Can I use a cotton fabric on the outside of cloth diapers?

I have customers ask me about once a week if they can alter my cloth diaper pattern to have a cute cotton fabric on the outside of their cloth diapers. As much as it would be adorable, you simply don’t want to do this!

 “If I get the one size pocket nappy is it possible to sew it without the pocket? I’m wanting to make one size nappy covers, hopefully covered with cotton fabric on the outside, but can’t find any covers that specifically do this. Is it likely to leak every where?”

“Is there any way that I can add cute quilting fabric to the outside of my diaper, as a layer, so that the PUL doesn’t show? I have some really nice prints that I want to show off!”

“Do you think a diaper cover with a printed cotton fabric on the outside would be doable? Do you have a tutorial for this?”

” What if I put a layer of cotton quilting fabric on the outside, sandwiching the PUL fabric in the middle of the diaper so that the outer layer of fabric is cotton and is what shows instead of the PUL?”

Seriously. People want to do this. And I understand! In fact, with my second baby, I was certain that I was going to have an entire stash of cutsie fabric covered diaper covers. I slaved away and made at least 2 dozen adorable diaper covers. I showed them off to my friends and family proudly. Then came time to use them on my sweet pumpkin. When I started using them, although they were incredibly adorable, I was in for an incredibly unpleasant suprise. They leaked like nothing else.
I used polyester thread, thinking that wicking wouldn’t be a problem.
***Side note: “wicking” is a term used in the cloth diapering community for “leaking” where it isn’t supposed to.***

What happened? Every pin hole, thread hole, edges of legs and tummy area were entirely soaked, even when the diaper wasn’t all that wet! I had plenty of soaker fabric in my covers, this shouldn’t have happened right?!
Cotton is an absorbing fabric. No matter what you do. If you have a cloth diaper with cotton attached to it in any way, it’s going to be wet. You can count on it.
So what options are there to have a cute fabric on my baby without it being boring PUL?
If you want to have an outer layer (which is what I prefer when I make diaper covers), use something that is 100% polyester. Minky fabrics, fleece, satin, microfiber, many upholstery fabrics, crushed suede, peach skin, faux suede, Jersey knits (only 100% polyester), jacquards, linen (only 100% polyester), and velour.
There are even more types of polyester fabrics available at many stores, but I wanted to give you a quick list:
Another option is to look in the sheet section at your local super store. I’m not entirely fond of the big box stores, as you may know, but many times, you can find top sheets or pillowcases that are 100% polyester for a bargain! This way, you can make your whole diaper stash for next to nothing.
I hope that helps you understand that you absolutely should NOT use cotton fabric on the outside of your diapers, and that you CAN still use cute fabrics on the outside – namely – Polyester ones.
What about you? Have you tried using cotton on the outside of your diapers? Or other fabrics? Tell me about your experience!



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