So, where to start? Decide what kind of diapers you want. Personally, I like a combination of fitted diapers made out of old cotton t-shirts, and All-In-2′s (AI2′s). As to covers, I find PUL covers bulky over fitted diapers. I pair fitted diapers with fleece pants or a romper, or better yet, woolen pants. All the above options allow the covers to double up as clothing.
For AI2′s, I use a PUL outer and suedecloth inner. The suedecloth inner allows me to reuse it if the soaker isn’t soaking wet, and helps stop the insert from shifting around.
I use the same inserts for the fitted diapers, as for the AI2′s, thus being able to interchange them. It also allows me to use newborn inserts initially, and larger ones as the baby grows. For more on newborn diapering, read this. I prefer a combination of microfiber and bamboo for ultra absorption, and use a snap in system to keep the parts together in the wash, cutting down on laundry time.
For closures I would recommend snaps over hook and loop/velcro. The velcro style wears out after about a year. They also catch onto other diapers on the wash, trap lint and are easy for active babies and toddlers to remove and wiggle out of.
Once you have decided on the kind of diaper you want to make, you will need to pick a pattern. There are many patterns out there you can buy. Personally, my favorites are two free ones: Rita’s rump, and the Tighty Whitey Hipsters. You can create almost any style from a pattern with a bit of creativity. You can even create your own pattern by tracing around a bought diaper! For fleece pants or shorts, katrina’s soaker work great! The pattern works for wool too.
Where to get supplies from:
Snaps you can get from either the snap store, or Serena in China. If you buy from Serena, all procedes go to support the orphanage she works with. Shipping is also free with a minimum order. You will need snaps and pliers. Her customer service is great too! The only drawback though, is if you are ordering for an APO address, it will take a good few weeks to arrive.
PUL, the waterproof outer, I would recommend either kidsinthegarden, or fabric.com. Fabric.com has free shipping for over $35, and service is fast and great. You can also hunt for coupons online for them. Kidsinthegarden does offer remnants though, but shipping is never free. You should be able to get 6-8 diapers out of one yard, depending on the size or pattern.
Fleece you can get at a local fabric store, recycle fleece sweaters or pants you find at home, or order from fabric.com. When buying, just make sure you buy the anti-pill if you want it to still look cute after numerous washes. For top quality, virtually waterproof fleece, you will need to buy Malden Mill’s windpro, or 300 count fleece. This is the only fleece that will work for overnight.
Wool is my favorite! You will need as close to 100% wool as possible, and will need to lanolize it. If you knit, just knit your own pants. If you don’t, you can buy some cheaply on diaperswappers or ebay. Woolen covers from a diaper store are very expensive. If you want to sew your own, you can get diaper quality wool interlock from here. It is expensive, but you should get enough for a few pants or soakers from one yard. Cheapest option though – an old woolen sweater from the thrift store. Just preshrink / felt and lanolize it.
For the absorbent inserts. I have heard zorb is great, just expensive. For my favorite combo, I buy bamboo remnants from kidsinthegarden. I buy 20 microfiber towels for $10 at Sam’s club. They call them automotive towels. I cut a rectangle of about 14×13 from both the bamboo and microfiber. I sew them together, divide into three, sew down the divides and apply snaps.
For instructions on how to sew up diapers, the la di da diaper pattern has great directions! This can be purchased, for download from kidsinthegarden as well. There are also plenty free instructions online. Here is my favorite website for instructions. In the near future I’ll be posting my favorite diaper style and how to make it.
Hopefully this has pointed you in the right direction. If not, leave a comment, and I’ll try address it!