I just finished making a set of newborn diapers last week. I must say that making cloth diapers has been so fun! It is something that I make that I use regularly, and I can honestly say that it saves tons of money!
The basic pattern that I use I found here http://www.geocities.com/rew4birth/Diapers.html I have changed it a little bit, but that is the basic. These diapers are amazing! I tried the Gerber pre-folds, LAME! I couldn't ever get them to stop leaking, and I kept going for almost a year, but... it got really old. These are very absorbent, and they have elastic to stop leaks. I am interested to see how they do with newborn poop (gross, I know, but all you moms know what I mean). Zenna was about 8 months old when I started using these for the first time, so she was past the "blow-out" stage. I will let you know! I have read that they work well, though.
For these newborn diapers, I used the fancier fabrics. I used white microfleece for the inner layer. It is supposed to wick the moisture right away from baby's skin. The outer layer is red stretch terry. I use the microfiber towels from Costco for the soaker layer inside. Even with the fancy fabrics inside, the materials cost about $1.50 per diaper. That would increase to probably $2.50 or so for a large size diaper, but still beats $15-$20 for designer diapers.
Folded newborn diaper
When I made my first batch of diapers for Zenna, I used regular Wal-Mart flannel for both inner and outer layers, and the Costco microfiber towels for the soaker. They work great! Those cost about 50-70 cents per diaper. You have to use pins for closure, but after trying a Snappi fastener, I like the pins better. I have never stabbed a baby, and I have cloth diapered all three of them through the stage where they are fighting and kicking and screaming to get off the changing table. They can't get the pins off.
So, that is how you make the diaper, and they absorb great, but you have to have a waterproof cover in order to keep them from leaking all over. To make waterproof covers, I have two fabrics I love. PUL is great during the day. I just make a simple cover with fold-over elastic around the edges. This last time, I made covers with one layer of PUL and a layer of jersey knit in a cute pattern. They are great! The other fabric I like is waterproof fleece. These are great because they breathe well, so at night my baby doesn't get diaper rash. You can get either Velcro to fasten them, or snaps. I just invested in a snap press, and must say that I like the snaps WAY better, but the velcro works well for a lot of people. These fabrics, snaps or velcro, and the elastic I buy online. 1 yard of PUL or fleece (since they are 60 wide) makes about 10 covers (give or take depending on your size).The fabrics are more spendy ($9-12 a yard) but I only have 2 PUL covers and 2 fleece covers. If you make the diapers separate, you can use just a few covers. I have a set of 16 diapers and 4 covers at any time. I wash Zenna's diapers every 3 days or so.
Even Joe loves the cloth! The only time I use disposables now is on vacation. We take an extra cloth diaper in a Ziploc bag to church or when we go out, and we have a few cloth diapers stored at Grandma's house.