Friday, March 23, 2012

The Easiest Diaper to Make-- Sewing up Daddy Flats

Okay, maybe not as easy as just edging a square piece of cotton to use as a regular diaper flat, but at least as easy as making your own prefolds! This is not a tutorial. The Daddy Flats pattern is superbly done and the pattern designer herself is extremely helpful. I'm just sharing some hints and tips I have learned as I have made my own.

First let me tell you some of the reasons I like Daddy Flats (click here if you are wondering, "what in the world is a Daddy Flat?")

1) Super easy to make
2) Inexpensive to make
3) Super easy to use
4) No elastic to wear out over time
5) Easier to sanitize
5) Fast dry time (20 minutes?)
6) Customizable rise for longer or shorter babies

Why would you want to try Daddy Flats? Maybe for the reasons above. Maybe you aren't using cloth diapers yet, but you want to give it a try inexpensively. Remember, you don't have to sew a whole stash at once. Make a few at time and work yourself up to full-time cloth diapering. Maybe you are using sized cloth diapers and are about to outgrow your current stash, and the thought of the cost of moving up a size is daunting you. TRY THESE! Maybe you are tired of bulky, these are definitely trim.

Even if this is your very first sewing project, I believe you could sew up a stash of Daddy Flats in no time! The photos I am posting are from 2 diapers I recently sewed, a daytime version, and a nighttime version. A Daytime version has one wing, and a Nighttime version has two wings. If you have a really heavy wetter you could just use the Nighttime version all the time.

A NightTime Daddy Flat

There are only five basic steps to sewing up a Daddy Flat.

1) Cut out the basic shape. If you can lay your two layers right sides together and cut them both out at once, all the better!

2) Pin, pin, pin! I hate all the prep work that goes with sewing, I just want to sew! In this case, do the prep work because it's really not much. Pin your layers together. It is just a simple shape you are sewing around, but if you don't pin you may end up with a wronky mess. The part I especially pin a lot is in the curve of the wing. Make sure those wing edges are really well aligned because you only have a 1/4" seam allowance.

3) Sew. Sew around the edges. After sewing you will trim the corners. It is VERYimportant to follow the instructions about clipping in this corner where the wings fold is. If you do not clip, it will not lay flat when turned.

4) Turn the diaper right side out. I always like to press the diaper and the opening to make it easier to sew that opening closed.

5) Sew the opening shut. All you have to do is sew the little opening shut. I was so tempted to top-stitch the whole thing on my first diaper. Doesn't everything need to be top-stitched? I resisted the urge to ignore the instructions, and guess what? They really don't need to be top-stitched. They wash up well sewn just the way the instructions tell you to!

Now at this point you can add snaps, as I always do, but if you don't have access to snap pliers (can also be found at Joann's) or press (maybe a birthday present--like mine), you can use diaper pins, or if the fabric is compatible, a Snappi.

Some extra hints: Sewing two different types of fabric together is not as easy as sewing two of the same together. Two layers of flannel will fly under the needle, but a layer of flannel and a layer of a knit (like cotton knit, bamboo velour etc.) has to be sewed a little more slowly. If you try to shove it through quickly, you will get puckers like this:

If you do get some of these. Just take a seam ripper and undo enough stitches to release the pucker and just resew that area. It should do fine.

Also, if you are sewing a stretchy and non-stretchy fabric together, you may get a little puffiness on the stretch side. A little bit is okay, but a lot means that your stretchy fabric was cut too large and that fabric will roll to the other sides on the edges. It will still be completely functional, just not as pretty as you may want it.

Lastly, do not sew this pattern with two layers of stretchy fabric. The diaper needs stabilization in order to fit properly. So if you use a t-shirt, a cotton knit, bamboo velour, or cotton velour, make the other layer a good flannel or bamboo fleece maybe.

Oh, and a note about fabrics. You really can use just about any soft absorbant fabric for these diapers. That being said, the thickness of your fabric will also determine the absorbancy of your diapers. I noticed a big difference in the flannel I purchased at the fabric store an the diaper flannel I purchased on-line. The diaper flannel is nearly twice as thick and fluffy on both sides. This is nice because no matter which way you cut you other piece, the diaper flannel piece will match. For example, sometimes I will cut my daytime diapers (which only have one wing) with the wing on the left or the right. If the other fabric you are using has a right and wrong side, you have to make sure that you cut that fabric in the right direction (which I have failed to do many a time). With the diaper flannel this is not an issue. Diaper flannel can be purchase for $5.50/yd, and store flannel ranges greatly in price depending on the sales. I saw some flannel at Wal-mart today for $3.50/yd.

For further notes on sewing these:

Okay, as much as I do love the Daddy Flat pattern, I also love to help mamas. If you are strapped for cash and like the idea of these easy sew diapers, there is a similar pattern that can be found for free on the internet. All you have to have is a computer and a printer. This pattern is called Quick Snap Flat Wrap. Oh, Bummer! The link to that pattern is no longer good. I have the pattern printed out, but cannot find it on my computer anywhere. Well, I will be on a quest to relocate it. Just another hazard of freebies on the net! The link below is a photo tutorial of the QSFW pattern, but not much good without the pattern.

(3/24) I told you I would keep hunting. The QSFW may be a gone forever, but I found another one: The Not So Flat Wrap. This pattern is free, and there is also alink for a photo tutorial. I may even try this one out--because I am a diaper pattern junkie! This one is a little bit of a different concept, but still easy to sew. The directions are for using a serger, but it can be made with a regular machine. If you want to try this pattern out with a regular machine but aren't sure where to start, just LMK and I can give you some hints for getting started!

Yay! I found the Quick Snap Flat Wrap today (3/25)-- Here is the shorter wing version:

Regular Version here:

And here is a blog posting where I found the links as well as some tips on sewing them. I would try them without any elastic first.


  1. Daddy Flats have always looked really cute to me. You make them look so easy to make! I might have to borrow my mom's sewing machine and try some out!

  2. Placing snaps seems very intimidating to me (fear of spacing them wrong)... would a snappi work for these? What fabric should I use as the outside then?


  3. The pattern actually comes with a template for spacing the snaps, so no worries there. But you can use a Snappi as long as your outer fabric is "snappiable", meaning that the Snappi will grip it. Anything with give can be gripped by a Snappi, but some fabrics work better than others. Some snappiable fabrics: Cotton knits, thermal knit, french terry, loop terry, hemp terry...Just try pulling your Snappi into the fabric you want to use and see if it will grip. It isn't suggested on the pattern, but you might also try hook and loop!

  4. You make it sound so if I only had the time:)

  5. this sounds so great! ihave the sewing machine! now just need some more courage and motivation!

  6. I don't sew, but these are super cute!

  7. thanks so much for this! i love to sew and these look super simple!

  8. These are so adorable. They look so easy and I have really wanted to try making my own. Hopefully I can get these right

  9. Oh, thank you so much! I'm due with #2 this summer, and I can't wrap my head around paying full-price for diapers my babe will only wear for 6-8 weeks. This is a great idea, especially for that newborn phase!

  10. This is awesome! I'm totally making this.

  11. ? do u need PUL cover with these? And could u use a fleece outer and a gerber pre-fold for the inner?

    1. You can use a PUL, fleece or wool cover with these. They are not meant to be worn with a prefold inside. It would make them too tight unless you made a bigger size. They are meant to fit as a very trim diaper and will absorb about as well as a single prefold.

  12. The qsfw pattern is free, although now the site is down. I did a stash of 14 of these from 3 layers each of unbleached birdseye for my now 8m old when she was born. I have the pdf version of the pattern and I will share it with anyone who wants it, just send me an email to insanefaeryposse [at] gmail [dot] com (with appropriate punctuation substituted and something like qsfw pattern in the subject line. I loved this pattern.

  13. Thank you for this tutorial. I am the owner of Daddy Flats and my life is pretty full. I took all the bits and pieces of cloth diapers that I liked to come up with this pattern. I know I do sell the pattern, but I have made it very affordable and its my only involvement in the cloth world with so much else going on. I am a photographer and also studying to be an OT so I am very thankful that people love my Daddy Flats and my pattern is still available and downloadable. Happy sewing. I am going to be working on a stash for my niece and am excited to be getting my own hands back into making them but there are several seamstresses that have my cottage license to sew them.