I have someone who I may be helping though the process of sewing her own cloth diapers and decided to start a few pointers, helpful hints on how to begin and refine the process to end up with nice diapers that look nice, work great and don't waste wonderful material that you probably spent a pretty penny on.
First....find a free pattern, sewing machine and old cotton garments/towels, elastic and thread
don't use snaps or velcro/touchtape/aplix--on the first, wait until you like it for those things. Your first diaper might be unusable for you --and if you really want--you could use it as a fitted using pins and a cover.
depending on the thickness of the fabrics, I would use only 2 thicker "body" layers and with thinner fabrics you could use 3.
Cut out several layers for the soaker layer and zig-zag the edges or serge if you have a serger.
Sew the soaker pad to the inner layer of 2 or middle layer of 3.
Place the right sides together (if using 3, make sure the hidden layer is showing on the outside) and pin together. (use more pins if using knits or stretchy fabrics)
Sew around the edges from one side of the front to the other side of the front, leaving the top of the diaper open for turning the diaper right side out.
Turn the diaper and pin the opening closed.
Two options here... some people sew all around the diaper--which is called topstitching. You can see this diaper here is like that. At the legs, it makes a "casing" around the elastic.
Some people don't like to do the extra work.
But I *usually* do it b/c I feel the explosive or runny BMs are usually contained better this way then by not "casing" the legs.
Below if a picture of a fitted diaper where only the wings/back and the front have been topstitched and the legs have not. This was b/c I was lazy....plus my machine doesn't like to
sew through several layers of fabric and gets rather grumpy when I do.
At this point, make your decision about what you are gonna topstitch and do it!
You are done...try out the diaper on your wonderful child, who I am sure is gonna hold perfectly still for you to see how the fit is on them.
Once you have found a diaper pattern that you like, start making the diapers you want to make.
Stay tuned...sometime in the next week I plan on talking about how to sew the other types of diapers and the pros/cons of different diapering systems!