How To Make A Cloth Diaper From T-Shirt

Are you tired of spending too much money on disposable diapers? Or maybe you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option?

Whatever your reason may be, making your own cloth diaper from a t-shirt is an easy and affordable solution.

tshirt for diaper
(Source: Sly Design Studio / Canva)

Here’s how you can do it.

Materials Needed

Before we get started, here’s what you’ll need:

  • A T-shirt (preferably 100% cotton)
  • A sewing machine or needle and thread
  • Elastic
  • A diaper cover (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide

Follow these steps to make your own cloth diaper from a t-shirt:

  1. Cut off the sleeves and collar of the t-shirt.
  2. Cut the t-shirt in half horizontally, just below the underarms.
  3. Take one of the halves and fold it in half again lengthwise.
  4. Cut a slight curve at the top of the folded edge to create leg holes.
  5. Unfold the t-shirt and sew elastic around the leg holes.
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 with the other half of the t-shirt.
  7. Place one half on top of the other, with the right sides facing each other.
  8. Sew around the edges, leaving a small opening to turn the diaper right-side out.
  9. Turn the diaper right-side out and sew up the opening.
  10. Add snaps or velcro to the front of the diaper for closures (optional).


Making your own cloth diaper from a t-shirt is a great way to save money and reduce waste. Cloth diapers are also better for your baby’s skin and can be more comfortable.


When cutting the t-shirt, make sure to leave enough fabric for the absorbent layers. You can also add extra layers of fabric for more absorbency.


Can I use any type of T-shirt?

We recommend using a 100% cotton t-shirt for maximum absorbency and comfort.

Do I need a diaper cover?

While not necessary, a diaper cover can provide extra protection against leaks.

How often should I change the diaper?

It’s recommended to change cloth diapers every 2-3 hours.

How do I clean the diaper?

Wash the diaper in hot water with a gentle detergent and tumble dry on low heat.

Can I use this diaper overnight?

While it’s possible, we recommend using a more absorbent diaper for overnight use.

What size does this diaper fit?

This diaper is one-size-fits-all and can be adjusted using elastic and closures.

How many diapers should I make?

It’s recommended to have at least 12-24 cloth diapers on hand.

Is this diaper easy to use?

Yes, cloth diapers are just as easy to use as disposable diapers.

How to Use T-Shirt as a Cloth Diaper Insert

Cloth diaper tutorial

Are you interested in eco-friendly diaper options that won’t break the bank? In this step-by-step guide, we will show you how to transform a simple T-shirt into a reusable and practical cloth diaper.

Not only is this a cost-effective option, but it also helps reduce waste and supports sustainability efforts. So, let’s get started on your DIY cloth diaper journey!

Why Choose Cloth Diapers?

Parents who are looking for an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to disposable diapers may want to consider switching to cloth diapers. There are many benefits to choosing cloth diapers over disposables, including:

  1. Environmental impact: Disposable diapers contribute significantly to landfill waste, taking several years to decompose. In contrast, cloth diapers can be washed and reused multiple times, reducing the amount of waste that goes into landfills.
  2. Cost savings: While the initial investment in cloth diapers can be higher, in the long run, cloth diapers can save parents a considerable amount of money compared to purchasing disposable diapers every week.
  3. Health benefits: Cloth diapers are typically made from natural materials, which can be gentler on a baby’s sensitive skin and reduce the risk of diaper rash.
  4. Customization: With cloth diapers, parents have the option to choose from a variety of designs and styles, making diaper-changing a more personalized experience.

In addition to these benefits, many parents find that using cloth diapers can be a rewarding DIY project.

Selecting the Right T-Shirt

When selecting a T-shirt, consider the fabric type, as it determines the diaper’s absorbency, which is key to preventing leaks. Thick, absorbent materials, such as organic cotton, bamboo or hemp, are excellent choices for making a cloth diaper.

Select a T-shirt that can soak up a lot of liquid, as babies do tend to pee a lot. A T-shirt made of a material like jersey knit will have a higher absorbency rating and be more suitable for diaper-making than a T-shirt made of a thin, lightweight material like a sheer chiffon.

Consider buying T-shirts specifically for diaper-making purposes, or see what you have lying around at home that can be repurposed to make a great cloth diaper!

Preparing the T-Shirt

This involves washing it to remove any dirt or debris, and cutting it into the right shape.

Step 1: Washing the T-Shirt

Wash your T-shirt in hot water with your usual laundry detergent. This will help to remove any dirt, oils, or residues that could affect the absorbency of the diaper. Avoid using fabric softeners, bleach, or other harsh chemicals, as these can damage the fabric and reduce its effectiveness as a diaper.

Step 2: Cutting the T-Shirt

Lay the T-shirt flat on a table or other surface, and use a pair of sharp scissors to cut the sides and bottom of the shirt. Leave the neck and arm holes intact, as these will become the leg openings of the diaper.

You can also cut off the sleeves and neckline if you like, to create a more traditional diaper shape. Be sure to cut the T-shirt to the appropriate size for your baby, and adjust the length of the legs and waist as needed.

With a few basic tools and some sewing skills, you can turn an old T-shirt into a functional and eco-friendly diaper solution.

Creating the Absorbent Layer

This layer will be responsible for soaking up any messes and keeping your baby dry and comfortable.

For the absorbent layer, you can use a variety of materials such as cotton, bamboo, or hemp. Make sure to choose a material that is soft, absorbent, and durable. You’ll need to measure and cut the fabric to the appropriate size for your diaper, keeping in mind that the absorbent layer should be slightly smaller than the waterproof layer so that it fits snugly inside.

Next, place the absorbent layer on the inside of your t-shirt, lining it up in the center of the diaper. Using a sewing machine, sew the layer into place along the edges, making sure to reinforce the stitching for added durability.

Adding the Waterproof Layer

Using PUL fabric is a popular choice for a waterproof layer. To add the PUL layer, follow these steps:

  1. Place the PUL fabric on top of the absorbent layer, with the shiny side facing down.
  2. Pin the layers together to secure them in place.
  3. Sew around the edges of the fabric, leaving a small gap to turn the layers right-side out.
  4. Trim the excess fabric and turn the layers right-side out through the gap.
  5. Topstitch around the edges of the diaper to close the gap and create a neat finish.

You can also add a double layer of PUL fabric for extra protection.

Attaching Snaps or Velcro

Once the waterproof layer is in place, it’s time to attach the closures for proper fastening. Snaps and Velcro are popular choices for cloth diaper fastening, and both have their pros and cons.

Attaching Snaps

If you choose snaps, you’ll need to purchase the snap pliers and specific snaps appropriate for cloth diaper making. Make sure to place them evenly for a secure fit.

Attaching Velcro

Velcro, also known as hook and loop, is another popular choice for cloth diaper closures. You’ll need to purchase the appropriate Velcro strips and cut them to size.

Whichever closure method you choose, make sure to test it out on your baby before using the diaper regularly. Adjust the snaps or Velcro for a snug but comfortable fit.

Creating Leg Gussets

Leg gussets are an essential component of cloth diapers, as they provide a snug fit around your baby’s legs, preventing leaks and ensuring maximum absorbency. Here’s how to create leg gussets:

  1. Take your diaper cover and lay it flat with the outer side facing up.
  2. Locate the center of the diaper cover and mark it with a fabric pen.
  3. Measure 2 inches from both sides of the center mark and make a small mark with your fabric pen.
  4. Measure and mark 1 inch from the top of the diaper cover on both sides, creating a “U” shape between the two marks you made earlier.

Once you have marked the leg gussets on your diaper cover, follow these steps to sew them into place:

  1. With a sewing machine or needle and thread, sew along the “U” shape you marked, starting and ending at the 2-inch marks you made earlier. This will create a small pocket for the leg gusset.
  2. Measure and cut a piece of elastic that is about 2 inches longer than the length of your “U” shape.
  3. Thread the elastic through the pocket you just created, using a safety pin or elastic threader to guide it through.
  4. Once the elastic is threaded through, stitch the two ends of elastic together to create a loop.
  5. Stretch the elastic and stitch it in place at the 2-inch marks on both sides of the diaper cover to secure the leg gussets.

With leg gussets in place, your cloth diaper will offer a comfortable and leak-free fit for your little one!

Sewing the Diaper Together

Follow these steps to assemble your diaper:

  1. Place the absorbent layer on top of the waterproof layer, with the right sides facing each other.
  2. Pin the layers together, making sure they are aligned properly.
  3. Sew around the edges of the layers, leaving a small gap for turning the diaper right side out.
  4. Trim the excess fabric around the edges and clip the corners to remove any bulk.
  5. Turn the diaper right side out through the gap you left earlier.
  6. Use a pen or knitting needle to push out the corners, ensuring they are fully turned.
  7. Sew the gap closed using a slipstitch or ladder stitch, ensuring it is neat and invisible.

Adding Additional Features

1. Liners

Inserting a liner into your cloth diaper can help with absorption and make cleaning easier. There are reusable and disposable liner options available, so choose the one that works best for you and your baby.

2. Snaps for Inserts

Adding snaps to your cloth diaper allows you to easily attach extra absorbency, such as inserts or boosters, for heavy wetters or overnight use.

3. Additional Absorbent Layers

If you find that your cloth diaper is not absorbent enough for your baby, consider adding an additional layer of absorbency. This can be done by sewing in an extra piece of fabric or layering another absorbent material on top of the existing layers.

Remember to always keep your baby’s comfort and safety in mind when adding additional features to your cloth diaper.

Caring for Your Cloth Diapers

Proper care and maintenance of your cloth diapers are essential in ensuring their longevity and effectiveness.

  1. Pre-wash your cloth diapers before first use: This step will help prepare the fabric, allowing for better absorbency.
  2. Choose a detergent suitable for cloth diapers: Avoid using fabric softeners or bleach, as they can damage the fabric and reduce absorbency.
  3. Wash your cloth diapers frequently: Depending on usage, it is recommended to wash cloth diapers every 1-3 days to prevent odors and stains from setting in.
  4. Use the right water temperature: Hot water is best for removing stains and bacteria, but avoid using water that is too hot and can damage the fabric. Check the care instructions for your specific cloth diaper material.
  5. Avoid over-drying: Excessive heat can damage the fabric and elastic of your cloth diapers. It is best to air dry or use a low-heat setting.

By following these simple guidelines, you can ensure that your cloth diapers stay in good condition and continue to provide a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution for your baby’s needs.

Benefits of DIY Cloth Diapers

Making your own cloth diapers offers a range of benefits beyond just saving money. Here are a few reasons why you might want to consider DIY cloth diapers:

  1. Customization: When you make your own cloth diapers, you have complete control over the design and materials used. You can choose fabrics and colors that reflect your style and preferences, and you can even create unique diaper covers with appliques or embroidery.
  2. Environmentally friendly: By using old T-shirts, you’re giving new life to materials that might otherwise end up in a landfill. Additionally, choosing cloth diapers over disposables is a great way to reduce your ecological footprint and help protect the planet.
  3. Healthier for your baby: Cloth diapers are free from harmful chemicals that can be found in some disposable diapers, making them a healthier choice for your baby’s delicate skin.
  4. Cost-effective: While you will have to invest in some materials upfront, making your own cloth diapers can ultimately save you a lot of money in the long run, especially if you plan on having more than one child.

Overall, DIY cloth diapers offer a fun and rewarding way to provide for your baby’s needs while also being eco-friendly and cost-effective. Give it a try and see what unique and sustainable designs you can come up with!

Tips and Tricks

While making cloth diapers from T-shirts is a relatively simple DIY project, there are a few tips and tricks that can help ensure success. Here are some suggestions:

  • Choose the right T-shirt: Look for a shirt made from a soft, absorbent fabric that will not shrink too much when washed.
  • Consider adding elastic: If you find that the leg openings are not snug enough, add a thin strip of elastic to the inside of each leg gusset.
  • Use a double layer of PUL fabric: To make the diaper more waterproof, consider using two layers of PUL fabric for the outer layer.
  • Experiment with different liner materials: While flannel is a popular choice for liners, you can also try using microfiber, bamboo, or hemp fabrics.
  • Be patient: Sewing a cloth diaper requires attention to detail and some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to take your time and make adjustments as needed.

“Don’t be discouraged if your first few attempts don’t turn out perfectly. Diaper-making is a skill that takes practice and patience”

By following these tips and tricks, you should be well on your way to creating your own eco-friendly and cost-effective cloth diapers from T-shirts.


Here are answers to some common questions about making cloth diapers from T-shirts:

Can any T-shirt be used for making a cloth diaper?

Look for shirts made from absorbent materials, such as cotton, bamboo, or hemp, that can hold moisture. Avoid polyester or synthetic blends, as they may repel liquid instead of absorbing it.

How many layers should I use for the absorbent layer?

It depends on the absorbency level you want. Typically, two to three layers of fabric are used for the absorbent layer.

Do I need to sew the waterproof layer onto the absorbent layer?

Yes, it is important to sew the waterproof layer onto the absorbent layer to prevent leaks.

How can I adjust the fit of the cloth diaper?

Creating leg gussets can help adjust the fit and prevent leaks.

How do I wash and care for my cloth diapers?

Wash the cloth diapers in hot water with a mild detergent. Avoid fabric softeners and bleach, as they can damage the fabric. Hang dry or tumble dry on low heat. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s washing instructions for any additional features, such as snap-in liners.

Can I use cloth diapers for newborns?

Yes, cloth diapers can be used for newborns. However, you may need to adjust the size and fit more frequently as your baby grows.

Is making cloth diapers from T-shirts cost-effective?

While there may be some initial investment in materials and time, cloth diapers can be reused and may save you money in the long run.

How often do I need to change cloth diapers?

It is recommended to change cloth diapers every two to three hours, or as soon as they are soiled or wet.

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