DIY Pail Liner – No Serger? No Problem!

An important part of cloth diapering is having a place to put the dirty ones until you get a chance to wash them.  This is where your diaper pail and pail liner come in. With diaper making supplies now available at popular craft stores making your own PUL pail liner is easy and you don’t even need a serger.

Gather your supplies:

  • PUL fabric
  • Fold over Elastic (FOE)
  • Cutting Utensil
  • Sewing Machine and thread

Measure your pail to find out how tall and wide your pail liner needs to be. First measure the circumference around the widest part of your pail. We sew in the 2D plane, so we’re going to divide that number in half to determine wide our liner has to be and then I like to add 2-3 inches. 1 for seam allowance and a couple extra for wiggle room. Measure the height of your pail including the base. On a round pail it’s just rim to rim under the bottom. On a rectangular pail you’ll want to go from rim to rim with your measuring tape on the wider side of the pail. This gives us the up and down measurement, we divide in half because we’re going to cut our PUL on a fold and then add about 6 inches to give us enough length to fold over the top of the pail.

Don’t want to do the math? Most full sized pail liners measure about 26”x28”.


Here we have our PUL cut to our measurements. I’m making a mini pail liner so it measures 16”x19”. There is a fold at the bottom and the stretch of the fabric goes right to left. It’s a little wrinkled, but I could throw it in the dryer for a couple minutes to smooth them out. DO NOT iron your PUL.

The exception is if you’re sealing the edges to minimize leaks. With the shiney sides together run your hot iron down the edge about a half inch.

This melts the laminate together giving you a nice seal. It also helps keep your PUL from slipping around while sewing. Double bonus!

Time to sew! Leaving the shiney sides together sew up the edge about a ¼” from the edges on both sides. Be sure to back stitch at the start and end of your seam. I used a highly visible blue thread.

Trim close to your sewn seam.

Turn your bag inside out so the shiney side is out.

You could choose to be done and skip to the elastic, but this leaves you with exposed edges, so we’re going to sew the sides again with the shiney sides out and repeating that ¼” seam. Odds are you don’t have a Teflon foot and PUL can be grippy with the shiney side out, so you can use tear away stabilizer or pieces of tissue paper on both sides to help you sew and then rip if off after.

Nice hidden edges inside:

Nice seam outside:



You can turn the bag right side out and iron the edges again hiding it all inside the sealed edge and providing further leak protection and then we attach the elastic.

Do not pre-cut your elastic – leave it attached to the roll. I let the roll sit in my lap while I sew. Use a zigzag stitch when attaching your elastic. It’s difficult to photograph, but you have to pull the elastic tight while sewing. I stretch it with my right hand and guide with my left.

Once you get back around over lap about half an inch and then cut your elastic and sew it down being sure to back stitch.

Tada! You now have a PUL pail liner without exposed edges and you didn’t need a serger to do it.

Samantha is a WAHM to four boys; 12, 8, 3, and 1. She lives in Nebraska and enjoys baking, crafting, and evening walks with their dog. When she’s not guest writing for The Pin she’s posting on her own blog at http://cornfedcrunchy.blogspot.com Her family has been going greener since 2008 and they aspire to have a fully self sustainable lifestyle.

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