Our Frugal Homemade Diapers

We spent the day at my parents’ house today, and my mother and I got a great start on the diapers we’re making for the baby.  We had a blast – lots of chit chatting while we worked.  We finished five diapers completely, and I got all the fabric cut for 14 more that my mother is going to sew over the next couple weeks.

EDIT as of Feb 2011:  The website that we used for the diaper tutorial is no longer available.  But this one has a ton of great info if you’re looking for ideas:  http://www.diaperjungle.com/sewing-cloth-diapers.html Also, I started making pocket diapers for our son when he was about six months old.  I’ve found that those are easier to make, wash well, and dry much faster (we don’t have a dryer) than the all-in-one diapers.  Also, using fleece for the inner liner of the diaper helps to not only keep the baby’s skin drier, but it also helps the diapers stay softer, especially since we line-dry everything.

We used the fitted diaper directions, and they worked great.  I did the cutting and pinning, and my mother did the sewing.  For each diaper, I cut three diaper-shaped pieces (an inside, an outside, and a liner) and then about five layers of additional liner material cut in a rectangle to fit in the middle of the diaper.  This gives it lots of absorbency where you need it most without making the whole thing too bulky.  We used all sorts of fabric… We had the flannel sheets that I got in a thrift store a while ago, and a bunch of thrift store and hand-me-down flannel baby blankets.  We also had several thrift store tee shirts that my mother had bought to use as liner material (she goes to a store that sells a bag of 25 tee shirts for $3).  Most of the shirts were pretty generic and I just cut them up into little rectangles to go in the middle of the diapers.  But one was from a microbrewery, and my husband suggested that we use the back of it as the outside of the diaper, with the Fat Tire logo right on the baby’s behind.  I couldn’t resist – so now our baby will have a novelty beer diaper mixed in with all the baby blanket-fabric ones.

We spent several hours working on the diapers today, but we got much faster as the day went on.  The first one took us a while but once we got the hang of it, it was taking about 45 minutes per diaper.  And we were having fun the whole time, so it didn’t seem like a chore at all.  We estimate that the total cost of materials for all 19 diapers is less than $30, including Velcro and elastic.  And the end result is absolutely adorable.  Can’t wait to use them!  I’m hugely grateful to my mother for all of her sewing help, and for finishing the sewing on the rest of the diapers I cut out today.  Between the diapers I already had and the ones we made today, we should be set for the first six months or so, as long as we wash a load of diapers every other day.  And by the time the baby outgrows the diapers we have now, we’ll have had time to make a bigger size.

Here are the pictures of our handiwork (of course I had to show the Fat Tire diaper from the back):

We’re thrilled with the results, and I would highly recommend the tutorial website we used to anyone looking to make their own diapers – the directions were easy to follow and the diapers turned out great.

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  1. says

    Wow! great work. 19 diapers for $30 in materials is awesome! You won’t regret all of the work to make the fitteds. Nothing wrong with pre-folds, but the fitteds are so easy to use.

    Love the Fat Tire Diaper! Fat Tire is a great beer, made by the New Belgium Brewery, which I think is wind powered. Anyways, what a find!

  2. zach @ Pennywise says

    omg. . . this woman just single-handedly solved one of the biggest dilemmas in modern western personal sustainability today!

  3. Marie says

    Love your post….unfortunately the geocities link you provided for the tutorial doesn’t work anymore : (

    Do you know where that tutorial has moved to? Or did you happen to save the pattern? I would really like to check it out. I am 4.5 months away to B-day (birth-day) and would like to try making my own, at least for the newborn size.

    Thanks in advance…love your blog! I’ll be visiting it more often!

  4. FrugalBabe says

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I’m not sure where that diaper tutorial moved to. Since that first round of diaper-making, I’ve never followed a pattern – I just wing it.
    One of my favorite bloggers, Alissa, sews beautifully and has lots of posts about cloth diapers – there’s a ton of information on her site. Check out http://www.onpurposeliving.blogspot.com – there’s a link on the sidebar for posts relating to cloth diapers.
    Have fun sewing!

  5. says

    That is just fantastic. I have not learned to sew. But my wife is getting fairly handy with a sewing machine. My wife made some blankets and wipes/burp-cloths, as well as a bunch of decor for the nursery. I wish we thought about this option…Or even knew about it. I wonder, though, if we would have been up for it.

    Amazing job!

  6. FrugalBabe says

    Thanks Jeremy! It turned out to be so much easier than I expected, and a lot of fun. Our son is two and a half now, and only wears diapers at night, but the diapers I made for him are still going strong, and most of them will be back on diaper duty next year when our second baby arrives.

  7. says

    Amanda, I know that link got taken down after I used it (I’ll add an update to the post), but this site has some great diaper-making instructions: http://www.diaperjungle.com/sewing-cloth-diapers.html

    We’re reusing some of the diapers for the new baby. One of my friends gave me a stash of gently used BumGenius diapers recently, so we’ll be using those along with the homemade ones this time. I won’t be making any more diapers – we have plenty now! Nearly all of the ones I made for our son held up well throughout his time in diapers. There’s some worn velcro and elastic here and there, and a few holes in the diapers made of t-shirts, but they’re mostly in good shape.

  8. Catehaworth says

    I too am making some homemade nappies and pullups not because they won’t go into landfills not because I want to be an eco warrior although they come into it and are an added bonus I am really only making them to save me a small fortune on nappies cannot wait for my fabric for my waterproof outers to arrive

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