Tutorial: Cloth Diaper Liners

Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival

This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will
run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are
sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including
how cloth has inspired them.


Welcome to The Freedom of Cloth Carnival Melissa of The New Mommy Files, and me – Shannon aka The ArtsyMama from The Artful Mama with The Natural Parents Network. Wow, that was a mouthful.  When Melissa approached NPN’s volunteers about this carnival idea, I was on board before her fingers left the keyboard. Having discovered the love for cloth, I try to let everyone I know and some that I don’t know (yet) about the awesomeness of cloth.  Being a part of this carnival has been the perfect extension of my life with cloth. I use cloth, I talk cloth, I live cloth, I sell cloth.

While I am not one of the wonderful WAHMs we are going to highlight in our carnival with reviews and giveaways, I am a Diaper Consultant with Everything Birth, Inc., and I occasionally dabble with my serge machine and a pair of scissors (that is when I’m not caring for Little Man or teaching about the wonders of drafting, painting or photography). My point with this paragraph is to let you know how very little time you need to make your own reusable cloth diaper liners.

I started making my own liners out of necessity when I went on a week long cross country trip with my family and forgot my flushable liners at home. I called ahead to where we were going and tried to find a cloth diaper store or my disposable liners anywhere. I had no luck, but I was able to have my brother pick up some cotton flannel receiving blankets. I figured I could cut them down and toss them if I wanted to after the week. I took each of the blankets, washed them, and then ripped them into strips that looked about the length and width of my regular liners.

I used them that week and was so pleased not to have to dunk and swish my entire diaper but just a small swatch of fabric. I was hooked, because here again was another way for me to lessen the impact of my diaper use on the planet and my wallet. When I got home I saved the scraps of fabric and reused them until the edges frayed and then tossed them. The next time I decided that I was going to try to make them last longer and decided to dust off my serge machine. Now I never have to buy disposable liners again, and neither will you.


1. Take any old or unwanted cotton receiving blankets and wash like you would wash to prep your diapers. Use a very small amount of cloth diaper safe detergent and rinse thoroughly.

2. Fold the blanket up evenly into the size liner you would like to make and press with an iron.

3. Unfold the blanket and using scissors, snip the edge of the blanket on one of the creases you have created.

4. Tear the blanket the rest of the way down the crease. If your blanket was not originally cut properly you may have to cut the blanket down the creases yourself so as to minimize waste.

5. Once the pieces are cut to the proper size you can either use a serge machine like I did or a regular sewing machine with a zig-zag stitch and stitch around all the edges. You can leave the edges unfinished but you will likely only get 4-5 uses out of each liner.

6. After you have sewn all four sides, snip the excess thread and you are ready to lay your diaper liner in your first diaper.

Cut through the edging to the fabric about 1/4"

Tear down the length of the fabric

Finish all four edges

Cut excess thread

Detail of finished edge. The tighter stitch is the manufacture edge.

Photo Credits: Author


freedom of cloth carnivalVisit Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!


Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:

  • Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
  • Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
  • Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
  • Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
  • Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
  • Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
  • Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.

About The Author: Shannon R

The_ArtsyMama My NPN Posts

Shannon R is a breastfeeding-cloth diapering-working-mother and devoted wife. She is expecting her second child in April. She blogs about breastfeeding, expressing at work and cloth diapering at The Artful Mama.

8 Responses to Tutorial: Cloth Diaper Liners

  1. Melissa  

    Thanks for a great tutorial, Shannon! I really am amazed that you find the time. One these days I may just take up sewing and give these a try!

  2. Zoie @ TouchstoneZ  

    Wonderful tutorial. I have a ton of receiving blankets that I’m waiting to convert into other useful things. This will definitely be one of them. I’m just about to begin learning to sew and serge (I received a sewing machine as a gift and now I need to learn to use it)

    I’m curious, is it better to tear than to cut along the seam? Why is that?

  3. Shannon R  

    You will find these so easy to make. @Zoie – the reason for ripping the fabric is so you use a straight piece of fabric. Handsewn pieces will use this technique which is why they typically last longer. When you cut a piece of fabric instead you may be getting different weaves and it will be more likely to unravel.

  4. Adrienne

    I’ve been waiting for this carnival for a post like this! I was recently given a bunch of receiving blankets and I knew I wanted to make cloth diapers out of them, and assumed someone would post something explaining how! Thank you!! 🙂

  5. Randi K  

    Great idea, thanks for this. I turned the majority of my recieving blankets into wipes!

  6. Shannon R  

    @Adrienne – I used the same basic principle when I was making fitted.
    @Randi – I did some of those as well. I love how versatile upcycling cloth can be.

  7. Dionna  

    You rock 🙂 We used commercial disposable liners with Kieran, but I promise to give this a try with #2!

  8. Irina Johnson

    Thanks for a great tutorial, Shannon! I really am amazed that you find the time. One these days I may just take up sewing and give these a try!