DIY: Cloth Diaper Inserts for $1.58ea!

Posted on Posted in Cloth Diapers, DIY

Before I had my newest little one, I went into nesting overdrive! I had decided to cloth diaper as a way to save money and I planned to make every single one of them! What I couldn’t possibly foresee was that Mr. Grey would be a HEAVY WETTER!!

All the posts about making cloth diaper inserts I had read talked about up cycling old flannel or fleece blankets, cotton sheets, towels or the ever popular microfibre cleaning cloths. I tried all of these materials in a bunch of combinations but none seemed to work as well as the Flour Sack Towel (FST).

Mainstays makes a lint free, 100% cotton FST sold in a 5 pack. I found mine at Walmart for $7.88ea. I also found them on Amazon in a 12 pack for $19.99! That means, for 8 cents more you can make 24 individual inserts for $1.66ea! I started using them as a folded insert which would get Mr. Grey through the night up until he was about 6 weeks old (That’s when he really started soaking them through). They went from lasting 8hrs to about 3hrs, so for us, these make great daytime inserts.

Folding and stuffing got old real quick so I decide to create a really simple sewn version that would make for quick stuffing but also wouldn’t take forever in the dryer. These inserts are great for one size pocket diapers on the small or medium setting.

Let’s Get Started!


What you need:

  • Scissors
  • Rotary Cutter ( Fiskars 9521 45mm Contour Rotary Cutter is my favourite kind)
  • Plexi ruler or straight edge (if using rotary cutter)
  • Flour Sack Towels
  • Sewing Machine with overcast ability or serger
  • Thread
  • marking tool
  • Plastic snaps and pliers for snap in inserts/soakers (You can find them on Amazon here.)
  • Free Insert Pattern
  • and Time!!

FST’S come with 2 hemmed edges and 2 selvedge (finished) edges. If you pre wash your towels, which is recommended, these edges will start to curl and twist, they also add bulk to the edges we will be sewing so, we are going to cut them off.


1. Fold the FST in half, hemmed edges together and cut the edges off. It does not need to be perfectly straight.


2. Open the FST and fold in half so finished edges are together and cut them off.

3. Cut the FST in half. Each half of the FST will be combined to make 1 insert. For my heavy wetter, it lasts about ~3-3.5hrs.

step 4 - Cloth Diaper Inserts DIY

4. The previously hemmed edges will be crooked due to the unevenness of the FST. Using a rotary cutter and plexi ruler, square up the shorter edge. (you can also use scissors you just have to mark with a ruler before you cut.)


5. Next we fold. Follow the visual above for both halves of the FST. The inserts should measure between 4.5″ and 5″ wide. It will vary based on the unevenness of the FST.

Now that they are folded into the shape we want it’s time to make a design choice. If you want rounded corners on your inserts (like most store bought inserts) continue to step 6. If you want them to remain square (and to reduce the amount of time making these take) skip to step 7.


6. Find a jar, glass or something round that will give you the curve you want. Align the curve of the jar with the side and top of the insert just inside the corner and trace, or use my insert pattern. Do this with all 4 corners. Cut along the curves you just drew.


7. Time to sew!! On a serger (or a sewing machine with the overcast stitch like I am using) Stitch around the outside edge of the insert starting in the centre of the shorter edge followed by the long open edge. Doing it in this order will help prevent the layers from shifting too much.

At this point you can say you are done! You can use these single inserts as they are which allows for more custom control. You can double, triple or even stack 4 together for max absorbency. (it starts to get rather bulky using more than 4 at a time)

8. I know that I will be using at least two at a time so I have stitched 2 together. Here’s how.

Mark the insert .5″ down from the top of the shorter edge and 1.5″ from either side. Line up the 2 insert pieces and stitch them together.


Right now, I know that my little heavy wetter will soak through a double insert (2 inserts stitched together) with 3 hours or so. I like to use a double insert  and one single insert (total 3 inserts) just to make sure that if I change him before I put him down for a nap and he sleeps for 2 hours we don’t have any accidents, especially if he has drank a lot!!

How do these inserts work for you? Let me know, leave a comment!



2 thoughts on “DIY: Cloth Diaper Inserts for $1.58ea!

  1. I was thinking of adding microfiber sheets in between the flour sack sheets to add absorbancy rather than double stuffing.

    But you could also use bamboo or hemp which is absorbant as well

    What are your thoughts?

    1. That’s a great idea… I’ve use microfiber in an alternate style insert. I also have tried zorb in between as a night time option! Just keep in mind… always keep micro fibre away from baby’s skin.

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