Monday, July 11, 2011

Diaper Cover Tutorial

Diaper Covers!

How cute are they?!
Plus, there is nothing cuter than a chubby baby with ruffles on her butt.
The following is a tutorial for how to make diaper covers.  You can leave the ruffle off, but I have included instructions on how to do that.  

Diaper Cover
Materials:  1/3 yard of main fabric, 1/3 yard of ruffle fabric, 1.5 yard of 1/4 inch elastic, thread to match
  • First, you need a pattern.  I sketched one out and can't get my scanner to get it into the computer.  Technology!  Grrr.  Here is was I did (You might want to click to make it bigger):

  • This is fitted for a 3-6 month old.  To go up or down a size, extend the side seams and waist height by about 1/2 inch for each age increment (down 1/2 inch for 0-3, up 1/2 in for 6-12 month, and up 1 inch for 12-24 months) Cut out.
  •  Each pattern needs to be placed and cut on the fold.  SO the side of the pattern that says "fold" is placed on the fold and cut out so that it has a mirror side.  Zero sense.  Pictures will fix that:
Fabric is folded in half on the bottom.
After cut out, fabric opens up like this!
  •  Lay "front" piece on top of "bottom" piece.  Just like our pants, babies need extra butt room, so the seam will not be in the center of the crotch, but higher in the front.  Line up the top and side edges, not the crotch.  Your fabric should be right sides together.  Mine is reversible, so there is no front and back.  For demo sake, the picture has a green back and pink front so you could see it.  Sew the side seams either with a serger or sewing machine, making sure to finish seams either way (zig zag or serge).
  •  Now sew the bottom crotch seam.  Remember, it will be higher in the front.  I serged all edges to make my life easier, but it is not necessary.
  •  With your cover inside out, turn the top edge, or waist, of the cover down 1/4 inch and then 1/2 inch.  Iron down. 
  •  Sew around the bottom edge of your folds so that we can make a casing for the waist elastic.  Leave a 1/2 inch opening in the back of your cover so we can thread the elastic through.
Sew around the bottom, not the top, like in the picture!  You want a casing or "hallway" for our elastic.
  •  Do the same around the leg holes.  Because it is curved, it not going to be pretty.  That's okay.  As long as you can stay away from puckering your fabric, it won't matter because there will be elastic in the legs anyway!  You won't be able to tell it is (or is not) flat.  Or, you can use the facing technique from my last post (which I would prefer) and when you are sewing the facing down in the last step, leave your elastic opening.
  •  Cut your elastic to size.  I used 1/4 inch white elastic and used the following measurements (or adapt if your baby is smaller/bigger):
    • 0-3 months:  Legs:  10 inches each, Waist:  16 inches
    • 3-6 months:  Legs:  11 inches each, Waist:  17 inches
    • 6-12 months:  Legs:  12 inches each, Waist:  18 inches
    • 12-24 months:  Legs:  13 inches each, Waist:  20 inches
  • Put a safety pin at the end of your elastic (or be cheap like me and tie the end to a bobby pin and do your best) and thread through one side of your waist around to the other side so that the elastic goes in one end and out the other.  Once out, overlap the two ends and zig zag together.
  •  Stretch the waist and the elastic will go into the casing.  Go back to your machine the stitch the hole you left open closed.  Repeat on the legs until you have:
  •  You can stop here for plain covers or for boy covers.  OR  you can add ruffles... which of course I would!
  • Measure the width of the back of the cover-I will tell you- it is about 13 inches!  Double that (26) and cut 2 strips that are 26 by 3-4 inches wide (they can be even bigger- I am making another pair that has ruffles about 5.5 inches wide!  They end up more narrow than you think by the time you hem them and ruffle them up.  A picture of thicker ruffles is at the end of the post!).  Cut another strip about 15 inches long and the same width.
  •  Finish the edges of the strips with a roll hem (basically the same way you hemmed the top of the cover, just make it reallllly skinny and don't leave an opening), first finishing the long edges and then the short ends.  You will end up with:
  • Change your machine stitch length to 5 (gather/running stitch) and sew a double line along both long edges of the strips.  Do not, Do not, Do not back stitch and leave long tails of thread when you start and stop!  
  • Pull both top threads from one end (not the bobbin threads) and scrunch the fabric down into a ruffle that is about the same width of the butt of your cover.  Pin both edges to the side seams of the back of your cover. (Remember- the crotch is higher in the front so it will make a difference if you accidentally put them in the front!)  Even out gathers so that the strip is the exact same width as the back of the cover.  Change your stitch length back to 2 (normal- which is 12 stitches per inch) and stitch the ruffle down the middle to the cover, in between the 2 gathering stitches you made.
  •  Pull out the gathering threads you sewed before (they will come out easy.  Don't use a seam ripper!)  Trim threads and repeat with other ruffles, obviously saving the shortest for last since you will be putting it in a place on the bottom where the fabric is less wide.
So cute!
or.. you can do thicker ruffles, as mentioned above:

I decided to make a diaper cover to go with a baby dress in the making.  I attempted one the other day, but needed some time to test out my pattern and adapt it.  Here is, finally, successful #3!
Don't you just love that ruffle fabric?  It's a Swiss Dot with small flowers on it that was originally $12.99 and I got it for $3.99/yard.  I bought enough for this, the baby dress, and a dress for me.
Mmmm, swiss dot.  Love!



  1. Love the tutorial! I tried to make a diaper cover was a total fail. You need to get a ruffler for your machine. Makes ruffles in a snap! Love mine.

  2. Ah! Where did you get it? I am obsessed with them. Hope you are doing well! Do a bias facing on the leg holes and you will be fine!

  3. Hello
    Just wanted to let you know that you have been mentioned on my blog. If you wish for any content to be removed please let me know.

  4. What do you mean "do a bias facing on the leg holes"? My first attempt at a diaper cover was not wonderful. I read about your facing technique, but how would you make the tornado with just fabric? Help!


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