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Diaper Fabric 101

Understanding diaper fabric is as easy as 1 - 2 - 3.


The most common type of cloth diaper that people start with is the pocket diaper, so we will use a pocket diaper for our examples.

1. PUL Fabric

The outer shell of the diaper. Keeps wetness in, and your lap dry.


The fabric used for cloth diapers is a waterproof laminate called PUL, which stands for Polyurethane Laminate. The PUL fabric we recommend is  Eco-PUL™, a high-quality PUL fabric made in USA. Choose any of our PUL fabrics with confidence for your diaper sewing - Eco-PUL™ has been worn by thousands of babies and it works. Learn more about our PUL fabric.


2. Stay-Dry Fabric

The inner lining of the diaper. Sometimes as a top layer on a lay-in insert.


Stay-dry fabric is used to keep the skin feeling dry. Wetness wicks through the fabric - stay-dry fabric does not absorb. Your choice of stay-dry fabric is a more a matter of personal preference than which is "best." All work well for diaper inserts, linings, and pocket diapers. Here is an overview:

  • Microfleece - stretchy, comfortable for baby to move; need to pin, glue, or use walking foot to sew
  • Suedecloth - does not stretch, so diaper needs to be cut roomier; easy to sew; thinner than microfleece
  • Athletic wicking fabric - stretchy; extremely trim liner fabric; silky feel
  • Minky - does not stretch, cuddly-soft surface, dimple dot texture; medium weight

3. Absorbent Fabric

The diaper insert, or any part that soaks up wetness.


Absorbent fabrics are used to soak up liquid in cloth diapers. Any of our absorbent fabrics will work for this. How do you know which one to choose? It's mostly a matter of personal preference. (You can read our take on it here.) The most popular choice is Bamboo Fleece, if you are new to diapers that would be a good fabric to try first. You might also want to order swatches, so you can touch the fabrics and decide which you like best.

Need more? We have articles on choosing fabric for inserts and how to design a diaper insert.