Saturday, August 20, 2011

Cloth Diapers – Part 1 Types of Cloth Diapers

I started out my cloth diapering series discussing my choice to cloth diaper along with the cost of cloth versus disposables, environment, and health concerns in the use of disposable diapers. You can read that initial post here. This post will discuss types of cloth diapers that I use or have used and links to some of my favorite cloth diaper patterns. There are many other types of diapers but I just want to cover what I’ve used.
Types of Cloth Diapers
AIO (All-in-One) or AIO2 (All-in-One Two)

An AIO or AIO2 is most similar to a disposable diaper. There is no need for a separate cover. They are easy to use and often quite popular with dads, grandparents, babysitters, and daycares. AIOs have a waterproof outer layer that it typically made of PUL (polyurethane laminate) fabric. Other fabric choices for the outer layer may be fleece, nylon ripstop, ultrex or wool.  The benefit of an AIO2 over an AIO is a matter of preference although an AIO2 will have a shorter drying time. The inner layer of fabric in an AIO diaper may be made of microfleece, Sherpa, cotton knit, terry cloth, hemp, velour, and flannel. Common choices for the soaker are hemp, knit terry, Sherpa, French terry, flannel, microfiber and zorb.

The difference between an AIO and an AIO2 is how the soaker is attached. An AIO diaper will have an internal, hidden soaker while an AIO2 will have an external soaker that lays or snaps onto the inner layer of the diaper.

A prefold is a flat that has been pre-folded, usually seen as 4x6x4 or 4x8x4. The numbers represent how many layers of fabric meaning the outside layers each of 4 layers while the inside layer has 6 or 8 layers. A prefold is also folded around the baby and closed with diaper pins or a snappy. Prefolds can also be used as soakers in pocket diapers or added as booster to any type of diaper.

Prefolds are very economical, dry quickly and can be used for infancy through potty training and then used as cleaning rags, etc. Prefolds will require a cover. I’ve turned my prefolds into side snapping diapers instead of having to use diaper pins or a snappy.

A fitted diaper resembles a regular diaper but requires a separate cover. Fitted diapers are made of a variety of materials and are closed with either snaps or Velcro (aplix).

Covers are needed for flats and prefolds, fitted diapers, and some pocket diapers. Covers are typically made of wool, fleece, or PUL.

The positive aspect of using a diapering system that uses covers is that you don’t have to have a large number of covers since covers do not have to be used after every change. You can very easily get by with 3 or 4 covers and have a nice stash of fitted or prefolds. Just change the diaper and only change the cover if it becomes soiled. Throughout the day, I rotate covers when I change a diaper. I turn the cover inside out and hang over the edge of the tub to dry. Wool can be lanolized (I’ve also had of people also lanolizing fleece covers) and only needs to be washed every 3-4 weeks. I do wash my fleece and PUL covers at the end of the day (or every other day) with the rest of the diapers.

Diaper Patterns

This is a great resource that covers patterns for almost everything diaper related, I think the only thing she doesn’t cover is pocket diapers. This was one of the first websites I found when I started cloth diapering and making my own diapers. It does not include patterns but there is a lot of information. She even covers making cloth menstrual pads. Another great resource with a fabulously detailed tutorial for cloth menstrual pads is Moo Said the Mama (Also a great resource for a lot of things and posts some really great recipes!)

I’ve sewn this and it is a great pattern. Makes a nice diaper with good coverage. Only downfall is that if you don’t like Velcro (aplix), you have to modify the wings for snaps.

I have not made this pattern but on diaper boards it always receives praises. This is a free pattern.

This is a free pattern. Katrina’s soaker is probably the most popular fleece soaker pattern. If you search fleece soakers on or, 90% probably use this pattern. Why? It’s a great pattern, its super simple, and you can whip up a fleece soaker in about 20 minutes from cutting the fabric to putting it on the baby. I like my fleece soakers made from this pattern, they offer great protection and great coverage. The only downfall is that I think it can get bulky which is why I also make a fleece soaker with foldover elastic at the legs and waist to reduce bulk underneath clothing.

I have not used her for sale pattern but have used the free pattern on her blog and another great pattern. Both also get great reviews from other mamas. I like side snapping diapers and trainers so this one is right up my alley. Also did a cloth swim diaper tutorial on Sew Mama Sew earlier this summer.

I have this pattern and love it. Talk about a pattern that is worth its money. It covers serged and turned diapers, side closing or front closing, snaps or Velcro, square wings, rounded wings, one row, two row, fitted, pocket fitted, AIO, AIO2, waterproof pockets, covers. It’s even got a flow chart to help you decide!

I have not used this pattern but another one that gets great reviews. Uses foldover elastic to bind the internal and external layers.

This is a free tutorial for sewing a fitted diaper from recycled materials.

Trainer Patterns
Unfortunately, the only trainer pattern I’ve used is my own. Which I’ve now sized down so that it can also be used as a diaper, however, I have yet to create a pdf of it. One of these days (soon) I will have an entire eight hours to myself to devote to turning my pattern into pdfs.

Resources for Ready to Buy
This list is for work at home moms who sell cloth diapers, trainers, or cloth menstrual pads. You can also search on or for a great selection.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks so much! Great pattern ideas and definitions. Have a wonderful week!