When I started making my diapers, I found it hard to find much for free info and patterns, especially from a beginners perspective. I wanted to use cheaper materials and didn’t have access to fabric like PUL then. There seems to be a lot more info out there now.
Unfortunately, I can’t find (or can’t remember!) some of the sources I originally used to begin my diaper trials. If I ever happen to run across them again, I’ll try to make sure to put the link in.
I’ll put my diaper attempts into a separate page to keep this a little less cluttered.
Any of the sewn diapers (except prefolds) have a similar shaped basic pattern with varying length wings, pockets, closures, sewing methods, and appearances.
For all of you who can’t imagine sewing, but want to make your own cloth diaper stash: The no sew T-shirt diaper! I haven’t tried it, but may, just to see what I think of it. My instinct tells me it will be bulkier, harder to manage, and less absorbent than I’d prefer, but I’ve been working to refine those qualities for so long that I might notice it more. And maybe it would make a great diaper. I’m sure you could do some minimal sewing to keep the basic shape folded, too.
You can make your own prefolds. There’s info out there on how to make them from T-shirts, flannel receiving blankets, or plain ol’ yardage from the store. The key is to make sure you choose an absorbent fabric, like cotton (flannel is cotton), rather than a synthetic. Acrylic, polyester, polyester fleece, rayon, and wool won’t absorb the moisture (but that makes some of these materials ideal for covers).
You basically fold fabric to the size of a prefold with a concentration of layers in the center and stitch in place.
If I had a particular affinity to prefolds, I probably would have made my own. But if I’m going to make something, I’d rather make something with elastic legs that is less intimidating for anyone else to attempt to use.
TRIANGULAR– I found this in my early searches- it was for re-enactors who wanted authentic diapers for their babies. It’s a version of a folded diaper. If I remember correctly, it was often times a re-used tea towel or something like that. At that time in history, the diapers were made of linen and were called “clouts.” I haven’t been able to find the original site again. Someone on Etsy has them for sale, though. I tried a modified version out of a T-shirt with a pocket and some guides for the tie, but didn’t care for them much.
QUICK POCKET (reversible, too!)
Rita’s rump pocket. Free patterns including the simple reversible flannel diaper I’ve tried (Classic Rita’s rump pocket). It’s very simple- 2 layers of flannel with a portion at the top zig-zag stitched to secure the flannel edge. Then sewn together, 2 pieces of elastic added in the legs, and topstitched to secure the remaining flannel and create a channel for the elastic. This REALLY only took me half an hour from first cut to done sewing. And I think it’s got a great range of size use, from newborn to potty training. The pictures show my doll (the size of my twins as newborns) and my now 2 1/2 year old twin (average size). But it uses pins and needs a waterproof cover as well as an insert (a pre-fold diaper, a washcloth, or a home made one of some sort). There’s some other pattern options on there also, but I haven’t tried.
I’ve seen and tried Backwoods Home Magazine‘s pattern. It’s another flannel, but has fasteners. It also needs a waterproof cover.
There also seems to be a lot of info here, but I haven’t tried any of it. There’s free info/patterns, although I don’t see much written on it recently…
I think this may have been one of the earliest sites I tried. Has patterns for prefolds, AIOs, and pocket styles as well as some covers- primarily upcycled materials.