How to Make Homemade Adult Diapers

Homemade adult diapers are fairly simple to sew and much less expensive than using disposables. Once you've purchased the necessary fabrics and notions, your investment in diapers is complete, without the recurring expense involved in buying disposable diapers. When you place smooth, highly absorbent microfiber or fleece fabric on the inside of the diaper, where it will be next to the skin, your homemade cloth diapers will be more comfortable than paper ones. They're also kinder to the environment, with no waste going into the landfills.

An elderly couple at home in the kitchen, the husband is in a wheelchair. (Image: Steve Mason/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Step 1

Purchase a disposable adult diaper in the size needed. Buy a diaper with side flaps that fold toward the middle to fasten it.

Step 2

Remove all of the elastic from the diaper, measure it and note whether it was in the legs or at the back.

Step 3

Iron the diaper with a warm iron to remove wrinkles.

Step 4

Place the outer fabric right side up on a flat surface. Place the microfiber fabric on the outer fabric. Place the terrycloth on the microfiber fabric. Smooth out any wrinkles.

Step 5

Place the ironed diaper, which is now your pattern, on top of the layered fabrics and pin it in place, making sure that the pins catch all three layers of fabric.

Step 6

Cut around the diaper pattern through all layers of fabric.

Step 7

Sew the three layers of fabric together using a 1/2-inch seam allowance, removing the pins as you sew. Leave 3 inches open along the waist front edge for turning.

Step 8

Cut two pieces of 1/4-inch wide elastic for the legs, using the measurement of the elastic you removed from the disposable diaper. Pin the elastic to the leg area, placing it even with the fabric edges. Stretch the elastic as you pin to make it fit.

Step 9

Sew the elastic in place along the leg edges.

Step 10

Cut a piece of 1/4-inch wide elastic for the back waist according to the measurement of the elastic you removed from the disposable diaper. If the disposable diaper had no elastic in the waist, cut a piece of elastic equal to 1/4 of the wearer's waist measurement.

Step 11

Fold the elastic in half to find the center, and pin its center to the center of the diaper's back waist. Keep the edges of the elastic even with the fabric edges. Pin the elastic in place, stretching it to cover twice its cut length.

Step 12

Sew the elastic to the back waist of the diaper.

Step 13

Turn the diaper right-side out, using the the opening in the waist front. The outer fabric should be on the diaper's outside and the microfiber should be on the diaper's inside, with the terrycloth sandwiched between them and not visible.

Step 14

Press the seam allowances of all three fabrics to the inside along the opening in the waist front. Top stitch the entire length of the waist front using a 1/4-inch seam allowance.

Step 15

Cut two pieces of hook-and-loop fastener that are the same length as the side flaps.

Step 16

Separate the hook-and-loop fastener into its smooth and textured sections. Put the smooth sections to one side.

Step 17

Pin the textured sections of hook-and-loop fastener lengthwise to the edges of the side flaps. Pin the fastener to the microfiber on the inside of the diaper.

Step 18

Sew the textured hook-and-loop fastener sections in place.

Step 19

Pin the smooth hook-and-loop fastener sections to the outside fabric on the diaper front, matching them to the textured hook-and-loop fastener sections on the side flaps. Measure the closed diaper to be sure it will fit, and adjust the placement of the smooth fastener sections if necessary.

Step 20

Sew the smooth hook-and-loop fasteners sections in place.

Things You'll Need

  • 1 disposable adult diaper in the size needed

  • Iron

  • 1/2 yard each of waterproof outer fabric, terrycloth and microfiber

  • 1/4-inch wide elastic

  • Hook-and-loop fastener

  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat

  • Thread

  • Sewing machine


To save money on fabrics, purchase microfiber cloths and terrycloth towels at the dollar store.

If you prefer to use a soft outer fabric such as flannel rather than a waterproof fabric, purchase adult-sized plastic pants to use as a protective outer layer.

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