Sew Your Own Cloth Pull-Up

Without the insert.

The soaker/stuffer.  Next time I’d make the front a bit thicker.  For now I just stuff another smaller soaker in towards the front.

There you can see the pocket with the soaker already stuffed into it.

Locked, loaded, and ready to go.

My first child was some sort of genius when it came to potty training.  It was probably all the infant potty training I did with him.  He was fully daytime trained by 18 months.  He couldn’t talk yet, but he could sign “potty”.  We moved when he was two, which set him back into diapers.  That was frustrating, but three months later, he was day and night potty trained, with rarely an accident since.  When baby number two came along, I didn’t infant potty train (mostly due to three moves in seven months).  So he’s taking a bit longer than I’m used to.  The main thing is the night training.  He’s not very reliable yet and the trash (disposable) pull-ups are the worst thing for him.  They are probably the whole reason he isn’t night potty trained yet.  When I put him in pull-ups for the night, it seems to set him back even in his daytime training, even though he’s been very reliably daytime trained since he was two!  So forget that!  Pull-ups are the anti-potty trainer.  They basically train your child to go in their pull-up, because they can feel no wet (and no, the “cold sensation” ones don’t work), and they also leaked – a lot.

I had to choice but to go on the hunt for a good cloth pull-up pattern.  The tinkle time pocket trainer had good reviews, so I bought the pattern.  This is a very thorough pattern.  This pattern actually includes six different options for the pull-up.  I chose to make option two, the one that resembles a disposable pattern.  It took me two days (not really that long – I only worked on it really for two evenings after the kids were in bed).  I’m a beginner sewer.  Everything I sew, I’m doing for the first time, with the exception of the soaker.  I frequently youtube sewing techniques.  I even had to youtube how to attach the walking foot to my sewing machine.  I didn’t even know I had a walking foot until a few days ago.  I also e-mailed Hope from Ladder Hill Design a couple of times with questions about the pattern and she got back to me immediately.

Thanks to a very generous lady in Rochester (last place we lived), I had a nice supply of cloth diaper making fabrics.  I already had the PUL, a hemp fabric for the soaker, and a couple of old t-shirts for the liner.  The only thing I bought is the power stretch fleece.  This is the stretchy water proof fabric that I used around the legs and waist.  The pattern sent me to Mill Direct Textiles and I ordered item number 9405-10190.  The only downside is that they charge another $8 for shipping, making it basically $17 a yard.  The good thing is, you need much less than a yard for one pull-up.  I just bought a yard, so I’d have plenty.  You could probably easily get by with 1/2 yard for three pull-ups.

I’m very happy with this pattern and the finished product.  It has already had to prove itself – twice.  The best way to wash the pull-up is to take the insert out (of course) and turn the outer cover inside-out.  Dry it however you dry your laundry.  The PUL cover can stand up to the dryer heat.  Two out of four nights, Luke woke up dry.  It shouldn’t be too much longer until he’s completely potty trained.  Woohoo!!

Update added 9-26-11: After using the pull-ups for the last month and a half, we were having many leaks.  I was getting sorely disappointed and very tired of washing sheets.  I didn’t give up though.  I e-mailed Hope, because I knew this pull-up pattern has worked for people, according to the rave reviews on  I had two options: sew another with tighter leg & waist bands, or just buy one that Hope made.  Well, me, being the lazy kind, just took the pull-up in a little – on each leg and the waist, just to see if that was the problem.  Sure enough, no more leaks!  So, if you intend to sew your own, make SURE you make it extra tight around the legs and waist.  She (Hope) specifically notes this in the pattern, but I didn’t make it tight enough.  Another thing she suggested was adding an inch or two to the rise.


  1. 1


    these look great elisa! so much comfier than traditional pull-ups. do you use cloth diapers? i did regular diapers with ezra but am wondering about cloth diapers for number two.

  2. 4


    Is there a place you can buy instead of make them? One day I’ll get in to the sewing bit but between my lack of time and the fact that my girl is 3 and not yet potty-trained, I’m looking for some options. Pull-ups definitely haven’t worked for us either…

  3. 7


    Really nice pants, Elisa! My oldest was rather old when he finally stayed dry at night (after using alarms and elaborate wake up schemes the doctor recommended medication) and I bought some pull up pants that looked very much like those. I really liked them so much better than disposables. Nice job sewing!

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