Medium or Large Waterproof Pocket Diaper

UPDATE:  I haven't looked at this blog for so long that I forgot it even existed.  I just happened to notice in my email that someone posted a comment about the links not working.  I'm going to update them with the files I saved.  I haven't made diapers for many years so I hope I have the correct files.  Also, PUL fabric is now available in some stores. I know I have seen it at Jo-Ann fabrics.

Double click on images to enlarge them.

I used this pattern for many years on my boys and decided to make a copy of it for other families who are interested in making diapers for their little ones.

Materials needed for each Large Diaper:
Pattern (Download from right sidebar)
PUL fabric 15 x 21 inch (38 x 53.5 cm)
Diaper fleece 15 x 21 inch (38 x 53.5 cm)
Loop tape (loop velcro) 1.5 x 12.5 inches (3.8 x 32 cm) total
  1 piece 1.5 x 9 inch (3.8 x 23 cm)
  2 pieces 1.5 x 1.75 inch (3.8 x 4.5 cm)
Hook tape (hook velcro) 1.5 x 3.5 inches (3.8 x 9 cm) total
  2 pieces 1.5 x 1.75 inch (3.8 x 4.5 cm)
Elastic .25 x 22 inches (.5 x 55.5 cm) total
  1 piece .25 x 7 inches (.5 x 17.5 cm) for the back elastic
  2 pieces .25 x 7.5 inches (.5 x 19 cm) for each leg
Thread 100 % Polyester
Needle Size 11 ball point

Materials needed for each Medium Diaper:
Pattern (Download from right sidebar)PUL fabric 14.5 x 20 inch (37 x 51 cm)

Diaper fleece 14.5 x 20 inch (37 x 51 cm)
Loop tape (loop velcro) 1.5 x 11.5 inches (3.8 x 29 cm) total
  1 piece 1.5 x 9 inch (3.8 x 23 cm)
  2 pieces 1.5 x 1.25 inch (3.8 x 3 cm)
Hook tape (hook velcro) 1.5 x 2.5 inches (3.8 x 6 cm) total
  2 pieces 1.5 x 1.25 inch (3.8 x 3 cm)
Elastic .25 x 22 inches (.5 x 46.5 cm) total
  1 piece .25 x 6.5 inches (.5 x 16.5 cm) for the back elastic
  2 pieces .25 x 6 inches (.5 x 15 cm) for each leg
Thread 100 % Polyester
Needle Size 11 ball point

Sewing tips and comments:
What size should you be using? My size large diaper is larger than most children will use before potty training. The size medium fit my son when I started cloth diapering him at 12 months and they fit him until he potty trained at age 3. Now he is 4 years old and I use the size large as a night-time diaper for “accidents”. In comparison to disposable diapers the size medium would be about the same as a size 3-4 and the size large would be a 5-6.

One big difference with my pattern is that the tabs are cut separate from the rest of the diaper then sewn on. I started doing this when I had a piece of cloth that wasn't quite wide enough for a diaper and liked it so much that I started doing all of my diapers that way. This saves several inches on the width of each diaper allowing more diapers to be made from the fabric.

Be sure to print the diaper pattern at 100% sizing from the print screen. Verify it is printed correctly with the 1 inch or 2 cm box.

PUL fabric can't be purchased at any store that I know of. It needs to be purchased from the internet. Locations can be found by searching “PUL diaper fabric” in a search engine.

I used regular white elastic that wasn't very strong. Give more length for a strong elastic so the diaper isn't too tight. It should bunch up just enough to stay close to the skin. Many people use swimsuit elastic or Lastin because they are supposed to last longer. I haven’t tried either one.

The slippery side of PUL fabric is very difficult to sew with a regular sewing machine. I purchased a Walking foot for my machine from ebay and it helped a lot. Without it the machine skipped stitches and had a hard time pulling the fabric through.

Be careful with your pins! PUL fabric isn’t waterproof if it has a hole in it. It is ok to pin very close to the edge in your seam allowance area but don’t put pins in the middle of the fabric.

If you are having problems sewing check your needle. PUL fabric and hook and loop tape seem to dull the needles quickly so I change needles after every couple of diapers. When the needle isn't good the machine can start skipping stitches or making a soft pounding noise as it hits the fabric.

You might wonder why I don’t encase the leg elastic. I’ve read that enclosing causes leaks. I personally didn’t have that problem but it did create a nice hiding place for poop. I always had to wash the diapers in the machine then pull the leg elastic open to scrub them and wash again. Without the enclosing I just wash once normally and don’t have problems.

Making Adjustments:
If you would like the length of the diaper a little longer/shorter for a taller/shorter child cut the center crotch area then lengthen/shorten as desired.  To shorten you can also shorten the length of the elastic and pull it tighter so the diaper bunches up more.

For the mathematical types you can make the tabs fit your child better by measuring around your child’s waist where the diaper will fit and adjust the length of the tabs to match. When the diaper is on the tabs will meet at the center.

For a Large Diaper The length of each tab should be:

Inches ((width of the child – 13.5)/ 2) + .66
Cm ((width of the child – 34.5/2) + 2

For a Medium Diaper The length of each tab should be:
    Inches ((width of the child – 11.25)/ 2) + .66
    Cm ((width of the child – 28.5/2) + 2
For the non-math loving folks just use the pattern as laid out. The loop tape is large and fits a wide range of waist sizes without making adjustments.

To make a night-time diaper with thick inserts increase the width of the crotch area slightly so the diaper is easier to stuff.

Cutting Layout:
If you are frugal like me you probably want to get the most diapers possible out of your fabric. I buy from stores like that sell by the inch not the yard so I don’t have to waste the extra fabric. I came up with a layout to get 4 diapers out of a 58” wide cut. Some online stores sell 60” wide fabric which allows more space for cutting. 58” fabric doesn’t allow room for error. Don’t worry about the fabric direction on the tabs. PUL fabric doesn’t stretch much so it can be cut either direction.

Large Diaper:
This is a 21” x 58” cut.

One diaper can be cut from a 15” x 21” piece of fabric with the following layout.

Medium Diaper:
This is a 20” x 58” cut.

One diaper can be cut from a 14.5” x 20” piece of fabric with the following layout.

Sewing Instructions:
1.Sew the tabs on both the PUL fabric and the fleece or suede cloth. The non-shiny sides of the PUL fabric are together and you sew on the shiny side. Be sure to sew the right and left tab onto the correct side. I always mix them up.

2.Cut the pocket in the inner fleece or suede cloth fabric. I sewed around the hole on a couple of the diapers but it isn’t necessary. You can see the hole in the photo on #8.

3.Sew the large loop tape strip on the front of the diaper.

4.Pin the right sides of the diaper together (So the diaper is inside out).

5.Sew around all of the edges with 1 cm (1/3 inch) seam allowance.

6.Sew in the leg and back elastic with a 4 step zigzag or regular zigzag stitch. It isn’t easy to see from the photo but it is sewn on the fleece layer right at the edge of the fabric. I like to pin the two ends of the elastic in place and use my hand to pull the elastic and keep it in place for sewing. Be sure to add extra stitches at each end to keep it from coming loose.

My husband had to leave so my 6 year old filmed the rest for me.  He was a little bit wiggly with the camera ;)

7.Clip extra fabric around the corners on the tabs and the front section so they aren’t too bulky when turned right side out.

8.Turn the diaper right side out. Topstitch (sew next to the edge on the outside of the diaper) along the edges marked in blue below. When you reach the back elastic drop the topstitching down so you aren’t sewing on top of the elastic. The legs are not topstitched where marked in red. It isn’t easy to see but the diaper below is topstitched.

9.Sew the hook and loop tape sections as shown in the photo below on the inside of the diaper. I like to clip the corners off so they aren’t scratchy before sewing them on. The laundry tabs are used to secure the hook tape before washing. That way the hooks don’t collect lint or hook onto other laundry inside the machine.

You’re done!!!

I use a microfiber towel about 15 in (39 cm) square folded into 3 and sewn down for the absorbent layer inside the pocket. They can be purchased in large packs from the automotive sections in stores like Walmart. For a night-time diaper I stuff with a prefold diaper and a microfiber towel.

If you have questions or comments on the pattern or instructions please let me know.

Send me photos of your creations!!! Even if you alter the pattern to make something that fits your style better I would like to see what you come up with.