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Cloth Types

Cloth Diapers Today



Flats are the oldest style of diaper and are still in use today.  A flat is typically a large piece of cotton (28 x 28 to 35 x 35) that can be folded in different configurations to fit your child as they grow.  They are absorbent and can be used from birth to potty.  These diapers are not waterproof and require a cover to protect clothing from dampness.


Most people know flats to be made from birdseye cotton, but flannel receiving blankets work well too.  The appeal of flat diapers is the low cost, high speed of drying, and that they are the most ideal cloth diaper for hand washing. 





Prefold diapers are flats made simple!  They are made from birdseye cotton and sewn into layers to avoid the work of folding.  A prefold is divided into three sections with the middle section having more layers of cotton for added absorption.  Today prefolds come in varying sizes depending upon manufacturer and have different edge thread color to indicate sizing.  These diapers are not waterproof and require a cover to protect clothing from dampness.



A prefold can be wrapped/folded around a baby and secured by pins or a Snappi ®.  Today's covers allow for another option.  A prefold can be tri-folded and placed into a cover for quick and simple use.  No extra fasteners required!




Contour Diaper

A contour diaper is a cousin of the prefold and can be made out of a variety of fabrics , including cotton prefold material, bamboo, hemp, and other forms of cotton.  They are cut and sewn into the shape of a diaper.  Some may have elastic sewn into the legs for a better fit.  These diapers fit around baby with no special folding and require a pin or Snappi ® to close.  These diapers are not waterproof and require a cover to protect clothing from dampness.



Fitted Diaper

A fitted is a contoured diaper with either hook and loop or snaps to assist in closure.  These diapers always have added elastic in the legs to prevent leakage.  These diapers are not waterproof and require a cover to protect clothing from dampness.  Fitted diapers are popular and are made in a variety of fabric and are evolving in design and features. 



AIO.jpgAll in One (AIO)  An all in one diaper is a fitted diaper with a waterproof outer layer sewn on the outside and either hook and loop or snaps as a closure.  Typically PUL (polyurethane laminate) is used as the outer layer. The entire diaper is one piece with a special layer against baby's skin in order to pull the moisture away.  There are three common fabrics used as an inner layer; suede cloth, fleece, or jersey.  There is no added work to this diaper.  Just put it on baby and take off when done. 




AI2.jpgAll in Two (AI2) – Hybrid Diapers    This is the newest diaper design to come out on the market.  It takes ideas from all of the other styles and blends them into something entirely new.  This diaper has a waterproof outer layer, elastic, and either hook and loop, or snaps as a closure.  The absorbent layer is a stand-alone insert.  The insert will have a top layer that can touch baby’s skin, either stay dry or a natural fiber.  The inserts can either tuck into the design of the waterproof cover, or will have built in snaps to hold it in place.  Some AI2 diapers allow you to change out these inserts, while others require washing of both parts after one use.  Some of these diapers also have the option of disposable inserts.


Pocket Diapers

pocketdiaper.jpgA pocket diaper is similar to the AIO, but the absorbent inner layer is not sewn in.  It has the outer PUL layer and the moisture wicking inner layer sewn as one piece.  There is an opening for the user to stuff an absorbent insert into the pocket.  Common inserts are made from microfiber, hemp, bamboo, and cotton.  Pocket diapers are very versatile by allowing customized absorption and faster drying time than AIOs because the insert is removed for washing and drying purposes.





There are three main styles of covers.  PUL based covers are waterproof with aplix or snap closures.  Wool and fleece covers are typically pull-up style covers, but can also be made with snaps. 


Diaper Sizing



Sized vs One Size

Now that you have an idea of different styles of diapers, we are going to discuss sizing.  A sized diaper or cover will feature sizing such as S, M, L, XL depending on the manufacturer.  Most of your AIO diapers and fitteds will be sized. Covers can also come in different sizes with PUL either being sized or OS, and fleece and wool typically being sized.  Most pocket diapers are an OS (One Size) style.  They either use a series of snaps located on the front PUL to adjust to different sizes or internal elastic that can be manipulated to give you different sizes.

The styles of diapers continue to evolve as the modern cloth diaper gains in popularity.  This is just a basic guide to the styles that are currently available. If you have any questions about a particular diaper or material, please feel free to email me:  leslie@carolinacloth.com


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