Understanding the fabrics
- Bamboo fleece – this is a knit fabric. It is often used as the center layer of diapers and doublers to provide more structure for the diaper and for absorbency. Similar to the knit fleeces used in sweatpants, it has a flat side and a fleece side, and is very easy to work with.
• Bamboo terry – resembling a towel, terry fabric consists of thousands of small loops. Bamboo terry is stretchy and very absorbent, and is often used on the outer layer of bamboo fitted and prefold cloth diapers that are fastened with Snappis.
• Bamboo velour – this is soft, knit fabric. It is very absorbent, and is often used as the inside layer of the diaper. Bamboo velour does not wick moisture, but feels comfortable when wet. This material is quite slippery feeling and can be hard to sew
Bamboo fabric is a natural textile made from the pulp of bamboo grass.
The Bamboo used to produce fabrics (not the same as Panda food) is easily replenished and requires no pesticides to grow.
Bamboo is considered one of the most sustainable plants because it grows quickly and does not require chemicals or irrigation, and biodegrades more quickly than oil-based synthetics.
Bamboo rayon is made by dissolving pulp bamboo into its cellulose component and then spun into viscose fibers.
Clothing made of bamboo rayon typically lasts even longer and holds its shape even better than clothing made of simple bamboo fiber.
Hemp inserts are a real work-horse in the cloth diapering world – they are durable and super thirsty! You won’t find much 100% hemp fabric, it is usually blended with cotton (45% cotton, 55% hemp), which makes it softer and more comfortable. Hemp does come off the clothes line quite stiff, though, so you may want to soften it up in the dryer! For my son, we used hemp cloth diaper inserts almost exclusively. The hemp inserts and boosters from AMP Diapers are one of my absolute favorite products!
Hemp creates one of the most eco friendly fabrics in the world.
Hemp requires no pesticides, crowds out weeds without herbicides, controls erosion of the topsoil, and produces oxygen.
It is a renewable resource that can be cultivated in as little as 100 days and is the world’s most versatile fiber.
Fabrics made from hemp are considered by many to be hypoallergenic and non-irritating to the skin.
Current tests indicate that hemp is able to kill staph and other bacteria that come in contact with its surface.
Like linen and cotton, hemp is a cool choice for summer.
It breathes well. It is recommended for warm, humid climates as the fabric resists mildew and absorbs moisture.
80% cotton 20% polyester high quality, plush, soft cotton velour.
Velour feels similar to velvet, in that it is a pile fabric. Soft and thick, velour is a luxurious fabric for nappies. Velour can be used next to baby’s skin, or any area of the diaper. It is absorbent and does not have wicking properties like 100% polyester fleece.
Plush Fleece / Minky
These two fabrics are very soft and super great for inner or outer of diapers. But although they are super soft for inners, they do not wick as well as some other fabrics. But they do pull the wetness away from baby and NO NOT STAIN! Also if you have this fabric for an outer it will not absorb any of the wetness like a flannel or cotton fabric would. Makes for a longer lasting diaper.
Suedecloth is a 100% polyester fabric that works similar to microfleece. It does not absorb moisture, but used right next to baby, it wicks moisture away and keeps baby dry. Some feel that it does not keep baby as dry as microfleece does, but it does not pill up like microfleece can and stays looking new even after a few years of use. Some feel that it resists stains better than microfleece as well.
Athletic wicking jersey – AWJ
Athletic wicking jersey has come over to cloth diapers from athletic wear. We offer Athletic wicking jersey knit with birdseye dimples. Athletic wicking jersey is a lightweight 190 gsm – good for diaper lining, and as a stay-dry top layer for inserts and pads. It has birdseye dimples for extra breathability and it is not a see-through fabric.
Woven fabrics do not have any “give”, they aren’t stretchy like knits are. They are often easier to find in cute prints than knit fabrics are, and are far more durable, and therefore are a popular choice for the outside of diapers, covers, and all in ones. I wouldn’t use a woven fabric next to the baby’s skin unless it was very, very soft. Get a pre washed scrap wet and see how it feels next to the skin – if it’s scratchy, don’t use it right next to baby. Woven cottons stay looking nice much longer than flannel or knits. If you want diapers to look just as vibrant as the day you made them, use a woven print on the outside instead of a knit or flannel.
Knit fabrics are popular in diapers, they are soft and come in a variety of colors and cute prints. Some people prefer to have 100% cotton next to their baby’s skin. Some people prefer a bit of poly for durability. Remember that knits are considered a delicate fabric! They are cute and soft but are NOT very durable. Knits should not be pinned. Plastic snaps should be applied with care through multiple layers and stabilized with a stronger fabric or interfacing or you’ll run the risk of the “button hole effect” where your snap will wear a hole through the knit and pop off. This can pose a choking hazard for small children. Metal, multi-pronged snaps are ideal for knit fabrics. When using hook and loop closures on a diaper that has knit parts, sew fold back laundry tabs on, or the hook part will wear out the knit in the wash.
Heavier weight interlocks can be used in soaker pads, or in a soaker pad with other fabrics. 4 layers on its own, or surround a couple layers of knit terry with it for a soft absorbent soaker pad.
Polyester fleece is a synthetic, man made fabric. Some babies may be sensitive to synthetics.
Fleece is a plastic, man made cousin to Wool. Both fibers work similarly as far as keeping moisture contained. A wool fabric used as a diaper cover actually absorbs the moisture keeping your sheets and laps dry. Polyester doesn’t absorb, but traps the moisture molecules between its fibers.
Microfleece is 100% polyester and a superior moisture-wicking diaper fabric. It is used next to baby’s skin to keep baby feeling dry and comfortable even in a wet diaper. Microfleece resists staining, and does not hold poo like other diaper fabric can. Best of all, it’s so soft and cushy for baby. Microfleece is 100% polyester and a superior moisture-wicking diaper fabric. It is used next to baby’s skin to keep baby feeling dry and comfortable even in a wet diaper. Microfleece resists staining, and does not hold poo like other diaper fabric can. Best of all, it’s so soft and cushy for baby.
Windpro is a popular polar fleece from Malden Mills, one of the leading fleece manufacturers. It was designed to keep out wind and water while still allowing for air circulation – sounds perfect for cloth diapers, doesn’t it? Available in light, mid and heavy weights, Windpro makes a soft, cushy yet waterproof diaper outer or cover.
“PUL” is a phrase was coined by a mom who ran the first co-op for polyurethane laminate fabrics. Some say it like the word “pull” some refer to it by saying the letters, “P-U-L”. In diapering this fabric is usually a polyester knit, tricot, or a poly/cotton blend that is bonded to the urethane layer making it waterproof. While many remember the rubber pants of yester-year that yellowed, cracked, and retained odor, PUL is a vast improvement. PUL makes soft, leak proof covers and All in One diapers (diapers with the cover sewn right in). PUL can also be used to make bed wetter sheets, training pants, cloth menstural pads, and nursing pads.
The medical industry uses PUL fabric for their surgical gowns and drapes because they are fluid proof and can be autoclaved at high temperatures to sanitize. Because this fabric is built to withstand high temperatures, it can be washed on hot and dried on hot. Covers and All in One diapers sewn with PUL will last through a child’s entire diapering period and often will still be in good enough condition to use on a second or third child.