We are a cloth diapering family. There are lots of reasons for this [any of which I could happily discuss with you if you are curious!] … I love not filling landfills with poopy diapers, I love putting cloth on my baby’s bum versus a disposable, and I absolutely L.O.V.E. not having to shell out all that money each month for diapers.
But I’ll be honest, my budget doesn’t allow for me to buy lots of “fancy” cloth diapers – the kind that go on just like a disposable. And if you haven’t guessed by now reading my blog, I am uber-cheap. So when my second son was born (and I had two in dipes!), I made a set of prefold diapers. If you’re not familiar with the term, these would be like the “old school” diapers that our parents or grandparents would have used.
Prefold diapers are perfect for anyone who wants to try cloth diapering, especially if you are on a budget, because they are SO inexpensive to make yourself.
Here’s what you’ll need:
flannel (the amount you need will depend on how many diapers you want to make)
microfiber towels for absorbent insert (you could also use terry cloth)*
*I use microfiber towels that I buy at Sam’s Club. They come in a 24 pack for less than $10, I think. You can also find these in the automotive section of many stores.
1. Prewash your fabric – this is especially important for the microfiber towels. I’ve found that some of these towels will bleed color, so I always wash them several times on hot.
2. Cut your flannel. These are the sizes that I found to work for me, but you can easily adjust the sizes to meet your needs.
- Small (Infant-sized) Prefold: 12.5in. x 21in. — when folded, it should be about 12.5 x 10.5in.
- Medium Prefold: 14.5in. x 27in. — when folded, it should be about 14.5 x 13.5in.
- Large Prefold: 16in. x 29in. — when folded, it should be about 16 x 14.5in. [This is the perfect size for my 19 mo. old, until he grows even a little bit]
*There really isn’t a huge difference between the medium and large sizes, so it may not be that important to you to make both sizes. If you make only the larger size, you can always fold down the front a little. I like having them be a little more trim and not have too much bulk – especially for the newborn size. Plus, my microfiber towels are only 16in. long, so my prefolds can’t be longer than that.
3. Cut the microfiber towels for the absorbent panel.
These inserts should be the length of the folded edge, for example:
- Large size prefold: 16 x 4.5in. — I use three of these in the large size
- Medium size prefold: 14 x 4.5 in. — I use three of these in the medium size
- Small size prefold: 12 x 4in. — I use two of these in the small size
4. Fold the flannel (as shown above), with right sides together. Sew the longer side together. (I used a serger, but you could also zig-zag with a regular machine)
5. You will have created a tube – turn that right side out, with the seam in the center.
6. Zig-zag stitch along either side of the microfiber.
7. Serge or zig-zag the short edges, trimming the microfiber insert if necessary.
8. Now go put your baby in your new prefold!
Note: prefold diapers need a cover. The covers that I used when E was a baby were so good that I didn’t need to use pins or anything.
Here’s the newborn sized prefold compared to a newborn disposable diaper, just to give you an idea of the size. [When you put it on your baby, it can be tighter and more fitted than this picture looks]
*If you are looking for the different ways to fold a prefold diaper, visit this site for a good resource.*
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