DIY Longies and covers – How to draft your soaker pattern

Wool soaker on baby

Draft a pattern for this wool soaker

Hi, and welcome back to my series on making your own custom longies, shorties and covers in wool and fleece for your baby. If you missed the first post, check it out here.

Warning: this post turned out longer and not as clear as I’d have liked, so sorry and please feel free to ask as many questions as you would like.

This post is a how-to on drafting a pattern for the soaker in the picture above.

There are two very popular free patterns on the net:  The Katrinas Quick Sew Soaker Pattern, and the Baby Bumsweaters Pattern. These are both awesome patterns offered for free, which is a great resource. Each of the patterns has things I really like about it and things I don’t like so much. I will admit that this pattern is a bit of a combination of the two – the best of both worlds I hope.

You can see some gorgeous examples of the Katrina’s pattern here at Scrimplythrifty’s Blog, here at Cleanin’ Up, and here at Sew 4 Bub (this is a fleece one). After much research on the net and trying the pattern myself I have gathered the following feedback on the Katrina’s soaker pattern: These tend to be short-ish in the rise, so if your kiddo is longer in the rise it is best to cut the rise setting for the next size up. This is also said to be a better pattern for wool than fleece because fleece does not have as much stretch and there may not be enough space in the behind of this pattern for all that nappy if it is made in fleece. And lastly, a lot of people seem to cut different pieces of different sizes to get the perfect fit for their little one, for instance, the small size with the medium rise, or the large but with the medium leg and waist measurements etc.

Some lovely examples of the Baby Bum Sweaters pattern can be found here at Life in a Shoe, here at Of Babies, Bikes and Owls, and here in GentlyMades shop on Etsy. I have made this pattern in both wool and fleece, with short legs and with long and every time it has been a fantastic fit and has offered great coverage for the nappy. The major drawback of this pattern is the look, not the shape so much but the placement of the seams makes this cover look a bit cobbled together and a little amateurish. It is also difficult to add a double thickness portion to the wet zone without adding more crazy seams. lastly, because this is made from a triangle, you cannot adjust the waist and rise measurement independently of each other (very easily).

So without further ado I will show you how to draft this pattern which hopefully combines the fantastic modern look of the Katrina’s pattern with the fit of the bumsweater.

Firstly you will need to be armed with:

1. A piece of paper A3 or larger

2. A pen and a ruler/measuring tape

3. Your babies measurements (from the last post here)

Shorties Pattern

The basic shape, I thought I would put the pic in first so that you knew what I was talking about.

First draw a T-shape. The width of the top of the T is equal to half of your baby’s waist measurement. The length of the bottom part of the T is equal to the whole rise measurement.

Next draw a line across the bottom of the T equal to the one at the top and a line across the middle that is equal to half of your baby’s hip measurement.

Then join up the sides as shown.

Shorties Soaker Pattern 2

The yellow part will become the front of your soaker.

The yellow shaded part of the picture above will become the front of your soaker and the white part the back.

The next thing is to draw a diagonal line on each side (as shown at 5) that will become the leg holes. Each line should be half your baby’s leg measurement less 1/2cm (to accommodate seam allowance) The dotted lines in the picture above are just guidelines to show the angle that you are after.

Shorties Pattern 3

A double portion in the wet zone

If you need a double portion in the wet zone, rule two lines parallel to the centre line, each 1cm in from the end of the leg hole.

You will also need to draw 3 rectangles for the waist and leg cuffs. The waist rectangle should be a couple of cm shorter than your baby’s waist measurement and between 6 and 10cm wide depending on how wide you want your waist band. Your leg cuff rectangles should be your baby’s leg measurement long and between 6 and 10 cm wide, again depending on how wide you want your cuffs.

and then you have your pattern.  All sewn up it will look like this:

Hatchlings Wool Soaker free pattern

Hatchlings Free wool soaker pattern all sewn up.

Wool Shorties soaker

Another action shot

Stay tuned for the next post on how to sew it all together.

21 thoughts on “DIY Longies and covers – How to draft your soaker pattern

  1. Pingback: DIY Longies and covers – How to measure Bubs | Hatchlings Cloth Nappies

  2. Pingback: Testing the Katrina’s Quick Sew Soaker Pattern | Sew 4 Bub

  3. Pingback: Draft and sew your own wool and fleece nappy covers | Sew 4 Bub

    • Hi Misty,
      Apologies about the delay in posting the next instalment in this series – things have got a bit crazy around here and this one slipped off my radar. I will get to it soon as I can. I had a look at tutorial you used, and that is pretty much the technique. I suspect the problem has come from the fact that the pattern we drafted does not include seam alowance, so if you cut it out without adding seam allowance it will be smaller all over when you sew it up. This wouldnt be a huge problem if you were using stretchy wool but would definately be noticable with fleece or firmer felted wool.
      Hope this helps


  4. Just wondering if u posted the instructions. Mine ended up really wide in the bum. Havent tried them yet but they dont look right

    • Hi Rina

      they do seem a very strange shape without a baby in them, how were they after you tried them on?

      I havent posted instructions (things got a bit hectic here and blogging has taken a back seat) but if you have any questions please ask me here and I will do what I can to help.

  5. Hello! First time trying to make a soaker and I am having some difficulty reading your pattern. I understand the front and back, I am just having some difficulty knowing what and where to cut!
    Love the look of these and would like to make some :]

    • Hi,
      You only need to cut around the outside (dont forget to add seam allowance) and along the solid line marked 5. That way when you fold it vertically and sew up the side seams there will be two slits that you can insert the leg cuffs into.

      Hope that helps


  6. I cannot get this pattern to make sense. I have gone over it many times, and for some reason it just does not seem straight in my head. I the drawing all one piece? Or is that stripe down the middle a second piece? It may just be me and my foggy brain, but I cannot figure this out! Have you posted Part Two of this project yet?

    • Hi Courtney,
      Life has gotton in the way and I have not had time for blogging in quite some time so sorry I have not had a chance to post part two.
      The stripe down the middle is an optional double layer that, should you choose to include it, you would just sew to the main piece before you sew the other seams.
      apart from that it is one whole piece.
      you need to fold the bottom up and sew the side seams then attach the leg cufs into the slits that you cut (marked 5 on the pattern) and the waistband around the top.
      Hope that helps

  7. For those that are confused, mark the right side(outside) of the cover and from the wrong side(inside) sew in the liner with zig zag around edges- after that, i think you fold it in half, right sides folded faced together, sew up side seams. Legs should be sewn next, sew up the leg cuffs together, then turn cover inside out- tuck the legs in right sides of the cover to right sides of the legs (pin top and bottom and both sides to the top bottom and sides of cover, pin between stretching to match all the way around- matching leg cuff seam to inside leg) and sew the cuff to the cuts in the cover, then match waist seam to back of cover (or where you like) pin front back and sides and pin between stretching to match all the way around the waist, sew with zig zag or serger. should be done. make sure after every stitch to check that you get all of the layers sewn together before you move on to the next part.

  8. I hope you make the follow up post for this! Your wool covers are so much more fitted than anything else I’ve seen. I would love to make some for my son as he’s a SOAKER! Please make the next post! You probably don’t even have kids in nappies anymore…

  9. I hope this post stays up forever!!! What a PERFECT tutorial for custom diaper covers. I made one for my infant and it fits just as amazingly as the Disana covers. I love all the extra room in the butt, which is just what infants in cloth diapers need. We use the Disana tie nappy underneath. Also, since the leg holes are placed in the front of the cover, it’s much more suited to infants, since they frequently keep their legs bent upwards in a semi-fetal position.


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