Seeing my little boy in a cute little fluff/cloth butt that I personally made puts a big smile on my face. Cloth diapering is so much easier now with the availability of PUL (waterproof fabric)! When I first heard of cloth diapers I pictured my Mom wrapping my younger siblings in white cotton swaddles and using a pin to keep them on. I didn't want any part of that! But with today's modern day cloth diapers, not only are they adorable but they have a layer of waterproof fabric to keep them trim, prevent leaks, and keep baby dry. They have snaps for an easy adjustment or simple velcro tabs that are husband friendly, and can fit your little one from 10-35 lbs!
This instructable will teach how to prevent leaks when embroidering your PUL, and describing the best way to embroider it with your embroidery machine. I will also include places where you can purchase PUL, snaps, and absorbent materials, and where to find free cloth diaper patterns. I will describe my steps I take to make these adorable embroidered diapers!
Supplies You Need
Embrillance Stitch Artist
Sew What Pro
PUL- Measuring 20 x 20" and an extra PUL cut measuring 5.5 x 14"
Stay Dry Fabric- I use athletic wicking jersey
14" of 3/8" polyester braided elastic
Polyester Thread- won't have moisture wicking with polyester
KAM snap pliers
Cut Away embroidery stabilizer
Absorbant material- I like 1 cut of 4x11" of zorb and 2 cuts of 4x11" hemp/cotton blends
Ball Point Needles for sewing and embroidery
Bobby pins to pin the layers together and won't poke holes in PUL
Elastic threading tool- bobkin, safety pin, or something similar
Printer, paper, and tape to print off and make your diaper pattern
Scissors and other essential sewing supplies
Step 1: Create Your Personal Design
It makes it special if you get to create your own embroidery design to go on your little ones cloth. I like to use the Embrillance Stitch Artist program to create my designs. It's not an easy program to work with if you are a beginner but there are tutorials available through Embrillance, and YouTube to learn more about it. You can take a jpg file and upload it to your program and use the tools to trace and thread fill the picture you want. It sounds simple but there is a lot of work in creating an embroidery file.
Then I like to take the designs I create in Embrillance Stitch Artist and add cute quotes using another embroidery program called Sew What Pro. Sew What Pro is much easier and user friendly in my opinion. But when it comes to adding fonts it is time consuming because you have to add each letter individualy instead of being able to just type it.
I picked out a picture of a Mom creating things, and decided to change what she was doing to make it even more personal. So instead of tracing the bowl I used the rectangle tools in the program to make a sewing machine. I'm a Mom that loves sewing, and I have 3 boys so that's why I chose this quote to go along with it.
Step 2: Buy Your Supplies and Pick a Pattern
The next thing to do is to buy your supplies
You can find your diaper sewing supplies at these places.
2. Joann Fabric store or joanne.com (In the craft supplies section)
You can find great tutorials and free patterns at
There are a lot of options and types of cloth diapers to choose from. I chose the OS Squaretab but I adjusted it while sewing it to make it into my own design. I will show you in this instructable the steps I take to make an All In One (absorbent material sewn inside) and it also has a pocket to insert extra absorbent inserts if you choose to.
Step 3: Prepping the PUL
Print off the OS Square Tab pattern from the blog previously given. Tape all the pieces together to form your diaper pattern. Cut out along the edges of the paper to form the diaper pattern shape. Lay your paper pattern on top of your PUL fabric. Trace around it if you need to. As you can see I cut mine to have an extra top piece (rectangle shape on top) so that I can fold that over later to make an elastic casing because this will be a pocket diaper. Cut your PUL the shape of the pattern.
Then cut an extra rectangle piece "5.5 X 14" long, I use white PUL because it's usually less expensive and it will be on the inside where you can't see it anyways.
Cut a piece of cut away stabilizer a little larger than your 4x4" embroidery frame.
Place your stabilizer down, your extra PUL on top of the stabilizer (with tops of both lining up) and place the extra rectangle with the laminated side facing the laminated side of the other. Then place your diaper cut PUL on top of those two layers but place it about 1" higher up than the others (this leaves room for the back elastic later)
Step 4: Embroider
Click your frame in place on your machine and begin to embroider with your polyester thread. Switching colors and following your embroidery pattern as you go. When finished cut all your jump stitches and clean up remaining threads.
Step 5: Snap It!
This is a very time consuming process. Your pattern will come with markings where your snaps go. I take the sharp tool ( that comes with your KAM snap pliers) and poke holes in the centers of those markings. Then I get an extra piece of cardboard and lay my diaper cut on top of it, and the paper diaper pattern on top of the PUL and poke the holes again, this time going through the PUL. When you poke holes through your PUL make sure you don't poke holes through your extra rectangle piece of PUL underneath. Skip doing the front tab snaps until the diaper is sewn together. Just mark where they will be with a pen.
Decide what color of snaps you plan to use. I like to do half of my top row of snaps female snaps and the other side the male snaps (this saves money when buying your KAM snaps). So like pictured above I did one side and then 2 rows as female snaps. Just remember to put the opposite male/female snap on the very top of the rows and the opposite male/female snap on the front tabs so they can be snapped together. Follow the directions that come with your pliers on how to correctly use your pliers to create the snap. You won't put your snap tabs on until the very end.
You will also notice that I cut extra white squares of PUL for the underside of the snaps. I do this so that it gives it a little more stability and your snaps won't pull through your fabric while you snap and unsnap your diapers over time
Step 6: Seal Up the Embroidery
Cut away any extra stabilizer from around the embroidery design. All you do is fold your extra rectangle PUL piece over itself and sew around the edge with your polyester thread. I like to use an overcast stitch to do this or you can use a zigzag stitch and adjust the stitch length lower to get a nice tight stitch.
Step 7: Sew Your Insert
Cut your absorbent layers to 4x11" long. I like to do 1 layer of zorb sandwiched between 2 layers of hemp/cotton blend fleece (I purchase mine from Wazoodle). I've found that you do too many layers that it takes a really long time to dry them. So I like to make my diapers with this sewn inside, and a separate additional 3 layer insert to stuff inside the pocket if my child needs the additional absorption.
Sew all your absorbent layers together, and then place it on the layer of stay dry fabric ( that is cut to your pattern shape). I use athletic wicking jersey as my stay dry fabric because its a trim comfortable option for your little one. I use a zigzag stitch and stitch the top of it (where your pocket will be) so that it doesn't fray later after washing. After that you will then sew your absorbent insert to the wrong side of your stay dry fabric.
So since we are making a pocket diaper I like to add my back elastic right now. Mark your elastic pieces so you know where you will tack them down. You will have one piece for back elastic 4" long for the back elastics and 2 pieces 5" long for the leg elastics. Place your elastic with the back elastic lined up with where your back elastic will start. Fold over your extra PUL and tack the elastic in place. Then while making sure not to sew your elastics sides (keep it pushed to the side) you will sew a straight line across. Then keeping your needle in the down position rotate it 90 degrees and pull your elastic until you see your mark. Then sew and tack your elastic down at your 4" mark. Then cut the extra elastic off.
Then take bobby pins and pin your PUL and your stay dry layer together, right sides facing in. I like to use bobby pins so you are not poking any unnecessary holes in your PUL. Sew around the entire diaper, starting at the edge of your elastic and working your way around. Go really slow because these fabrics can be difficult to sew. Some people use a walking foot during this, and have said that it can really help. I haven't tried it yet though.
Step 8: Top Stitching and Leg Elastics
Now turn your diaper right side out through the pocket opening. After doing turning it out you will do your top stitching. Start at the edge of your elastic and work your way around. When I reach the point where I plan to start my leg elastics I back stitch and end it, then jump over about a half inch and starting sewing again. Creating a leg elastic casing, then back stitch where you plan to end the elastic and jump back over to your top stitching edge. Repeat this on the other side as well.
Once you get your top stitching all done you will use something to thread your leg elastics through. You can use a bobkin, a safety pin, or find something similar to my little tool pictured. You just need something to hook onto the elastic and thread it through. In the picture I pushed my tool through and then hooked my elastic to the tool and pulled it through.
You will tack down your elastic on the end you pulled it too, and then find your mark you made on your elastic and tack down the other end at the mark. Cut off the extra and repeat the other side the same way.
Step 9: Front Tab Snaps
Using your sharp tool that comes with your KAM pliers you will poke holes straight through both layers at the points you marked from your pattern. You will add your front tab snaps and make sure you put the opposite male/female snap required to be able to snap on to the row snaps.
Step 10: Your Finished Product
If you are like me, and you start getting friend requests and possibly even people asking to buy them. Then there are safety laws that are important to follow for small batch manufacturing. You can learn more at cpsc.gov and there is a great Facebook group called CD Compliance
This group teaches you how to navigate the laws and learn how to register, tag, and track your products. Don't forget to get your create juices flowing for creating your embroidery designs, do copyright/trademark research, and most importantly, HAVE FUN!!!!
When its all finished you will have a beautiful All In One diaper with a pocket opening to add even more absorbent inserts if needed. It will fit your child approximately 10-35 lbs. It has 3 different rise snap settings to provide your little one with the perfect fit. Hope you enjoy cloth diapering as much as I do!