Friday, June 10, 2011

Darling Diapers Free - Newborn and Smaller Newborn

About the pattern:
This is a free pattern that is available in two different newborn sizes; regular newborn and smaller newborn.  There are no instructions included with this pattern; so this pattern is best for someone who has sewn diapers before.  The pattern can be done with a single wing snap, double wing snaps, or with hook & loop.  The pattern allows for an umbilical cord snap-down.

My test diapers:
I used this pattern to make a snapping fitted with the smaller newborn pattern (red pattern) and a hook & loop fitted with the regular newborn pattern (orange pattern).  I really like this pattern; the simple curves of it make it very easy to cut and sew.  The diaper also looks perfectly proportional and so cute!

Diapers on largest setting:

I chose to use the double wing snaps so that the waist and thigh can be adjusted separately.  I think that the single wing snap would also be nice though.  I really like the location of the umbilical cord snap-down because it is not in the way of the wing snaps; so it is easy to fasten the diaper on the smallest setting even when the umbilical cord snap is being used.

For the hook & loop version, I split the loop tape into two pieces so that I could still include the umbilical cord snap.

When compared to the Darling Diapers Unlimited pattern; this really is a completely separate pattern.  She does note that the free pattern is not a sample of the Unlimited pattern, but I was still expecting that they would be very similar.  The rise seems to be about the same, but the Unlimited pattern is narrower through the crotch and the front end is shaped differently.  (In these pictures, the Unlimited diaper is on the left and the free diaper is on the right).

Regular Newborn (note the difference in crotch width):

Smaller Newborn (note the very different snap placement):

Overall opinion:
I really love this pattern.  The curves are so smooth making it a breeze to cut and sew, and the sizing looks perfect for a newborn.  When compared to the Unlimited pattern, I feel like I would have to recommend using BOTH the free and the Unlimited!  The Unlimited pattern has great instructions and larger sizes, but I really like the design of the free pattern as well.  The free pattern doesn’t come in a side-snapping version; which was my favorite closure style when I tested the Unlimited pattern.  I think that the free pattern is the perfect complement to the Unlimited pattern.

Fit update for smaller newborn:
Before umbilical cord falls off:
This diaper is one of my favorites.  The fit at 8lbs is great, but it would also fit smaller babies well.  The two rows of snaps allow me to easily adjust the waist and legs separately to get the perfect fit.  The umbilical cord snap is great.  I tried this diaper again at 8lbs10oz, and it still fit nicely, and not quite on the largest settings.  So, hopefully it'll continue to fit for another pound or so.

4 weeks old - 11 pounds:
At this size the diaper just barely snapped on the largest setting.  It was too tight for me to leave it on my son, so this diaper was officially retired at 11 pounds.
Action shots:

Fit update for larger newborn:
Before umbilical cord falls off:
This diaper fit really nice at 8lbs 10oz.  The angled loop tape worked well so that I could use the umbilical cord snap and keep the diaper well away from the cord.  There is still a nice amount of growing room in this diaper.

Action shots:

4 weeks old - 11 pounds:
At this size the diaper still fits great and has some more room to grow.

2 months old, 14lbs10oz:
Still a great fit on almost the biggest setting.

Get the pattern:
Thank you very much to the mama who provided this free pattern! 

Please feel free to comment about your experience with the Darling Diapers free pattern or with any questions about my review! 


  1. you're such a trooper for doing cloth diapers! let me know how your hoodie turns out!


  2. Can you tell me what fabrics/elastic were used on your darling diapers? Also, where you purchased the fabric/elastic. We only have joann's in town, but can order online. My mom is going to be trying this pattern out for me this week! Thanks.

  3. For my fitted diapers, I use an outer layer of 100% cotton interlock, and also a hidden layer of interlock, and then an inner layer of cotton velour. Joann's has 100% cotton interlock in cute can find it in the apparel section. I buy the solid color interlock and the cotton velour from I like these fabric choices because they are stretchy, so the diapers fit longer, and the velour is soft and squishy. I make inserts out of a variety of materials...hemp, bamboo, 100% cotton sweatshirt fleece, french terry...basically whatever natural fibers I have on hand!

    I buy my elastic from Joanns, it is Dritz braided elastic. For newborn diapers I use 1/4", and for larger sizes I use 3/8".

    I hope this pattern works out well for you...I think it is a really good one!

  4. Very nice review... Just one question. I see that you turned and topstitched the diapers. I have tried once (the free one) and I also TNT-ed it since I don't have a serger facility. I was a bit confused about the seam allowance. How many inches did you add on the pattern for that? Thank you in advance.

  5. Hi Sitha - I did not add any seam allowance on to the pattern because it already includes a 3/8" seam allowance.

  6. I found this blog when I was trying to find instructions for the Darling Diaper free newborn pattern.

    I downloaded the Darling Diaper newborn free pattern and realized it didn't have instructions and there weren't any good ones to find on the internet so I made a tutorial for how to sew it.

    Here is the link to it:


  7. I used this pattern to make snapless fitteds and LOVED it. Thank you for this great blog and reviews. I was a little nervous to take on such a project but now I am a pro and marvel at the quality of what I made.

  8. I'm having trouble with the seam allowance, too. I didn't add any as it said it was included, however now my snaps don't fit on the diaper correctly.

  9. Is it your wing snaps that don't fit correctly? There definitely wasn't a lot of wiggle room with those. In retrospect, I wish I had done a single snap on the wings instead of the double snap; so that is always an option if you can't get the double wing snaps to fit.

  10. I have many of these diapers. How do you recommend washing the diaper covers since the outside has pul. I heard vinegar can damage pul but is fine for my inserts?

    1. I don't actually make mine with PUL; instead I make separate PUL covers to go over the diapers. But, I just wash everything with Tide powder and I don't use any other additives like vinegar or bleach. That works fine for me; but I know it can vary depending on how hard your water is.

  11. I got information regarding baby diapers, healthgenie provides baby diapers in different sizes and style

  12. I just converted a prefold to a fitted using this free pattern. I'm ready to topstitch it, but my diaper is kinda squirrely and keeps flipping inside out. Maybe my elastic is too short? I just guessed on length. Also, it looks like you only topstitched your diaper in the places without elastic. Is that accurate? Should I topstitch around the whole diaper and try to avoid the elastic, or encase it, or just topstitch the non-elastic edges?