DIY Hybrid Fitted Cloth Diaper
I’m closing my cloth diaper shop, P’tit Baby. However, there was one last thing I wanted to do before closing my shop permanently: a cloth diaper sewing tutorial. So today I’m gonna show you how to make a One Size Hybrid Fitted Cloth Diaper.
Hybrid Fitteds are popular because they’re breathable. They’re fitted diapers made of 3 layers of fabric where the hidden layer is fleece, and one or two “soakers” ( a.k.a. inserts) inside the diaper that are there for absorption. The soakers usually stretch the length of the diaper.
When liquid hits the hidden layer of fleece, it’s deflected back into the absorbent inner layer and the inserts. Technically, Hybrid Fitted diapers aren’t waterproof without a cover, but they worked well enough for us with two 4 layer bamboo/microfiber inserts.
There are many different ways to make a cloth diaper. This is how I do it. If you have some sewing experience, you might see other ways to get a similar result and you may be able to easily make modifications to make a diaper that fits your needs best.
Let’s get started!
- A cloth diaper pattern, I bought the
- Sewing machine
- Polyester Fleece or Windpro for your hidden layer
- Cotton velour or Fleece for your inner layer
- A stretchy fabric for you outer layer (knit, Lycra)
- 3/8″ Braided elastic
- A washable marker
- Pins and safety pins
- Snaps and snapping tools – I buy mine from Kam Snaps
- First you’ll need to cut out your pattern three times: One layer of fleece for your hidden layer, one layer of fleece or velour for your inner layer, and one layer of your stretchy fabric for the outer layer. Don’t cut them right on the line. Leave 1/2″ – 1″ of extra fabric around the outside..
- Lay your three layers of fabric together. On top is your outer layer facing down. In the middle is your inner layer facing up (if applicable). On the bottom is your hidden layer of fleece facing either way.
- Sew together the three layers of fabrics using a 3/8″ seam allowance. This means sew 3/8″ inside the line, using your sewing machine’s foot as a guide. But, leave a small opening at the bottom of the diaper un-sewed, as referenced by the green line in the above picture. Start sewing at the bottom left side of your diaper, sew all around, but don’t forget to leave that opening in the location and size of the green line pictured above big enough for your hand to fit through.
- Cut the extra fabric about 1-4″ – 3/8″ outside of your stitching. Then, stick your hand all the way in through the hole between what will become the face of the outer layer fabric and the face of the inner layer fabric, and turn your diaper inside-out. It should look like this:
- Time to do your elastic casings. It’s a sewed-off area that prevents the elastic that you’ll be sewing in from moving around inside the diaper. These lines are in orange on the picture above. Sew a line down the length on both sides of your diaper to create a channel for the elastic to go. These lines will be about 10 inches long, about 5/8″ away from the edge of the diaper. Check your pattern for exact measurements. Don’t close off the channels at the ends, keep them all open on both ends. Then do the back elastic on the end of the diaper, but only make this one about 7 inches wide (Again check your pattern for exact measurements). Take care to make it centered on the diaper.
- Now, time to put your elastic in. You’ll need three pieces, one for each channel you just sewed. Make the pieces of elastic just over half the length of the channel it’s going in – maybe 60% of the length of the casing when slack (un-stretched). Start with one of the side channels. Attach a safety pin to the end of the elastic to help you thread the elastic through one end of the casing, pin-end first. Feed it in until the non-pin end of the elastic is just about to disappear into the channel you sewed but is still sticking out a little. Sew back and forth as pictured in the photo on the right below to secure the end of the elastic without the safety pin firmly in place. I use a zig-zag stitch for this.
- Then, continue to feed the end of the elastic with the pin on it through the channel out the other end, and do the same back and forth zig-zag stitch to secure the other end of the elastic to the other end of the channel. Make sure the pin is past the end of the channel before you sew, and then doubly make sure to remove the pin after both ends are sewn. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the other side, and then repeat again for the end of the diaper with the smaller piece of elastic.
- Then it’s time to sew your cloth diaper shut and top-stitch it to give it a more finished look. That means, sew around the entire perimeter of the diaper about 1/4″ in from the edge. When you get to the opening on the end, have the pieces of fabric folded into the diaper so when the top-stitching passes that area it blends in seamlessly to complete the diaper. And, when sewing over the elastic casings, make sure to stretch out the elastic as you pass over them.
- Finally, it’s time to add the snaps or Velcro to your hybrid fitted cloth diaper. I prefer snaps. Just make sure to use a ruler when adding them so they’re straight. The exact snap placement should be on your pattern. For size adjustment, I like a “snap-down-rise” better than a “fold-down-rise” but it’s totally a personal preference. Here are a few of my diapers, and you can find a few left on my website P’tit Baby too.