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How To: Cloth Diaper Styles

Posted by Fluffy Penguin on

Pockets, covers, all in ones, all in twos - It sounds intimidating, but if you stick with me for a minute I'll ease your mind! 

Cloth diapers have been around since, forever! In different cultures through out time, fabric has been used from birth to potty training! 

It wasn't until 1957 when disposable diapers were invented, that people started veering away from fabrics. If you ask older family members, chances are they know all about it! 

Within the last decade, cloth diapering has really come back around. Gone are the days of clothes pins and shower curtain covers, now we have OPTIONS and COLORS and PRINTS! 

Cloth diaper style chart

(Click here for a larger version)

Below you'll find information on each type of diaper style offered here at The Fluffy Penguin Company!

Flats & Prefolds

A flat is a flat, square piece of fabric that is then folded up and pinned. This is what you might see if you think of "grandmas cloth diapers". Flats are cheap, easy to wash and dry, and work very well but they have quite a learning curve while you're learning to fold them!

Prefolds are flats that have been folded up and sewn in to a smaller square. It takes a few steps of folding out of the equation!

Most flats and prefolds are made of natural fibers - cotton, bamboo, or help. They also work amazing as diaper inserts for pockets or covers.



These are similar to plastic diapers, however there is no waterproof material. You would pair a fitted with a cute cover of your choice! Fitteds are made from several layers of absorbent fabric such as bamboo or hemp. The absorbent layers are available in already sewn in, or they can be snapped in to the inside. 

A diaper cover is just that! A cover that goes over your choice of insert or fitted. Just like the AIO, a cover is made of PUL which acts as a water resistant barrier on the outside. But it requires an absorbent material to function properly.

 Covers come in many different styles and features, but all covers are lacking absorbent materials. They need to be paired with inserts, fitteds, or prefolds to work well. If the outside water resistant layer isn't soiled, you can often re-use covers by changing out the absorbent material.


All In One- AIO

The name says it all! The inside layer is the absorbent layer, which consists of a sewn-in absorbent material. This can be in the form of a single insert, or 'flaps' that are only sewn in on one end.
The covering is made of polyurethane lining, PUL, which is the water resistant outside layer. There is a fabric lining that the insert is sewn in to, and it is then sewn in to the cover. Some leave a pocket so that you can add in another absorbent layer!
AIOs come in a variety of different brands, styles, and fabrics, but the main feature is the sewn-in "all in one" insert. This style is the most like a disposable - all one piece and once it's soiled, you need to change the entire diaper.

All In Two - AI2

All in two diapers are similar to All in One diapers, but the absorbent part usually snaps in or otherwise is attached. These are usually systems made by specific brands.


Pocket inner photo


A pocket is just like a cover, but it has the sewn in fabric layer like an AIO, There is no sewn in insert, but there is an opening at the front or back of the pocket and you simply stuff in your choice of absorbent materials.

Pockets can come in a variety of styles and fabrics, but all have some sort of stay-dry material, water resistant PUL, and opening.


For new-to-cloth caregivers and parents, I recommend trying out each style to find what best suits you and your needs. You might also find that you have different preferences for different circumstances. Maybe AIOs work best for overnights, while fitteds & covers work best during the daytime. Maybe one parent likes to use pockets with inserts, while the other prefers changing out diaper designs with AIOs!


Gift cards are available here and are the perfect gift for a new cloth parent!


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