Cloth Diaper Inserts – Tutorial

Before our baby was born, we decided that we wanted to use cloth diapers.  I knew that if it wasn’t easy and inexpensive, then I would probably end up giving up on them quickly.  I also knew I had to have a stash ready to go when the baby came so that I’d have no excuses.  The only problem with that is the one size pocket diapers we had chosen didn’t work as well for newborns because they’re a little big (I guess that’s what happens when one diaper is sized from 7-35+ pounds).  It seems as though most people choose to use disposables for the first month or two.  I decided to try the newborn gDiapers which are sized from about 6-10 lbs.  gDiapers tend to be a little on the pricey side so I found a set of 12 on ebay that were washed but never worn.  The thing I do like about gDiapers is the option to use cloth inserts or disposable/flushable inserts.  The versatility is great, but you’ll end up paying for it!  I decided to try making my own reusable cloth inserts since the ones you buy can be up to $5 each.

Materials:

1 yard of bamboo fleece
1 yard of hemp fleece
1/2 yard of cotton (remnants work great!)
Sewing machine
Serger (optional)
Rotary cutter and cutting board (highly recommended, although scissors work great too!)
(note: both the bamboo and hemp fleece are available from Diaper Sewing Supplies)

Instructions:

Cut out all of your fabric into 4″ x 9″ rectangles.  This is where a rotary cutter comes in very handy.  If you’re using scissors, making a paper template might be helpful.

Pin 5 layers of cut fabric together as follows: Cotton (right side down), hemp, bamboo, hemp, bamboo (soft side up).  Pin together.  It should look like this with soft bamboo fleece on one side and pretty cotton on the other.

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Sew around the edge of your fabric.  It is thick so you’ll need to go slowly.  I used a zig zag stitch so it would be extra secure.  Make sure the beginning and end of your stitches are secure by back stitching about 1/2″.  I also found that doing two rows of zig zag stitches next to each other worked really well, I just forgot to take a photo of that.

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If you have a serger, this is where you can make the edges neat and tidy by serging around the entire edge.  I don’t have one so I rounded the corners and hoped for the best.  This is the finished diaper liner.

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After many times through the washing machine, these have held up great!  I found that the cotton fabric frayed a little bit up to the stitches and the fleece curled slightly, but nothing came apart and all the stitches are very secure.  The fabric I purchased made 22 liners which was more than enough for our newborn and allowed us to wash diapers every other day.

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It also doesn’t hurt that these diapers are super cute!

Total Cost: $27
1 yard of hemp fleece: $12.95
1 yard of bamboo fleece $14.05
Cotton remnants: $0 (I already had these leftover from making burp cloths)
Makes 22 reusable inserts

I was curious how this compared with disposables.  If you use 12 diapers a day with a newborn, that’s about 360 diapers in one month.  It’s about $50 to buy a case of newborn diapers from diapers.com with 234 diapers.  I guess this was a pretty good deal after all, but you do need to factor in the effort it takes to make and wash cloth diapers and the water usage.  Disposable diapers are a great choice for many, but this was the best choice for us.

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10 thoughts on “Cloth Diaper Inserts – Tutorial

  1. I think your inserts look great! I’m expecting our first little one in the beginning of August, and I too have made my own inserts. I only had a rough idea of how to do it, and I made mine out of 4 layers of used cotton bed sheets. I didn’t use hemp or bamboo, so I’m not entirely sure how well they will work. I also find that one size diapers would be too big on a newborn so I made my own flip style covers for newborns.
    I think reusables is going to be a fantastic choice for us!

    • I did not shrink the fleece before I cut them out. I didn’t notice any shrinking at all of the fleece, just the cotton after they were dried over and over in the dryer. It couldn’t hurt, but not necessary. Good luck!

  2. I’m really interested in doing this. What kind of needle, thread, and sewing foot did you use? How did you lay the fabrics against each other? Meaning, was the soft side of the hemp toward the baby or away, as an example. Thanks so much!

  3. I also made my own inserts. I’ve played around with different materials, shapes, and sizes. I absolutely love my inserts, they’re very absorbent, and totally adorable!

  4. Curious as to why you used the cotton? was it just for looks? Im getting ready to make the inserts for the diapers and pouches I made. I bought hemp and bamboo.

    • Yes, the cotton was just for looks. The cotton I used was leftover from other projects, I loved the colours and it also made for a cleaner finish on one side. It probably doesn’t matter which side is up, but it made it easier for babysitters or grandparents to know which way to stuff the inserts too! Good luck with making yours!

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