Do a zig-zag and stretch the elastic as much as you can while sewing.  Once you have done this, fold over the tab and do a straight stitch, making sure NOT to sew on the elastic.

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Step 7: Next you can do the same thing to your fleece fabric.  Add the elastic just like you did on the piece of PUL fabric. This is not absolutely necessary, but it does make the diaper a little nicer.   I ran out of elastic, so I just folded the fleece tab over and did a straight-stitch.  Now it’s time to turn the diaper right-side out.

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Step 8: Now finish  up by adding the velcro to those little arms that wrap around the top. Cut your velcro pieces the same size, and be sure to include both hook and loop pieces, so that you can fold over the hook part of the velcro when washing.  These are called laundry tabs.  You want to make them, so that your velcro doesn’t ruin things while in the wash.

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Place the hook velcro towards the outer edge, and the loop towards the inner.  Straight stitch all around. Some people like to do a zig zag, but I think a straight stitch works just as well and looks nicer.

And there you go.  You’re all done!  As a further step, you could do a top stitch all the way around the outside of the diaper, but I have found in my experience for this to be an unnecessary expenditure of energy and thread.  But, the benefit for this would be a trimmer look.  I’ve done it with and without the top stitch, and I definitely like it without.

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So do you think my little girl likes it?

I am by no means a sewing expert, and I am sure there are people out there that could do a better job.  This is just a quick and easy way to start making some pockets.  I hope you guys like this little tutorial and let me know if you have any questions.  I would be happy to help you!

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43 Comments:
  1. Good job, Crystal! So cute, and I love the way it looks. You make it sound much easier than I’d thought.

  2. We cloth diaper, but it NEVER occured to me that I could make my own diaper. I might have to give this a try!

  3. I can’t imagine not cloth diapering my baby, and I love that you made such a cute pocket diaper! I only wish I could sew. (I’ve tried, it isn’t pretty.) Anyhow, great job and thanks for promoting the ease and CUTENESS of CD’ing!

    Beth’s last blog post..A Cloth Diapering Mystery

  4. TOOOOOO CUTE!!!!!!

    I stocked up on disposables a while back when CVS was having a good sale. But- we usually use prefolds & I knit and lanolize our diaper covers. However, you make this look easy…I might be tempted to try….might…lol. I’m not a sewer…at all!

    Brittany’s last blog post..WGTS 91.9 & Compassion Kick Off

  5. Where do you get your PUL from and the microfleece? I don’t want to have to buy like 10 yards of it.

    • Are you on Diaperswappers.com Erika? I got my fabric on there really cheap. Another choice is Co-ops. You can get it really cheap from those. There are many yahoo groups that are fabric co-ops. Those two places are how I get my fabric. I think verybaby.com is good too.

  6. I’ve never done cloth diapering & until recently didn’t think I could handle the mess it is but this post totally inspired me.

    I do have a couple questions since I’ve never done this and they will sound so silly, I’m sure:)

    By pocket, that means you slip in a piece of fabic to help absorb, correct???

    If so, what kind & what should the dimensions be. I’m sure there is a simple answer.

    Thanks so much! I’m totally excited..

    Kimri Murphy’s last blog post..And the Winner is….Comment 47

    • Kimri – yes that is what a pocket is. You can use prefolds to stuff it (the while cloth that our mothers used to use), or you can buy/make special inserts. Also, what I do is take flannel receiving blankets and fold those up to use as inserts. The flannel is so absorbent and they wash so easily. I love using flannel receiving blankets in my pockets. If you don’t have any, look at local thrift shops or yard sales (if yard sales have started in your area). You could also cut up old flannel sheets and shirts to make some inserts as well.
      Forgot to add, as far as dimensions, look at that link I gave you or you can purchase a pattern that will tell you specifically what kind of dimensions to use.

  7. You did a fantastic job! I really love the PUL pattern you picked out as well. Tell me, where did you buy your PUL? Was it expensive? I would love to make some pockets but have trouble finding the fabric for a decent price. Thanks! :)

    • Hey girls thanks! I got the PUL from a Mom in a yahoo co-op group for relatively cheap. My best advice to get a good deal on some PUL is to check out the Craft/Hobby supplies For Sale or Trade section of http://www.diaperswappers.com/ or join a co-op group. Those are the two ways I get my PUL. A good price to get some is anywhere from 6-10 a yard. If you can get it $5 or $6 then you’ve got a deal!

  8. WoW thethriftymama, that is really nice. If everyone did that, then our enviorment would be in alot better than what it is now. But the truth is that not everyone has time to make and wash these diapers. Thanks thought for sharing.

  9. Looks great. I have all the stuff and am ready to start my own. Could you describe a little more about putting in the leg elastic? Do you attach it to just the pul? or to the pul and the fleece. Thanks for your help!

  10. The link for the diaper pattern did not open. Do you have another reference? Thanks, , diaper maker for grandbabies

  11. The site for the diaper pattern does not come up. Do you have another reference?
    Cloth diaper maker for Grandbabies. Angela

  12. You’re diapers are adorable! I am looking into making my own and was curious what size these fit? Are they one size fits all? I have a 2 month old and need to know if I can use these until potty training.

  13. Me again…. I as well would like to know where you get PUL material.
    Thanks

  14. the link to the pattern is no longer good. Do you have a copy of this pattern elsewhere?

  15. Hey there :) Super cute nappy :) I was just wondering if you have had any problems with the legs leaking at all – maybe not full on leaking but a bit of wicking? If so I recommend stitching your elastic in the leg parts to the fleece side as it rolls the fleece inwards so you tend to not see it at all and have no or less leaking or wicking :) Happy sewing :)

  16. Love your diaper. How many could you tell me the size of the diaper so I can work out how many diapers I would get out of a yard of fabric.many thanks

  17. Thanks for this Crystal! I know this post was years back but I found it just as helpful today! I would also like to add leg gussets in when I try this and I’ve seen tutorials on how to do that but wondered what your thoughts were? Also I purchased a urethane laminated camping tarp that I’ve made wet bags and pail liners from since it was sooo much cheaper. I think it’s thickness would be 1mm as it feels comparable to 1mm PUL. Do you think that would still drape nicely for a diaper? Final question, is it necessary to sandwich the “PUL”, or in my case the “tarp” lol, with another non-wicking fabric as they do release tiny amounts of moisture vapors…? Thank you for your time and help!

    • Hey Amanda! I think the tarp could work, but I would definitely sandwich the tarp as I’m not sure if whatever material that is made out of is safe for baby’s skin. I think the gussets idea is great and I’d love to see your finished product when you are done!

      • Thanks for your help! I also was scared about the tarp after doing some more research about PVC and vinyl but thankfully the tarp I chose is just simply nylon with the urethane laminated side. So the only difference between it and PUL should be the “P” (poly) which implies the PUL is made from polyester. I should have the same thing in theory but made with nylon instead of polyester. So I’m going to go for it! I got some materials from Joann’s since they’re having their big sale and I’ll still have the liner material against my son’s skin… Thank you for helping me be cautious and I’ll let you know how it goes!
        P.S. Your tutorial is what encouraged me that I could actually do this! :-)

  18. Love it!!!! Gonna get my so to do this my main question, how much does it cost to make one? Or about how much does it cost?

  19. I love this!!! I wondered if you think old receiving blankets would work for the inside material instead of fleece? I’m on a super tight budget and am having baby in about a week. I tried a different way of making diapers and they were just a mess. They leaked all over.

  20. Im having trouble understanding about the elastic part… Do you stitch over the elastic by the legs??? But not by the pocket?? Thank you for any information

    • You do the elastic all the way around. Just don’t stitch the fleece part at the top where you’re leaving a hole to insert the pocket.

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