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DIY Non-Wicking Cotton Outer Cloth Diapers

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Generally when you sew cloth diapers (pockets, AI2 and AIOs anyways) you want to have Pul as an outer. This really is a easy way to prevent problems with wicking… wicking is when the pee decides to travel out of the diaper via the fabric. Certain fabrics wick different. I’m not the best person to explain this as I don’t 100% “get in,” but Pul keeps the urine inside better. If you use a cotton outer, even with a hidden layer of Pul, then you may find that the urine soaks through the diaper. It’s not going through the Pul, but rather around the edges of the diaper to the cotton… if I understand correctly. If you think the urine is soaking completely through the Pul then you have a different problem! Haha.

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A lot of people like to make diapers with a cotton outer because then they have a greater choice in fabric. Getting cute Pul fabric is difficult. There are a couple of different techniques that people use to try to avoid wicking.

I used a technique called the Chelory Method. The layers in my cotton outer cloth diapers are (from inside to out): Alova Suedecloth inner, hidden Pul, and cotton outer. These are pocket diapers and the insert tucks between the Alova and the Pul layers. The Chelory Method essentially adds a little scrap of Pul to each cotton layer around the legs which is where the leaks/wicking occur. This helps keep the urine from getting to the cotton to wick through.

This is a link to the YouTube video for the Chelory Method or you can view the video directly:


This is a link to Another Take on the Chelory Method. It gives a picture tutorial which I like to have and it’s a little different than the original method.

Here are my finished diapers… I’m still tweaking my leg elastics due to some leaks, but it’s not due to the Chelory Method. I’ve been tweaking the length of my leg elastic because I believe I’ve been sewing my leg elastics too tight. I think I made these a little too long which has left a slight gap in the back, but I’m going to see how they work after a few washes before taking in the elastic more. Overall I’ve been happy with the new elastic length because Baby G has no elastic marks anymore compared to before where he always had them.

Just a couple of Pul diapers that I completed at the same time to compare. They are definitely less work to sew and cut. Adding the extra piece of Pul to each leg on the cotton outer was a bit of extra work that I didn’t really love. It’s nice to do the cotton outers every now and then if you find some fabric you just HAVE to have a diaper in, but for the most part I’ll stick with the Pul outers.

Are you considering switching to cloth products? Do you love cloth diapering? Curious about cloth products such as cloth menstrual pads, wet bags, and unpaper towels? I just released a fantastic book that is ALL about using, laundering, and sewing reusable cloth products. It even includes instructions on this project! Pick up “The Complete Guide to Using, Laundering, and Sewing Reusable Cloth” today and get started saving money and the environment!

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