Thursday, October 4, 2012

Making a Underwear/Diaper Cover

I've wanted to make diaper covers for a long time and instead since my girls were so little I could do fine with the newborn and small covers that Gerber sells.  The problem with these is that they fall apart fairly quickly.  Since Jo-Ann's now carries Polyurethane Laminate (PUL) and fold over elastic (FOE) and these are so easy to make, this is the way to go.  Even if you've never sewn before, you can make these.  Since I know a lot of people that need larger sizes that Gerber does not make so I thought I would post a tutorial for making a pattern and sewing these.

1.  First take you child's measurements.  You need three measurements. The first is from the waistline on the back through the legs and to the waist line in the front.  For the bear cub, this is 17 inches and for Darth Baby it's 15 inches.  Since I want these to fit both girls, I went with the larger size for each measurement.  Then add 2 inches for ease and to fit the diaper or underwear.  This should be one side of a rectangle.  (You do not need to add any for seam allowance).

2. The next measurement that you want is the waist measurement.  Measure this without any clothes in the way, with the child relaxed.  Darth Baby is 18 inches and the bear cub is 16 1/2 inches.  Divide the number by 2 and add 3 and make this the other side of the rectangle.  Again there is no need to add seam allowance.

3. The third measurement is down the side of the leg from the waist to wear you want the cover to end.  To this number you want to add an inch.  For Darth Baby this is 4 inches and the bear cub is 5 inches.  You'll want to mark the outside of the leg opening so measure from the top and bottom on the long side and mark this number.

4.  You'll want to mark a third area about a third of the way from one of the leg opening marks to the other.  From the center mark 2 1/2 inches on each side.
5.Then make a curve that is mostly flat on one end curving towards the mark made in step 4 and then going to the other opening mark you made in step 3.

6. Use this pattern to cut out your PUL.  Cut three pieces of the fold-over elastic (FOE).  The first piece should be the waist measurement (slightly smaller, if it is very stretchy soft elastic).  The second and third piece should be the measurement around the legs.

7. Then sew in a zig zag stitch one of the smaller pieces of FOE around one of the leg openings backstitching at the beginning and end, stretching the elastic to fit the curve (if you child is thin, you might have to stretch it very tight.

8. Sew in a zig zag stitch the other smaller piece of FOE around the other of the leg openings again backstitching at the beginning and end, stretching the elastic to fit the curve.

9. Sew one side of the cover with right side facing each other using a straight stitch.  If you have a serger, you can serge it for nicer edges.  A more complicated stitch is not necessary to finish this fabric and it will not unravel.

10. Sew the remaining larger piece of FOE elastic on the waist using a zig zag stitch, starting at the unsewn side piece all the way around, matching the half way point of the elastic to the sewn side seam, stretching to fit.  Again for a very thin child, you will have to stretch this elastic quite a bit.

11. Sew the other side seam using a straight stitch. Again you can finish this seam off with a serger for a more professional look.

12. Finally turn the cover inside out.  After you've done one pair, all future pairs should take 20 minutes or less, even for a beginner and an experienced sewer might be able to turn these out in about 10 minutes a piece if they are done assembly style.

I love these.  They fit so much better than any other cover I've used and look a lot more comfy.  The bear cub is no longer tugging at her panties all day like she was as these actually help keep her panties on (since even the smallest panties are constantly slipping off her little butt.  They can go through the washer and dryer with no problem (though I usually air dry them as they will practically wipe dry).

Here is a finished pair on Darth Baby.  They is a lot less extra fabric on the bear cub and they aren't as tight on the bear cub's waist, but I made them to fit both girls.
I've made about a dozen and have a lot more cut waiting to be sewn, which I hope to knock out today and tomorrow.


  1. Hey.
    Good idea. Have done similar but find that the elastic in the legs cut in on the "little man". What is it you sew around the legs .... pieces of the "PUL" or elastic?
    Grateful for answers.
    Sincerely M.

    1. It is fold-over elastic (FOE). I've gotten it a number of places but my favorites are (make sure you buy the 5/8" version) and (she sometimes has discounts on her facebook page). I also have a tutorial on how to sew it in the round if you child is sensitive to seams (

  2. Hey.
    Thanks for the quick reply.
    Trying to avoid seams, both for the young and elderly. Both of feeling but also the sensitivity of the skin.

    It's really clear pictures. Have you sewn in other colors and designs, you have more photos you can upload?

    Think it is an advantage of the PUL. Tightly, breathe and look better than many flimsy cover.

    Sincerely. M

    1. I've actually sewn a LOT of these, but these are probably my only other post.

  3. What fun.
    There are so very many beautiful colors and patterns.
    Want to choose. For the younger, it's fun to be able to vary but for the slightly bigger boy is it more important to be able to choose for yourself, and that it does not show as much. Speicellt among friends.
    (could not see your link, please see photos).
    Sincerely, M

  4. Do you use cloth diapers or disposable diapers under the pants?

    Nowadays, when it is more drier days and nights so we have driven cloth diapers but some laundry becomes of course.

    Do you have any favorite shopping spot?
    Sincerely. M

    1. Darth Monkey is in cloth diapers, but my bear cub is in panties during the day and has been since she was 2 1/2. The bear cub still has the occasional accident (esp. on the school bus on the way to school as it is 1 1/2 hours to school and she needs to go every hour) so she wears them over her panties.

  5. Trying the longest use cloth diapers (use PUL bags when we are out). Nice not having to worry and let the skin breathe. For the elderly, it is more and more important that it not be seen as much as these and similar pants is a really good solution. Easy to use and wash.

    Fold yourself or do you buy cloth diapers?
    Have bought and sewed himself. Easy to vary the thickness and width.
    Sincerely. M

    1. I actually started out using a diaper service, but they went out of business and left me with the diapers I had at the time (80 diapers in two sizes at the time). When my girls outgrew those, I purchased about half that in unbleached pre-folds ( since the bear cub was only using them at night. I do make panties for the girls (sometimes - not all of them) and have even make training panties.

  6. Have done both night diapers, day diapers and training pants. But happiest with a simple weight on the day and a double folded at night. Do not need to worry that any of them need to get red skin. I also think they get smoother and better passorm when to do them yourself ... as long as you have a good pattern.

    Was in town today and found some really nice patterned fabrics. Bought a few feet but thinks that it is best that someone else may choose patterns * smile so it will be as it should be.