Before you begin, create a paper pattern for the size and shape desired. You can find a bunch of patterns for PUL covers that work just fine, or you can simply trace an existing cover or disposable diaper the size you want. Make sure to leave a 1/2 inch seam allowance if you are tracing your own.
Step 1: Wash and dry your wool sweater and your cotton topper fabric. I run the sweaters through the washing machine and dryer several times to make sure they are fully felted and the finished cover will not shrink.
Step 2: Cut the seams of your felted sweater until you can fit your cover pattern onto it. Sometimes a sweater is large enough that you can get 2 covers and sometimes they are a little too small to get a full cover and you have to sew on a little extra. Pin your pattern in place and cut it out of the wool.
Step 3: Use the scraps left over from your sweater to cut out an extra piece of felt for the Wet Zone. Make sure this piece is at least 1/2 inch from the edges so that it will not add bulk to your seams. Also make sure not to place it too far forward as snaps are difficult to get to go through super thick fabric that this will create.
Step 4: Sew the extra felt into the Wet Zone and sew on any extra pieces you may have needed to make your piece large enough. Make sure to sew the Wet Zone pad on to the wrong side of your wool piece so that it is not visible in the finished cover.
Step 7 : Cut 3 length of elastic approximately 6 inches long. Very well secure these by stitching over them several times to the leg holes and the back of the cover as shown. You can look at an existing cover to see where you want to place this elastic.
Step 8: Turn your cover right side out through the several inch gap you left when stitching around the cover. Make sure to push all of your corners out so they look neat and tidy. Using lots of pins, secure the elastic around the legs and back. At this point your cover should look a lot like a diaper.
Step 9: Stitch all the way around your cover on the right side. Make sure that you do not sew over the elastic. You will be creating a channel that this elastic can stretch freely through. Make sure that you securely closed the gap you left to turn the cover right side out.
Step 10: Apply your preferred closures. I really like snaps , I use size 20 plastic snaps. You can also use Velcro however I have trouble with this sticking to the wool of the cover. When applying closures I found it easiest to refer to an existing cover to decide where I wanted to place them. I would recommend measuring and marking before adding snaps or velcro to make sure that they are even and not lopsided. I am out of snaps at the moment so my final piece doesn’t have them yet 🙂
A note on fabric choices : I have only made covers from 100% wool. I would strongly recommend not using a wool blend with any sort of man-made fiber like acrylic. I don’t think you’ll get the same waterproofing effect. I have read that you can use cashmere and have a few cashmere sweaters I plan to try but I can’t vouch for the effectiveness yet. I also use thick cotton fabric , an outdoor fabric or upholstery styles. I think thin Quilters cotton wouldn’t hold up as well and may show the color of the wool through.
You will need to lanolize these covers before using for maximum waterproofing. I only have trouble with wicking onto the cotton outter if I try to use these covers overnight. To make an all wool overnight diaper follow the exact same instructions but use wool instead of cotton for the outter. This extra layer of wool makes it ideal for nighttime.