Cloth Diapering Glossary

New to cloth diapering? Here’s a handy list of common terms!

Absorbent Layers

Usually found in a soaker, but can also be sewn into a fitted diaper, AIO or an AI2. Absorbent layers are usually natural fabrics like cotton, bamboo, hemp, cotton terry cloth, French terry (knitted terry cloth with soft loops), cotton fleece (like sweatshirt fabric), cotton velour, cotton flannel, cotton or bamboo batting (must be quilted through all layers of soaker to stabilize), birdseye, gauze, cotton twill.

All in One (AIO)

A fitted diaper with a waterproof outer layer and stay dry lining. Multiple soaker layers are permanently sewn flat into the diaper “wet zone.”

All in Two (AI2)

A fitted diaper with a waterproof outer layer and stay dry lining. Multiple soaker layers are either sewn down the center of the diaper or snapped into the diaper at the back.

Ballpoint Needles

Sewing machine needles with a slight “ball” point. Good for easily penetrating knits and making small holes without tearing fabric.

Braided Elastic

Polyester covered braided elastic. Use for back pocket, front pockets and leg openings.

Contour Soaker

A soaker created with contour lines similar to an hourglass, may snap into a diaper cover or be laid into it. Soakers absorb baby’s wetness.

Diaper Cover

Waterproof PUL outer that goes over a prefold or fitted diaper.

EZ Adjust Tape

A secure grip hook and loop with sealed selvedges suitable for rigors of repeated wash and dry cycles that diapers require.

Fitted

A diaper that is sewn without a waterproof cover pattern. Can have snaps, EZ Adjust Tape™ or pins to close. Use under a diaper cover.

Flats

A flat piece of absorbent diaper fabric (birdseye, twill or gauze). It must be folded multiple times to use as a diaper.

Fold Over Elastic (FOE)

A knitted polyester stretch elastic with a center fold line. Use to gather back panels and leg openings and to encase raw edges of a diaper or diaper cover.

Hidden PUL

PUL that has been sandwiched between a non-waterproof outer fabric and an inner stay dry or absorbent lining fabric.

Insert

A multi-layer soaker pad used to stuff into a pocket diaper.

One Size

A diaper with multiple snap rows to adjust the rise of the diaper as baby grows.

Plastic Snaps

Durable, non-rusting polyacetal resin snaps that are applied with snap pliers. Excellent closure for cloth diapers.

Pocket Diaper

A fitted diaper with a waterproof outer and an absorbent or “stay dry” lining. Pocket diapers can have back pocket opening, front pocket opening, sham opening or welt pocket opening. Diaper is stuffed with prefolds or soakers for absorption.

Polyester Thread

Quality 100% polyester thread is necessary to avoid wicking of moisture to the thread and migration of wetness to outside of diaper.

Prefold Diaper

A rectangle shaped diaper with extra padding in the middle. Also great for burp cloths.

PUL

A waterproof, breathable polyurethane fabric made with a thin laminate film bonded to polyester knit. It is lightweight, yet durable and is perfect for cloth diapers.

Snap Pliers

Special pliers required to apply plastic snaps.

Stay Dry Lining

Polyester fabric that allows moisture to wick to absorbing layer underneath. Stay dry fabrics are microfleece, suedecloth, polyester cuddle fabrics, athletic mesh jersey, minky, or crushed panne velour.

Stitch Length

The number of stitches per inch that a sewing machine makes.

Stitch Width

The width of a zig-zag or other horizontal decorative stitch.

Three-Step Zig-Zag

Each “zig and zag” is comprised of three separate straight stitches.

Waterproof Layer

Usually PUL but can also be water resistant materials.

Wicking

In cloth diapering, it refers to either the movement or absorption of moisture, depending on the application.

Yoke Diaper

A waterproof diaper cover that has a yoke front and back inside. A soaker or prefold is tucked under the yoke. Yoke edges can be finished with FOE if desired.

Zig-Zag Stitch

A machine stitch which consists of diagonal zig and zag opposite stitches. Zig-zag stitches have stability and stretch properties.