Sewing prefolds — The Bump
Cloth Diapering

Sewing prefolds

Hi there. I'm pregnant with my first bub at the moment and I'm keen to use cloth diapers full time. My plan is to use prefolds and covers during the newborn stage, then using OS pockets once bub is big enough for them. The problem with this plan is that I live in Australia. It seems that many distributors either don't deliver here (like GMD), or charge so much for delivery that the overall cost is effectively doubled, or are local distributors that charge 2-3 times what I'd be willing to pay.

Because it's been so tricky for me to get my hands on prefolds, I decided it would be easy enough for me to sew them myself. I'm worried that since I've got no experience using cloth diapers that I may be putting all of this time and energy into sewing my prefolds, and may find once I start using them that there is some flaw I have overlooked. I'd hate to be left with 3 dozen prefolds that are unusable for some reason and a baby with no diapers! I was hoping that some experienced mamas would be able to give me an idea if I'm on the right track before I get to this point.

I'm using cotton flannel and prewashing it so that the material has shrunk first so I get the right size. I'm making them 4x8x4. The seams are a bit thicker, because I'm sewing the edges, then turning them inside out to make them a bit neater (I don't have an over locker). The size is about 12 inches square. Since the weave of the flannel is quite tight, I'm thinking I'll have to use pins, since snappis might not grip enough.

If anyone has any feedback, it would be greatly appreciated. I hope that I've given enough information about them for you to be able to get an idea of whether I'm on the right track or not. Thanks in advance!

BabyFruit Ticker

Re: Sewing prefolds

  • I sew my own and honestly, I don't think flannel will be absorbent enough. Try using thicker cloth, like cotton terry, bamboo terry so soft! or hemp terry. All of those will shrink significantly also, so pre wash and dry prior to sewing. Good luck!



  • Thanks for your reply Kattyleigh. First off I made a couple using cotton terry, but I found it so difficult to stitch through all of those thick layers. I ended up snapping a few needles before starting on the flannel ones.

    After reading your reply I did a little experiment to compare the absorbancy of a terry one vs flannel, and they seemed pretty similar. It's hard to say how they would fair in real life without trying them one a baby. Do you think that 1 or 2 layers of terry in the center along with 6-7 layers of flannel would give it a bit more absorbancy without adding too much bulk.

     Does anyone else have an opinion about types of material to use?

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • image myco bonnie:

    Thanks for your reply Kattyleigh. First off I made a couple using cotton terry, but I found it so difficult to stitch through all of those thick layers. I ended up snapping a few needles before starting on the flannel ones.

    After reading your reply I did a little experiment to compare the absorbancy of a terry one vs flannel, and they seemed pretty similar. It's hard to say how they would fair in real life without trying them one a baby. Do you think that 1 or 2 layers of terry in the center along with 6-7 layers of flannel would give it a bit more absorbancy without adding too much bulk.

     Does anyone else have an opinion about types of material to use?

    Yes, it can get tough to sew through all the layers.  Try a ball point needle, much better.  I sew even through five layers of hemp (what I make my inserts out of) with a size 11 ball point.  Also, I should mention that flannel will give a "wet" feel to the baby because it does not wick wetness away.  If you want that, try sewing an outer layer of fleece.  That gives a "stay dry" feel.  If you want to do all natural fabrics, I'd still go with cotton, bamboo or hemp terry.  I promise you will find this to be much much more absorbent than just a few layers of flannel.  Save the flannel for making wipes.




  • image kattyleigh:

    Yes, it can get tough to sew through all the layers.  Try a ball point needle, much better.  I sew even through five layers of hemp (what I make my inserts out of) with a size 11 ball point.  Also, I should mention that flannel will give a "wet" feel to the baby because it does not wick wetness away.  If you want that, try sewing an outer layer of fleece.  That gives a "stay dry" feel.  If you want to do all natural fabrics, I'd still go with cotton, bamboo or hemp terry.  I promise you will find this to be much much more absorbent than just a few layers of flannel.  Save the flannel for making wipes.

    Thanks for that info. How many layers do you suggest if using cotton terry? The terry ones I started off making were 4x8x4 and seemed too bulky as well as a pain to sew. I'll give the ball point needle a go too.

    BabyFruit Ticker
  • image margaretkaye1:
    I think if you do the normal 4x8x4 your PFs are going to be too thick to wrap around a tiny baby. And probably hard to clean. PFs are made of very thin material and I think if you use the same amount of thicker material it will be too stiff.

    The 4x8x4 terry PFs I made were very thick and stiff. Not ideal. Tonight I've started sewing some 4x6x4 with a combo of flannel and terry. So the center has 2 layers of terry and the rest is flannel. They seem like a good thickness and they're nice and soft, and hopefully will be absorbent enough. Any opinions about whether they seem like they'll be up to the job?

    BabyFruit Ticker
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