Today we're making a Turned & Topstitched Diaper with Blind Elastic. For this diaper, I sewed monkey PUL to light green PUL to make a contrast back and wings.  I sewed a monkey applique to the back of the diaper. For the inner, I am using modified welt opening for my inner, though you can make the inner as a back edge opening pocket diaper if desired. Since I am doing a pocket diaper with a modified welt opening in this tutorial, I will be stitching completely around the diaper, then turning right side out through the welt opening. If you are making a pocket diaper with a back gathered elastic opening, follow your pattern instructions for that type of diaper opening. Be sure to watch for additional tips to keep in mind for making AI2s.

Let's get started!

  1. Collect your supplies. Here is what I used: My diaper inner (brown crushed panne velour), outer (PUL), 3/8” elastic, ball point pins, Mark-B-Gone washable marker.

  2. Mark the elastic placement on your outer fabric using the Mark-B-Gone pen.  Make sure to extend the marked line past your seam allowance.  We will need to see the marked line after turning. If you are using snaps, you will want to apply the snap sockets to the outer fabric now. Be sure to reinforce each socket with a square of PUL on the cap side of the snap. 

  3. Pin the right side of the inner to the printed side of the PUL.  I use a LOT of pins when I am working with crushed panne velour as it is pretty slippery. Try to keep the pins in the seam allowance to minimize holes in the PUL. 

  4. Sew the diaper outer and inner pieces together using the seam allowance recommended in the pattern.  NOTE: If you are making an AI2 or a back edge pocket diaper, make sure to leave a hole for turning. 

  5. Trim the seam allowance all the way around your diaper 1/8” from the seam.  This is very important!  You will be using this to help guide your elastic when you are sewing it into the casing.  NOTE: If you are doing an AI2 you will not trim around your turning hole as this will be needed to case your elastic. 

  6. Turn the stitched diaper right side out.

  7. If you marked your diaper correctly, you should now be able to see your elastic marks for the leg and back elastic.

  8. You can use the recommended chart included with your pattern for elastic length, or use my favorite technique for measuring elastic. Measure from one elastic mark to the next.  I do this actually using the elastic.

  9. Fold the elastic in half.  Add 1/2” to allow for seam allowances, then cut the elastic. 

  10. Repeat with elastic for the other elastic marks. 

  11. Insert the elastic into your diaper body through your pocket opening.  If you are doing an AI2, you will feed it through your turning hole. For my diaper, I am feeding it through the welt pocket; it will be a snug fit for your hand.  Pin the end of the elastic with 1/4” overhanging the elastic mark.

  12. Carefully bunch up the fabric and pin the other end down at the second leg elastic  mark.  Make sure to keep the elastic flat. 

  13. Repeat with elastic needed for the other leg, and at the back of the diaper. Pin elastic at each mark. 

  14. To prevent shifting of the pane velour, pin your tummy panel and wings for topstitching.

  15. Start topstitching your diaper.  I topstitch with my needle moved to the left position.  I like to begin at one side of my belly panel. 

  16. Now comes the tricky stuff! When you reach the first elastic mark, stop sewing.  Position the sewing machine needle in an upright position.  Change the machine stitch setting to a long and wide 3-step zigzag.  Very carefully, lift your presser foot and slide the fabric over.  I find the edge of my pressure foot to be the perfect distance for me to be able to catch all of my elastic.  You will need to play with your machine to find your sweet spot.  Set the needle into the end of your elastic, then tack the end of your elastic down well.  I like to hold my fabric in place and go back and forth a couple times with my 3-step zigzag. 

  17. Stretch your elastic, positioning the elastic up against the seam allowance at the edge of the diaper. 

  18. On the legs, I like to reach up and grab the center of the elastic while I have it stretched and sew that in place before sewing the other half of the leg.  It gives me more control over what I am doing.  Slowly sew your elastic down, checking every few inches to make sure everything is still lined up. 

  19. When you reach the other end of the elastic, tack it down securely, just as you did at the opposite end of the elastic.  Lift your needle up.  Switch your machine back to straight stitch.  Shift your fabric back to the left and continue topstitching to the next leg elastic mark. Repeat the process for stitching the elastic at the other leg using the three-step zigzag. Continue topstitching until you come to the back elastic, then repeat the process to stitch the elastic using the three-step zigzag. 

  20. Add snaps to the front and wing panels, sew on a cute monkey label, and you are done! 

Meet the author

Hello my name is Jessica and I am a 25 year old mama to 3 beautiful little girls currently ages 4, 2 1/2, and 6 months. I have been sewing and doing every craft imaginable...Read more


23 February 2015

I used braided elastic . I cut the elastic in half and stretched it, therefore 50%. My question is ??? Did I use the wrong elastic? It is standing up so far, I guess I should have found your tutorial first, I have another ? if I want to use the FOE elastic do I use it as I would elastic but sew it on the outside, I.e again 50% pull so that basically when I want to use the FOE around the legs I am cutting it 1/2 the amount of the total length of area that the elastic would be applied to ?  Thank you for any direction __ 

21 July 2013

Hi!! I am new on cloth diapering, went to Joann and bought the DIY Babyville cloth diapers book. I'm trying to understand the instructions but really they are very confusing. Looks like this is more for savy, experienced sewers than for a begginer. I'm working on a flannel lined pocket diaper and unfortunately I already messed up the diaper. I checked your tutorial but your design its somehow different than the one that it calls on book. I am very frustrated at this point, about to give up on this project. Do you have any advice on how to make this easier for me? thanks

Jessica F
21 July 2013

Hi there!  I am Jessica the designer behind this tutorial.  I have a video tutorial I am going to link that should be much more helpful.  The video is of a fitted diaper.  You would do a pocket the same basic way.  Let me know if this helps!http://thecraftegal.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/how-to-sew-cased-elastic/

8 June 2013

Thank you for the combined fabrics idea, certainly a good way to use 'all' the fabric. Just one very important tip, I found out the hard way that it is VITAL to steam the PUL fabric on the fabric side BEFORE you make the diapers. I bought the Ultimate Pocket Diaper book and followed the directions only to have leaky diapers. I called JoAnn Fabrics and learned about the steam pressing, my book did not have that instruction!

First Grandbaby
12 January 2013

Would like to print projects. How do I do that?

13 January 2013

To print, just hover over the orange 'Share' button at either the beginning or end of a tutorial and click one of the print options (Print Friendly works great!). Hope this helps!

9 November 2012

How come when I cut out my pattern pieces they don't match up. I sewed the small pattern that I bought and it looks like a mess.

10 November 2012

It sounds like the Pul is stretching or shifting when you see it together. If you have followed the instructions above and the edges of the diaper are not matching up on the end of the sewn seam, it could be a tension issue on your machine. Most likely, however it is the fact that you need a Teflon foot or even feed foot to use when sewing PUL. You can also put strips of transparent tape on the bottom side of your press er foot , trim it to fit the foot, then sew the PUL. Try this and see if it helps.

Jessica F
29 August 2012

I just wanted to update everyone that after a year of heavy use this diaper is still in perfect condition!  I dont get any leaks around the legs, nor in the bum.  Still one of my favorite diapers, and it seems my daughters too.  Just the other day she learned to making monkey noises with the aid of her diaper cheeky

28 August 2012

I am a new grandmoither of a 5lb 15oz beautiufl baby boy (born 8/24) and I am making diapers for the first time.  I am using the PUL and lining it with microfleece, and will  try some with flannel.  I am making the style  with the snap in pads.  I have made a fe pads with 2 layers cotton batting and flannel on both outsides.  But I have many small piece of micro fiber left from the linings of the diapers.  Can I use it instead of flannel for the outside of the pads (stil using cotton batting on inside).

9 March 2012

This is so cute! Did you do anything special where the print and solid PUL are joined?  What about all the needle holes?  Thanks.

Jessica F
29 August 2012

I did not do anything particularily special where my print and solid PUL meet.  I sewed the together then flipped the seam up and topstitched.  As long as you are using polyester thread you should not get any leaks.  For the needle holes just toss it in the dryer on high like when you are sealing the sewing around  you leg elastic casings.  Should heal up just fine.

4 February 2012

This tutorial is excellent, thank you! I have one question though...I'm making the hybrid snail shell, when sewing it inside out are you saying I just leave a small gap for the elastic?  Thanks! Also do you sew down the elastic or sew just to the left of it?

Jessica F
29 August 2012

So sorry for not replying to this.  Yes you would just leave a small gap somewhere on your diaper.  The front center of the belly would work well. :)

27 January 2012

Are you sewing down the elastic or next to it? I have been told never to pin PUL, do you not have trouble with the extra holes in it? 

27 January 2012

Wanted to add in regards to the pins, that I have always pinned like this and never had any leak problems from it.  As long as you dry in in the drier on hot to seal up any holes it will be fine :)

27 January 2012

Hi!  I am indeed sewing right through the elastic and the inner and outer layers :)  As long as you are using a poly elastic you wont get any more chance of leaking that with cased leg elastic.  I was afraid to try it at first but not having a serger I couldnt do the "standard" blind elastic method.  This is one of my favorite diapers and has been used every other day for the past 4 months without any leaks.  I am actually looking at it right now and if it werent for the fact that there is some drier lint on the inner it still looks brand new :)

27 January 2012

Fantastic!  I used to do that all the time for fitteds, but have never tried it for pockets.  I will definitely try this.  Thanks so much.

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