Tuesday, August 17, 2010

DDT 8 -- How to Make Prefolds for Free!

There are many items around your home that can be repurposed or recycled to make diapers before you throw them away.  Using a serger or a reinforced zig zag stitch, you can have a sizable collection of prefold diapers using items you may have thought had outlived their use.

Items that make great diapers:

Flannel or cotton knit pajamas
Fleece blankets
Fleece pullovers
Hand towels
Bath towels
Soft woven cotton fabrics like well-worn, lightweight twill
Just about anything soft, absorbent, 80% or more cotton big enough for a diaper

What to do:

For lighter weight fabrics like flannel or t-shirts, I've had the best results using 2-3 layers and sewing a soaker pad in between them made of a doubled layer cut from an old towel or fleece.  Another approach is to use 2 layers with 4-6 soaker layers of t-shirt material or flannel.

For heavier fabrics, like towel weight material or fleece, I've found that 1-2 layers with a 1 layer soaker is sufficient.

Cut the fabric for the size you need (measurements below).  Position outside layers with the wrong sides facing inside.  The soaker should be about 1/3 the width of your diaper, centered and positioned as the middle layer.

Using a straight stitch, sew through all layers of the diaper down both sides of the soaker pad lengthwise.  Go around the outer edge of the diaper with a serger or reinforced zig zag stitch.  Trim loose threads.  You're done!


Preemie (up to 7 lbs)
9.5" x 13"
3" x 13" soaker

Newborn (4-9 lbs)
9.5" x 14"
3" x 14" soaker

Infant (7-15 lbs)
12" x 16"
4" x 16" soaker

Regular (13-35 lbs)
14.5" x 21"
4.5" x 21" soaker

Toddler (25+ lbs)
17" x 23"
5" x 23" soaker

*These are the standard dimensions of the most common prefold sizes.  The weights are very flexible.  My 20 pound 6 month old can still use preemie size prefolds, but they are low-rise and not absorbent enough for sleeping or napping unless they are doubled in a heavy duty cover.  When my son was in the suggested weight range for infant prefolds, I had to fold down the front up to 6 inches to make it fit inside the cover, which added a lot of bulk to the front.  I still have need 3-4 inches of front fold when I use infant size.  Even the preemie size had to be folded down 1-2 inches until he was about 4-5 months old.  I recommend using the preemie or newborn dimensions for most babies under 15 pounds for a slimmer fit and a lower rise.  In fact, I would suggest shortening the diaper to 12" for babies under 10 pounds if you are trying to achieve a more custom fit.