Sew a prefold diaper the real way

Sew a prefold diaper the real way

There are plenty of tutorials out there that show you how to create a faux prefold with a rectangle and some padding down the middle. But did you ever wonder how real prefold diapers are made?

I cut the serging off of a regular 4x8x4 chinese prefold and unpicked the center seams to see exactly how a traditional prefold diaper was made. This tutorial is based on what I learned.

Regular prefolds are made from one big piece of fabric that is folded, then sewn. It isn't very economical to make these if you're just going to make one. But if you purchase the real prefold diaper twill in bulk, you can save some money making your own prefolds.

You can use diaper flannel, diaper gauze, or prefold twill for this project. I'm using unbleached prefold twill that has not been pre-washed.

Step One: You're going to need two layers of prefold twill measuring 18" x 40". If you're using the diaper twill from, you'll need one yard and four inches for a single prefold. I cut the yardage in half long ways and layered it, one layer on top of the other.

Step One

Step Two: Now you're going to fold one edge in about 5". The twill fabric is 'shifty' so try to keep your edges lined up the best you can.

Step Two

Step Three: Now take that new folded edge and fold it towards the center, bringing it in about 9" – 9.5".

Step Four: Now you're going to fold in the other side. Bring the raw edges to the edge of the first raw edge now buried in between the layers. It's approximately 9.5" in.

Step Four

Step Five: Your final fold is going to be to tuck the raw edges under just a smidge and pin. I left this edge raw on the first prefold I made and it got all frayed and raggy after the first washing. Press that little fold down with a warm iron if you need to.

Step Five

Step Six: Stitch the center pad down. All prefolds I've ever seen have a straight stitch here, but for us home seamstresses, I think using a wide zig zag stitch is a little more error proof. This crappy picture shows the center pad all sewn down. Now you're going to want to serge or overlock the ends (not shown).

Step Six

Step Seven: Wash and dry your prefold a few times to make sure it's nice and absorbent. If you've used twill or gauze, it'll quilt up nicely. This shows my home made prefold after just one washing. Not too shabby, eh?

Step Seven

Here it is all finished. Have fun sewing prefolds!

Finished Prefold