My number one reason for getting started with cloth diapers in 2009 was for the money savings. One of the first things I tried was a fleece cover made by a WAHM. It got me wishing I could make my own, but since my sewing skills are so limited I bookmarked this no-sew YouTube tutorial. Fast forward 6 years; I actually got around to making my own no-sew cover this month.
I grabbed a one-size diaper cover and simply traced around it with scissors, making sure that it was not only bigger, but that the wings were extra long and thin, since you have to tie them around your baby’s waist:
Here is the finished cover. Obviously, it’s not perfect, since I just eyeballed it and started cutting around the shark diaper. But it fit Mary Kate just fine. My next cover will be better because I’m going to use this one to make a brown paper pattern.
The kind of fleece that you use matters, so cutting up an old fleece blanket or re-purposing a pair of fleece pajama pants might not be your best bet. You can buy a yard of polar fleece at Walmart or on Ebay for anywhere from $3.00 to $5.00. From each yard, you can make 2-3 covers, depending on your baby’s age, so the price for each cover averages about $2.00. If you do want to try this with old or thin fleece, I strongly suggest doubling up your covers (i.e. cut out two and use them one on top of another).
For my testing, I used a prefold diaper, folded in thirds. After wrapping the diaper and cover around Mary Kate, I tied up the wings in the middle.
If the rise is too high, you can just fold it down a little at the front, but mine was just right. I think the front ties make this a pretty cute little cover.
I let Mary Kate crawl around and play for more than an hour in her prefold and fleece wrap. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much shifting and everything pretty much stayed in place. Fleece has a natural stretch and give.
After two hours I changed her. The prefold was almost completely wet, and there was a little bit of #2, but everything was contained. The fleece was still dry.
I wouldn’t recommend going past the two-hour mark with this fleece cover because fleece is prone to compression leaks. Also, there isn’t any elastic in the legs for extra protection against blowouts. This cover is super cheap, comfortable, and has a stay-dry quality, but it’s definitely not in the same league as a waterproof PUL or wool cover.
Fleece is also known for holding onto odors if you don’t have a good wash routine. HINT: You can boost the water-resistant quality of fleece by using fabric softener.
Final thoughts: It feels good to actually make a diaper cover for your child! And this one was cheap and dead-easy. I feel like this bare bones diapering method could work for a family that’s literally pinching pennies. If they couldn’t afford prefolds, they could double up on flour sack towels or use old t-shirts. Night time would be tricky if you had a heavy wetter. Perhaps you could use two of these fleece covers together for extra protection?
A cheap fleece cover like this is also a good emergency diaper option, or a way to get started with cloth diapers without having to spend money on a set of PUL or wool diaper covers.