T-shirt Diapers





Introduction: T-shirt Diapers

About: I have been sewing and crafting for several years, my children are grown so now I have lots of time to be creative. I enjoy photography, cooking, cake decorating, painting and sharing my projects with others.

Raising children is never easy and sometimes it's just downright expensive. Disposable diapers are not cheap. Here's a way you can cut down on costs, Make a dozen or so of these T-shirt diapers and save yourself some money.  Go to the thrift shop and you will be surprised how many T-shirts you can find. Look for T-shirts that have a design on the top half of the front of the shirt, if you use a T-shirt with a design that takes up the whole front of the shirt you will end up with part of it being upside down on the front of the diaper. I  got a few plain T-shirts to use for the 4th layer that is enclosed behind the lining so this doesn't have to match, it's not going to be visible when the diaper is finished. 

Step 1: Supplies

These are the supplies you will need: T-shirts, disposable diaper for pattern, elastic, velcro, shower curtian, sewing machine, scissors, pins and a newspaper. 

Step 2: Making a Pattern for the Diaper

use a disposable diaper for a pattern, have a friend help you stretch the diaper so you can trace around it onto the newspaper.  As you can see, I didn't go into great detail with all the angles and turns. Just a basic simple shape works best. Fold the pattern in half and trim so that it is symmetrical. It would be a good idea to make another pattern out of this because if you make several diapers, this will get worn out quickly.

Step 3: Cutting Out the Pieces

Cut out the front and back of the T-shirt, place the larger end of the newspaper at the top near the neck. Cut one out of the shower curtian. cut another out of the liner. 

Step 4: Sewing Panels Onto Liner

from the leftover fabric from the T-shirt or another T-shirt , cut 4 pieces 4" x 14" layer on top of the liner. sew around the edges.

Step 5: Pinning All 4 Layers Together

On a flat surface lay down in this order: the interior liner with panel (doesn't really matter which side up), plastic, outside of diaper (printed side up) and finally the inside of diaper (back of t-shirt)  Pin all 4 layers together.  

Step 6: Sewing Layers Together

Begin sewing at the back of the diaper about 3" from the center. sew all the way around and stop sewing about 3" from the other side of center. This will leave a 6" gap for turning right side out. 

Step 7: Sewing on the Elastic

Cut 2 pieces of 1/4" wide elastic, find the center of each piece and pin them to the center of the leg openings on the seam allowance. Holding it at the pinned area, stretch the elastic and pin to where it reaches. begin sewing there while stretching the T-shirt. Use a zig-zag stitch. sew as you stretch and hold the diaper tightly. when you reach the pin in the center, remove it and stretch the remaining elastic and sew it down. It helps if you pull gently from the back at the same time as you are stretching from the front to keep the fabric and elastic taut. Repeat on the other side with the other piece of elastic. 

Step 8: Turn the Diaper Right Side Out

Open the diaper at the gap that was left. reaching into between the inside and outside sections turn right side out. this will place the section with the absorbent panel and the plastic in the center of the diaper. 

Step 9: Sewing the Opening Shut

Fold over the edges 1/2" and pin. sew the opening closed using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Step 10: Sewing on the Velcro Closure

Cut 2" sections of velcro. On the outside front of the diaper sew the scratchy hook pieces and on the inside back sew the loop pieces.

Step 11: The Finished Diaper.

fasten the velcro.  These diapers can be washed in hot water with color safe bleach. 



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    This looks like the simplest diaper pattern I've seen. I wonder how long these last... does the plastic degrade in the washer? Also, do you use a certain kind of shower curtain liner?

    Has anyone added snaps and made them one size diapers? Or made them into pocket diapers?

    Has anyone added snaps and made them one size diapers? Or made them into pocket diapers?

    I'm confused a bit, live this idea but what is the pink liner in pic, sorry very photogenic person. loving these and want to make them

    1 reply

    Yes it is another T-shirt. it doesn't matter what color this is because it will be placed in the middle, between the outside and the inside.It is important to have several layers so it's absorbent enough.

    Sorry if this is a stupid question- what's the interior liner made of? Another T-Shirt? I got lost in the steps and the pink fabric seemed to have come up out of no where.

    2 replies

    Oh, nevermind, I re-read your blurb at the start. I think I got it figured out. Very good idea! I'll be doing this for sure!

    I had asked same question was it extra fabric

    Its been a couple years since you posted this instructable. I am wondering how the diapers, mainly the shower curtain, held up? Joann Fabric stores and Hobby Lobby now carry PUL cloth which is what commercial cloth diapers are made of. The catch is it costs about $10 a yard. So I am curious about your shower curtain idea and how it woukd hold up to being washed frequently.

    1 reply

    the shower curtains break down a lot over time or get crunchy like the gerber pants. I love PUL! :) You can get it in plain colors for around $8/yd at diapersewingsupplies.com

    These are wonderful and do not leak- note one layer is shower curtain. Terrific for moms like me whose babies get diaper rash from ultraabsorbent disposables. No you do not need plastic pants- they are sewn in. Yay!

    AHA! I knew that you could use a shower curtain for a homemade cloth diaper! Thanks so much, Katvanlew! You just saved me a bundle!

    I have been known to use an old t-shirt in the car on the way to be donated, as a nappy. They are actually very soft and absorbent but moisture will soak through. They will need to be changed if wet. This is fine sometimes, but covers are available and plastic pants work well.

    This is a really cool Idea. Do they leak at all?

    Wonderful idea and what a great present. Now if they could only be made quickly in a sets of 120. Thanks for instructable and happy Holidays.

    thanks, I have made several of these, I have 4 grandkids and another due in January.

    This is very cool. For those who want to avoid plastic altogether, other options might be recycling felted wool sweaters, or using microfiber cloths, as an additional layer. I find that the offgassing from the cheap shower curtains can be terrible. Kudos - I will be forwarding to my sister for use with my newest niece!

    1 reply

    Yes the plastic is optional, I didn't think about using microfiber cloths, that's a good idea.

    i make my kids those all the time ....i would have added it but i didnt think it was normal