My Green Nappy Discovering Modern Cloth Nappies and Eco-Friendly Disposable Nappies

March 22, 2010

Make your own reusable nappies: 3 Important tips for making your best ever DIY cloth nappies.

Want to have a go at making your own cloth nappies? Do it! Here are 3 tips to get you started.

Do It Yourself cloth nappy sewingThis article is about tips for making your own cloth nappies. Even if you are a moderate, self-taught sewer you can sew your own nappies! It can be a fun activity, choosing fabrics, finding materials for the soaker, choosing the right fastenings. Preparing the fabric, drawing out and cutting the material, sewing, overlocking, trimming and the best part – road testing on your baby – over and over again – saving on the cost of a disposable nappy every time your baby wears it!

Let’s look at 3 important keys to help you make your own washable nappies to save money and enjoy a fun DIY project:

1. Find a cloth nappy pattern to follow.

Cloth nappy patterns can be free or low cost. You’ll find patterns for all sorts of nappy styles. Some patterns are available with photographic tutorials and step by step instructions. Favour these! Those that come with a purchase cost you know will have been tested and found to be a better quality design. Some free patterns you can find documented in photos on blogs by sewing enthusiasts. Check out some of the reviews of patterns to see which suit your level of sewing skills.

The Nappy Spot has a list of nappy making  tutorials and free patterns to explore – see Amber’s list on the left sidebar of The Nappy Spot.

2. Select your nappy making fabrics and notions.

You can make your baby’s nappies using recycled and repurposed fabrics from around the home – this is a wonderful use of resources, and very satisfying, as well as economical and more environmentally friendly. Of course, for the maximum absorbency and most professional finish, getting your fabric supplies from specialist nappy fabric shops offers the best quality. Often, they are specially sourced from organic and eco-conscious suppliers. Some offer nappy making kits, a great way for a DIY’er to start, with everything you need for one or three nappies pre-selected for you.

3. Connect with other DIY nappy making enthusiasts.

Find other mums making cloth nappies to talk DIY tips. Parenting forums and dedicated cloth nappy forums will have a section for mums making their own nappies where you can chat to other mums about the best designs, places having specials on fabrics, patterns and notions, troubleshoot technical problems, show your proud creations and help other mums in turn.

Camo Frog Nappy Making Kit from Nappies Covered

Get Started!

With these three ideas you’ll find yourself with all the tools, motivation and encouragement to make some hand made, unique cloth nappies for your baby with ease. To the left you can see a nappy making kit available for you to buy at Nappies Covered, ove of our sponsors – everything you need to start sewing a nappy as soon as it arrives in the mail! You’ll know you are giving your baby a more sustainable future by using washable, reusable modern cloth nappies. Every baby should have at least one ‘green’ nappy in their wardrobe – and you can find it by exploring the resources here at My Green

7 Modern Cloth DIY Projects for you to do…

When you join as a member of My Green Nappy (which is complimentary) you’ll receive My Green Nappy Guide in 7 main parts, with ongoing support. One part of this unique guide is a different modern cloth do-it-yourself project each week – so you can start with the easiest project that will save you money and help you be more environmentally friendly, getting more challenging until covering how to make your own cloth nappy, with links to even more resources. See the sign-up form up there on the right? Just add your first anme and email, and away you go! Find out more about My Green Nappy Guide below.

5 relevant resources for sewing your own cloth nappies here at My Green Nappy:

My Nappy Style Window for DIY Nappy Making Supplies – a range of retailers offering fabrics by the metre, in ‘nappy cuts’, in kits, as well as patterns, tips and tutorials.

My Green Nappy Guide – Part #6 has a DIY project about making your own cloth nappies.

Mums Making Modern Cloth Nappies – a gallery of home-made, mum-made nappies: you can proudly display your nappy there too!

Dedicated Cloth Nappy Forums – who will have a category for DIY modern cloth nappy making.

Other Parenting Forums – many of which may have a category for sewing enthusiasts.

Creator of My Green Nappy

A question for you about DIY nappies:

Tell us about your nappy making projects: how did you go, what pattern did you use, which would you recommend; what did you use for fabrics?


  1. Hi,
    I think I’ve used just about every cloth nappy pattern available for free on the web. My preference tends to be the OSFA Wee Weka pattern or the Celtic Cloth pattern. I like fitted nappies with covers, although I have made both of these nappies as AIO’s with PUL on the outer. I tried once with wind proof polar fleece… compression leakage = never again.

    I use recycled fabrics – t-shirts for the body of the pattern and old towels for the internal soaker actually. I find with two or three layers of cotton t-shirt knit and three layers of towel soaker (as long as the towel isn’t thread bare) – the nappies last as long in absorbency terms as the bamboo snap in OSFA’s I bought from a well known maker. (They are also a better fit for my little boy – no surprise as I’ve customised the patterns for him over time!)

    I buy my elastic and snaps online because the non-swimwear elastic and standard hook and loop at sewing shops doesn’t hold up for long. (I have a press machine but I used to use hook and loop) All up each nappy usually costs under $5 – and the local charity shops love me!

    Now there are three other babies (friend’s bubs and nephews) getting around in my ‘Re-Bots’ – and I keep getting asked to sew more for everyone! It’s a great start to getting more green nappies out there!

    Comment by Holly Puckering — March 22, 2010 @ 10:15 am

  2. Being that I’m in NZ, we are a little more limited with where to buy fabrics – not that that have ever stopped me!

    I first made a Button Boo pattern, with a great friend guiding me each step of the way, since i hadn’t sewn since I was about 13 (now 30!)!!.

    Then, another friend introduced me to a lovely lady, and her FANTASTIC pattern, which is now the one I always use – called a Chunky Monkey.

    I have also made my own versions similar to this pattern in a small and NB – as the CM only came in Med and Large.

    I have used it for both front and back opening, with suede and fleece inners, with minky, pul velour, panne velvet, plain pul and patterned.

    I use braided elastic in the back and lastin in the legs, and do snaps on mine, as DD has managed to get velcro undone too many times!!

    I now sew and make these for people as presents, and love coming up with new, original pairings – like candy snapping and halfie nappys!

    Comment by Angela L — March 25, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  3. Like others, I have tried the free patterns out there then adapted them. There are some big US nappy making and recycling web sites as well as the great resources in Australia and NZ. If you do a google search you should find the one with instructions on sewing a fitted nappy by converting an old prefold.

    I have also used new fabrics – PUL minkee & prints & plain, bamboo, hemp. No fleece yet. Have experimented by making a cover with FOE and an old denim skirt lined with PUL for a trendy look (with white broderie anglaise frills :-)) Now that I have a hand snap press I use a lot of snaps rather than velcro. For elastic, I use braided/swimwear elastic – tried the lastin but wasn’t real happy with its success.

    I have also made training pants using old stretch fabrics from my stash and ex-flanellette cot sheets. I cut up a cheap microfibre towel from the junk shop for absorbency and have also used car cleaning cloths for boosters in pocket nappies.
    It’s just fascinating what can be used and now there are two more babies coming along in my family I’ve been asked to make up a couple of cloth nappy stashes for them – more converts!

    One of my next projects is learning to knit so I can try a wool soaker…

    Comment by Liz — March 26, 2010 @ 9:53 am

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