Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Sewing Materials and Supplies Guide

** I strongly suggest that everyone (no matter your sewing skill level) starts first with a very basic practice diaper using just 2 layers of flannel and not worrying about closures like hook & loop or snaps.

For THAT, you'll just need:
  • Some cotton flannel.  You can even use old flannel sheets or an old flannel shirt.
  • Really any kind of thread.
  • Any kind of machine needle.
  • Some 3/8" or 1/4" braided elastic.
  • Pins or clips
  • A safety pin or bodkin
  • A pair of scissors

For a fitted diaper that uses knit fabrics:
  • Your absorbent fabric choices.
  • Poly or Cotton thread.
  • A ballpoint machine needle.
  • Some 3/8" braided elastic.
  • A safety pin or bodkin.
  • Pins or clips
  • A pair of scissors

For a waterproof pocket diaper:
  • PUL or TPU fabric for your outer fabric.
  • Microfleece/Microchamois, Suedecloth, or Wicking Pique/Jersey for the inner fabric.
  • 100% polyester thread.
  • A 8-11 gauge ballpoint or Microtex sharp machine needle.
  • Some 3/8" or 1/4" polyester braided elastic.
  • A safety pin or bodkin.
  • Hook and Loop OR snaps for closures (and snap pliers and awl if using snaps).
  • Clips for holding your fabrics together.
  • A pair of scissors.

[You CAN make a fleece outer pocket as long as you use a high quality thicker fleece that has tested very water-repellant.]

Now...  For absorbent fabrics to incorporate into things like pocket inserts, AIOs, AI2 soakers, and fitted diapers, there are LOTS of choices.

Old fabrics like:
  • T-shirts, other cotton clothes, or jersey sheets.
  • Other recycled materials like cotton terrycloth towels or microfiber terry shop towels (stripped).
  • Prefolds, flats, or flour sack towels.

New fabrics like:
  • Microfiber terry
  • Cotton/Bamboo/Hemp terry, baby terry, french terry, or microterry.
  • Cotton/Bamboo/Hemp fleeces (as long as there is no more than 20% synthetic content.)
  • Cotton/Bamboo/Hemp interlock or knits.
  • Natural fiber rayons.
  • Wovens like flannel, birdseye, or even muslin.
  • New generation diaper fabrics like Zorb or Zorb2.

For covers, you'll use 100% polyester thread and:
  • Certain high quality polyester fleece fabrics.
  • Wool knits or felted thinner knits.
  • Wool interlock.
  • PUL or TPU (with a 8-10 gauge ballpoint or Microtex sharp machine needle.)
...  Or you can also knit or crochet your own with wool yarns as well.  Superwash is NOT recommended and don't use any blends that contain any plant fibers or more than 20% synthetics.


  1. Hello! I love your site, templates, and tutorials. I have a few questions:

    1. Have you used the Zorb or Zorb2 material? If so, what do you think of it?
    2. Have you found a physical place (not online) to buy hemp or bamboo fleece?

    - Alaina

  2. I got the PUL outer fabric, but what is best for the inner layer (not the soaker) Can I use wicking microfiber? I have quite a few technical tees from running races... Also, still on the recycling track: I have a LOT of cotton tees, some are going to be onesies, can these be the inner layer, or save the cotton for the soaker pad?

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. I'm just wondering what kind of snaps you use?

  5. Hi, I was just wondering how much of these materials you need to buy? Like a basic guide?

    1. That all depends on what type of diaper you will be wanting to make.

  6. Hi,
    I was wondering what type of hook and loop you would recommend? I've had luck with your OS 3x3 round wing pattern... but the snaps are killing me. My friend is having a little one and the day care will do cloth only with hook and loop (so I'd like to try making some for her). The options are endless! Thanks!

    1. I am not sure what most retailers currently carry. My favorite was some that I got from a co-op purchase several years ago. But, you can also use the Babyville brand or purchase from places like diapersewingsupplies.

  7. So I've been having luck with flour sack towels and old t-shirts... So I moved on to the real thing! Problem... I picked cotton interlock as my lining layer (as my daughter has bad allergies), and I'm failing! The fabric is horrible for a beginner! It moves and stretches and doesn't fit right and when I snap up the rise it all hangs out. Any suggestions on linings for a sensitive butt and a beginner sewer?

    1. That all depends what type of diaper you are trying to make. For a stay-dry pocket diaper, I'd recommend wicking pique. But, that will stretch the same way, and you'll need to sew it using a walking foot and be very slow and careful. For a fitted diaper, I'd suggest cotton or bamboo velour as the inner fabric. However, cotton or bamboo fleece would still be just fine. Interlock is great for the outer fabric on fitteds, but it isn't great as the inner unless you're doing the whole diaper with thinner fabrics like a T-shirt fitted.
      You could even just use birdseye cotton diaper fabric if you want an easy non-stretchy cotton woven. Make sure to pre-shrink it before sewing though.

    2. Wondering about making a tuckable cover diaper. Would you place the PUL with the shiny side facing the inside of the diaper for the main body and towards the diaper insert for the front and back flaps? I do not think I would like the sticky side of the PUL against baby skin.