A homemade, reusable swim diaper for your toddler is easy to make and custom fit.

How to Make Reusable Swimming Diapers for Toddlers

by Kim Blakesley

Thinking of saving money? Who isn't? Being a mom is always tough, because there are always so many things to buy and replace -- and if money's tight -- you want to be frugal and savvy. An inexpensive craft is a reusable swim diaper for your toddler, which is ideal for the kiddie wading pool, and it's easily washed and dried after each use. It's eco-friendly and allows you to use a variety of colors for any color swimsuit. And you can use the same pattern to make diaper covers for your toddler in her cute, little dress.

1 Place a disposable diaper on a flat work surface that fits the toddler securely. Cut the elastic portion off the leg openings of the disposable diaper to create a flat diaper.

2 Open a sheet of newspaper. Place the disposable diaper on the newspaper surface. Trace around the outside edge of the diaper to create a paper pattern, with tailor's chalk.

3 Remove the disposable diaper from the newspaper. Draw a second line 1/2-inch away from the first line. The 1/2-inch section creates the seam for the swim diaper.

4 Place the athletic wicking fabric on a flat work surface. Smooth out any wrinkles with your hands. Place the coated nylon fabric directly on top of the athletic wicking and remove all wrinkles. Repeat the process with the nylon-poly spandex fabric.

5 Position and pin the paper pattern on the surface of the three fabrics. Cut along the outside edge of the pattern, making sure to cut through all three layers.

6 Remove the pattern. Pin the three layers together to prevent sliding. Position the pins so they are approximately 1 inch away from the outer edge.

7 Pin the 1/2-inch seam binding around the outer edge of the diaper with straight pins. Sew into place with a straight seam in the center of the seam binding. This will secure the three layers of fabric together.

8 Measure the top back edge and the top front edge of the reusable swim diaper with a fabric measuring tape. Divide each number by two thirds or .66 to figure the length of elastic needed for each area. Measure and cut a piece of 1/2-inch wide knit or braided elastic for the front and back of the swim diaper. For example, the back of the diaper is 12 inches long. Two thirds of 12 is 8.

9 Measure the distance around the curve of the leg opening. Divide the measurement by two thirds or .66. Measure and cut two pieces of 3/8-inch wide knit or braided elastic. For example, the leg opening measures 18 inches. Two thirds of 18 is 12 inches.

10 Turn the reusable swim diaper over so that the athletic wicking is on top. Position the proper cut piece of 1/2-inch-wide knit or braided elastic just below the bias tape on the top back edge of the diaper. Move the elastic so that one end is just to the inside of the bias tape on the side edge of the diaper.

11 Set the sewing machine to zigzag. Position the needle in the center of the elastic. Tack the elastic in place by sewing two zigzag stitches, back stitching two zigzag stitches, and then proceed forward. Zigzag the elastic in place by pulling the elastic while sewing, so that it extends across the entire length of the area. Make sure to keep the top edge of the elastic flush with the bottom edge of the bias tape. Repeat the process with the front top edge of the swim diaper.

12 Position the 3/8-inch-wide knit or braided elastic at the top corner of one leg opening. Position the long edge of the elastic so the outside edge is flush with the inside edge of the bias tape. Sew the elastic to the leg opening using a zigzag stitch. Remember to stretch the elastic during the sewing process so it will extend along the entire leg opening. Repeat the process with the remaining leg opening.

13 Measure and cut the 1 1/2-inch sew-on, fabric hook and loop fastener into two pieces that are 1 1/2-inches long.

14 Place the swim diaper on a flat work surface so that the athletic wicking is facing up and the top back edge is on the top edge of the diaper. Position the loop side or soft side of one piece of the 1 1/2-inch, sew-on hook and loop fastener to the left and right corner. Pin into place so the edges of the fabric hook and loop fastener are touching the edges of the bias tape. Sew into place with a straight stitch around all four sides. This will act as the tab to hold the swim diaper in place.

15 Flip the reusable swim diaper over so the nylon and poly spandex mix fabric is up. Turn the diaper so the top front edge is on the top of the pattern. Position the hook side or rough side of the hook and loop fastener strip on the left and right corner of the top front edge. Move the hook and loop fastener so they are set against the top and edge piece of bias tape in each corner. Pin into place. Sew the hook and loop fastener to the diaper using a straight stitch around all four edges.

Items you will need

  • Disposable diaper
  • Scissors
  • Newspaper
  • Tailor's chalk
  • 1/2-to-5/8-yard of nylon-poly spandex mix fabric -- outer layer
  • 1/2-to-5/8 yard of coated nylon fabric -- hidden layer, optional
  • 1/2-to 5/8 yard of athletic wicking material or suede-cloth -- inner layer
  • Polyester thread
  • 1/2-inch seam tape
  • Fabric tape measure
  • 3 inches of 1 1/2-inch-wide, sew-on, fabric hook and loop fastener
  • 1/2-to-2/3 yard of 3/8-inch-wide knit or braided elastic
  • 3/8-to-1/2 yard of 1/2-inch-wide knit or braided elastic

Tip

  • Replace the sew-on, fabric hook and loop fastener with poly resin snaps, if desired.

About the Author

Kim Blakesley is a home remodeling business owner, former art/business teacher and school principal. She began her writing and photography career in 2008. Blakesley's education, fine arts, remodeling, green living, and arts and crafts articles have appeared on numerous websites, including DeWalt Tools, as well as in "Farm Journal" and "Pro Farmer."

Photo Credits

  • Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images