Tuesday, July 14, 2015

DIY Best Bottom Diaper Tutorial

Hey guys! I was suggesting my diaper cover pattern + tutorial to a friend the other day and was saddened to find the link to the tutorial wasn't working. Granted, I am not a tech savvy person so fixing it will be an undertaking in itself. If anyone has advice on how to do that, I would be forever grateful! Until then, the most obvious answer was to post the tutorial into its own blog post and link it to the pattern. My main goal is to offer an inexpensive alternative to buying pre-made diapers and I hope this tutorial does that! 

Here we go!

First you need the pattern- you can find it at my original post HERE.

Step 1: Cutting

Cut out your diaper using the pattern, making sure to cut 2 of them but DO NOT MIRROR THE PIECES WHEN YOU CUT THEM. This is extremely important because you will be creating one diaper out of two fabric layers. Make sure the stretch of the PUL fabric is horizontal to the pattern.   

Also, cut two strips that are the length of your PUL fabric 
44/45 in. x 1.25 in. 
- this will be your binding for around the diaper.
(not pictured)
 Put the two pieces together just as you would for normal binding.  
Here is a tutorial by Crazy Mom Quilts if you need help. 
***For this project I did not cut the binding on the bias since the fabric doesn't fray& I didn't iron to create the creases- it worked very well without doing that and I feared that I would melt the plastic. 

Step 2: Snaps

Using the keys on the pattern as your guide, add the snaps to the inside and outside layers of your diaper. The only snaps you should NOT be placing at this time are the ones in black that will go through both layers at the very end. You can also transfer the elastic placement marks. 

***To make the snap placement easier: I used my small hole puncher and punched holes in my pattern where the snaps were- then when I needed to transfer the markings I could simply place the pattern on top of my fabric and mark through the holes. To keep the color codes in tact (for the inside vs outside snaps) - I used a colored marker and traced the punched holes. In this photo is my original pattern. 

(This PUL fabric was thin, so I enforced the snaps with fabric.)

Now, place the inside layer plastic side down and the outside layer  on top with the plastic side down. When you are finished, there should be one side with plastic showing, the other side should have the design side showing. 

Step 3: Gussets and Elastic

I didn't use specific lengths of elastic, but instead made sure to pull the elastic as tight as possible when sewing it into place.
To do this you first secure the beginning of the elastic with a straight stitch where their is an elastic mark. Make sure to keep the elastic as close to the edge of your fabric as possible when sewing into place, you want to keep the elastic in the seam allowance so your binding will cover it later. Using your zig zag stitch, stretch and sew on top of the elastic until you reach the second marking. Once you reach the second marking, backstitch to secure and cut the excess elastic off. Only place elastic at the top front and back at this point. (NOT to the legs)

Place the elastic on your gusset using this technique- add it to the entire length of the gussets straight edge. 
You can choose to stop here and BIND the straight edge of the gusset using the technique described in Step 4 or do it once attached. I find it easier to attach it NOW.

Attach your gussets curved edge to the layers of diapers curved edge with wrong sides together. (make sure you get all 3 layers when stitching the gusset in place along the curved leg edges). 

***You will need to place elastic over the curved gusset seam you just created. It is easier to do this AFTER you have attached the gusset to the diaper. 

Step 4: Binding

Technique Tips: To bind you will first be attaching the binding strip on the WRONG side of the diaper using a straight stitch and a 1/4 in. seam allowance. You may have to use a slightly larger SA if your elastic is exactly 1/4 in. You want to make sure you sew just past the elastic (towards the inside of the diaper). 
Also, when you get to the elastic, stretch it completely out so the diaper is flat when attaching the binding. 

First bind the straight edge of the front of your diaper where the bulk of the snaps are and the top of the gusset (straight edge - only if you chose not to do it when you added the elastic).

Turn the diaper over to the right side (the outside, where there isn't plastic).  
Fold under the raw edge of the binding and topstitch. Make sure you cover all the elastic and when sewing past the elastic and that you stretch it so the diaper lays flat like you did on the other side. 

Then, starting at one side, attach the binding all the way around the diaper. When you get to the gussets, make sure you tuck the binding from the straight edge inside of the binding for the curved edge.

When going around the curves you may need to stop and use pins. Make sure to pin in the seam allowance. 

Step 5: Snaps (again)

Now that you've done everything else, you can add the snaps that go through both layers of the diaper. They are placed on the rounded corners of the diaper and are marked on the pattern in black. 

CONGRATS, you're done!!


  1. Just wondering...don't the Best Bottoms use FOE to wrap around the diaper? (Might be wrong...not really sure exactly what FOE is!)

    1. I spent a TON of time staring at my BB diapers as well as pouring over diaper making tutorials to pick up on tips and tricks. While I think you could use FOE (aka fold over elastic- basically a piece of elastic that is folded in half and sewn onto the edge of fabric) it does NOT have the PUL (plastic) on the back side of it and any liquid that gets on the FOE will then be on your child's legs and clothing. Probably not something I'd suggest using.

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  3. About how much does it cost to make one diaper shell? I was looking at Joanne Fabrics and their PUL fabric is about 11.50 a yard.

    1. I also purchased my fabric from joann's but I made sure it was NOT on sale so I could use a 60% off coupon- I stated in my original post that I got 3 diapers out of a yard. If you purchase the $11.50 fabric (even at full price) it makes the diapers super inexpensive! I had previously purchased shells for my cloth diapers that were $17 each.

  4. Any chance you could/have create/d a video tutorial of this? I'm a audio/visual learner so the pictures help, but I would understand it even better if I could watch each step.

    1. I wish I had the equipment or another person to record me because it is truly not a difficult task! I wasn't an expert seamstress when doing them, and while my stitches aren't the perfect straight lines that BB had- they've held up for almost two years now. :)

  5. May I ask how wide the finished cover is in the crotch? Do you find it wide enough to cover a prefold adequately?

    1. I haven't used it with prefolds- just the inserts that come with Best Bottom diapers because I had a big stash of them. I haven't had any issues with it not covering.

  6. Is there a specific reason you made two cuts of the main diaper cut? Or was the PUL just really thin so you wanted to reinforce it?

  7. Thank you so much for providing such detail and sharing your pattern!

  8. Thank you for this awesome tutorial! I am almost ready to make my own, just have a few questions.
    1-the tutorial states to cut PUL for the binding but your finished product has a different fabric. It appears that the one BB shell I have also has some other type of fabric. Does is matter what you use here? Just something soft?

    2-you made your diaper a little larger than the original, why? I only have one shell but it seems to fit my son pretty well, just wondering if it was a fit issue for you.

    Thanks again!

    1. So I am working this piece and am at the "bind the gussets" step. Wow. Do you have any tips/tricks for this?? I am really struggling working with the elastic and bias material. I am considering cutting new gusset pieces with small tabs on each end of the straight edge w/o elastic to help work it. I am also beginning to see the appeal of FOE... Grr, calling it a night.

    2. It definintely takes practice to pull the elastic while holding the binding on. One tip would be to get clips (chip clips work in a pinch, but there are ones you can purchase for quilt binding that would work really well). Using the clips to avoid poking extra holes and freeing up that hand for better control on the diaper may be much easier for you!

  9. Thanks for posting this! I've been working on replicating the one BB shell I have because it's my one cloth diaper I know my son won't leak through. My first attempt I bound in PUL and I found it didn't snug around him as well, the PUL made the whole thing too stiff. So I got to looking at the BB diaper and actually ripped one apart that I got at a consignment sale (for 4 dollars so it didn't hurt too much) and I think they are bound with unlaminated polyester interlock. The binding has a much softer hand than regular PUL. Not really sure what to do with this (possible) discovery. I know you use polyester thread to avoid wicking issues, so if you bind with a poly interlock will the fact that it's polyester keep it from wicking?
    Thoughts? Opinions? Suggestions?


    1. I haven't noticed any issues with using the PUL as binding on mine (we've used these shells for approx 4 years now!) BUT I would think that using the polyester without the pul would make it easier to sew. It may also be a cheaper option for BB because the PUL fabric is more expensive?

  10. Hi! I've been using your tutorial for a few days now and I really appreciate that you shared it! I keep getting stuck in the same spot and I am hoping you have some tips to get through it. I've attached elastic on front, back and gussets, but when I go to sew binding over elastics I lose all of the stretchiness! To get around it on the straight edge of the gussets, I just added a new piece of elastic through the cased binding and that seems to work, but I'd really like to be able to follow your directions without my extra added step (and additional bulkiness of a second piece of elastic). Also- when I go to add my elastic to gusset/body seam I lose stretch there, too. Any feedback would be very appreciated! Thank you!

  11. thank you for posting, I have a couple questions, if anyone can help, I just printed your pattern pieces and was wondering if there is a scale box to see if it printed correctly, My grandson is currently wearing a bububibi diaper which looks similar to this, best bottoms, he is 9 m as of 5/9 and we were wanting to know how to size these for his fit

  12. Hey! I don't know if you still monitor comments on this post but I'm thinking of making a modification to the pattern so that I can save a bit of money on prints. My thought is that I can use the outer layer in a normal cotton print but keep the inner layer AND gusset cuts PUL. That way the waterproof integrity is kept but I have more designs at my disposal. I think I'd also keep the binding PUL in that case even though BB uses non-PUL for that part.
    Does that seem like it would work out okay?

  13. I am not a sewer so maybe this information is right in front of my face...but how much fabric does it take for one cover?

  14. As someone that owns a couple of B.B. diapers I can say that there are some that B.B. actually does just that on some of its diapers, the outer patterned cover is a cotton/poly whatever, and the inside layer and gusset are PUL, and yeah I’d recommend keeping the ponding either PUL or some other sort of non wicking fabric.


I appreciate and read each and every comment... thank you!