Diaper Your Child for Free – Or Very Close To It!

**Be sure to read to the end – Destany has provided a PDF of her diaper cover pattern!**

When my son Adam was a wee bitty baby, I found myself facing what felt like an impossible situation with his diapers. He was allergic to every disposable diaper in creation. His poor bottom had a constant rash, which often broke open into great weeping wounds. My heart broke with every diaper change.

I asked parents from many arenas and got a lot of advice that I was wholly dissatisfied with. Many told me that their child could only use [insert name brand disposable], and surely that should work for me. I tried to explain about our intensely sensitive skin and how prone we all are to eczema and dermatitis. They would then suggest balms and solvents to barricade his skin from the harsh chemicals of the diapers.

And then a dear friend wrote to me and asked if I would be open to trying cloth. Cloth? Cloth, you say? What is this? Anybody who knows how frugal I am might be wondering why I had not thought of cloth diapers myself.1

I began shopping around online for cloth diapers (because I could not find any in stores) and found that while cloth saves loads of money in the long run, you often need a fair chunk of cash to start all at once from scratch. Many parents spend their pregnancies building a sizable stash, but I needed a full set of diapers right away. At roughly $14 for one diaper (this is for an All in One or a Pocket diaper), I would have spent $280 – $420. I knew my husband would tell me to slather the baby in A&D if I were to bring that sort of total to him.

I was pretty desperate, because I knew my friend was right and cloth would solve our problem. I needed to find a way to cloth diaper on the extreme cheap. So I went to my closet to see what I could find to make some diaper covers out of the material I already owned. I had read that flannel receiving blankets make excellent diapers. They do! I had many on hand, as most parents do; I think it’s the token gift people give to you when you’re pregnant.

I took an old newspaper and traced out a disposable diaper, leaving an inch extra all the way around, and Bingo! There was my pattern. I found a bunch of fleece shirts in the back of the closet that my husband had outgrown (I mean shrunk in the dryer) and a water resistant sleeping bag. Now, pretty much anything can be used to make diaper covers. Wool works best, but since the flannel is going to do most of the absorption, you’re just wanting something to keep the diaper in place. Sweatshirts, flannels, even old T-shirts. Even though I used water resistant fabric to line them with, I don’t think that it was necessary.

I cut apart the seams on all of the shirts and the sleeping bag, so that I had flat pieces of fabric to work with; then I cut out pieces for my diapers. One piece of water resistant fabric and one piece of shirt for each diaper cover. I sewed them together around three of the edges leaving a half inch seam allowance, and then turned the cover right side out. I pinned in the unsewn edge, pressed it flat, and top stitched all the way around it. Easy peasy. I went to the store and picked up a package of pins for a dollar, and there you have it. I diapered my child for over a year with that set up, and only spent a buck. The rash cleared up with in days with no creams.

Since that first foray into the cloth diaper realm, I was hooked. I have since had great fun designing different diapers and diaper covers for my little ones, and it’s one of the things I am most looking forward to whenever we make a new addition to our family in the future.

Destany has graciously agreed to share her Diaper Cover Pattern PDF with us. Feel free to download and create your own, but please do not use this pattern for diapers you may sell.

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Destany Fenton is married to her highschool sweetheart and is a mother of four kids. She enjoys a great many hobbies and pretty much anything to do with making. Whether she is making art, jewelry, food, clothing, or simply making the most of her time and resources, she shares her love of life and family at They Are All of Me and her crafts and hobbies at Another Artful Mama.

  1. All I can say is, “When you’re spoon-fed applesauce…

10 Responses to Diaper Your Child for Free – Or Very Close To It!

  1. Crunchy Con Mommy  

    That is awesome! Thanks for sharing your pattern. Definitely trying this next time I have a baby (we are trying to potty train right now, so no more diapers for my son-hurray!)
    PS for other people like me who don’t have old sleeping bags laying around, it is still fairly inexpensive to buy waterproof fabric from the fabric store, so it’d be more than $1 but still pretty darn cheap if you repurpose everything else!

    • Destany

      I did that when I made diaper covers for my daughter. It was a blast going to the fabric store and picking out materials. Her daddy picked out a pretty swirl patterned fleece. You’re right, it’s still very inexpensive to make homemade dipe covers. I think all of hers needed up cost around 30$, so they paid for themselves onside two weeks. :)

  2. Allyson Bossie  

    I am so impressed. I had no idea about these things for years, and now my almost 3 year old wears cloth to bed-the only time he needs it. I have four so I wish I had the thousands of dollars I spend on diapers back, sighs :)

    • Destany

      I wish I knew about cloth when I had my first two kids as well. I don’t know why it never even occurred to me lol! I know what you mean about wishing you could get your money back, diapers are expensive!

  3. June Park  

    This is great and I just shared the info with my cloth friends.:) We had the opposite issue..the cloth diapers, no matter what brand, made 2 of my children’s allergy issues worse even with frequent changes and dietary changes as well. Go figure.;)

  4. Andrea  

    Oh thank you for this. Very refreshing. We cloth diapered both of our kids, but I never dreamt of actually making them. All things considered, this is the ultimate green diapering! I mean, you actually took advantage of old clothing. We are just about to buy more cloth diapers for our son as he has outgrown our daughter’s entire stash, but I think I may give this a try instead. I am a not a good seamstress, but this just makes too much sense. I even have a closet full of no-longer-used receiving blankets. Wish me luck!

  5. Megan B.B.

    Thank you for posting this. I wish that there was some sort of service out there that sewing Mom’s would help out us non-sewing and non-crafy Moms. Like a swap of some sort. (Otherwise, the initial $$ shock of switching over to cloth has my husband a bit wary.)

    • Crunchy Con Mommy  

      Megan, there are tons of sellers on Etsy that sell reasonably priced cloth diapers, and if you find one who lives close to you, she may be willing to give you an even better deal-or ask on Facebook, and maybe some of your real life friends have secret sewing skills!

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