Terry Squares & Prefold Nappies

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Terry squares and prefolds are a traditional and very economical choice for your nappy system.  They can be folded in a whole host of different ways, so you can get the exact fit and containment your little one needs. Here you can find a selection of the most popular terry square and prefold folds, along with step-by-step instructions, pictures and videos to show you how easy it can be to find the right fold for your baby. Check out our terry square advice pages for individual step-by-step photo guides to some of our favourite folds.


Terry Square Folds

The Jo Fold for Terry Squares and Muslins

This fold enables you to put even the thickest 60cm cotton terry square on a newborn without adding too much bulk (because it spreads it so evenly). So it's an ideal fold when you only want to buy one size of flat terry. It also works fantastically with Muslins instead of terries.

  1. Fold all four points to the centre (fold further in to make a smaller nappy, or not as far as the centre for a larger one).
  2. Fold each side over one third.
  3. Fan out the top of the nappy, holding where indicated in diagram 3.
Jofold for Terry Squares

Terry Square Bat, Chinese or Butterfly Fold

Good for newborns. Small yet all encompassing, helps to contain runny poo. Very absorbent.

  1. Fold terry into quarters, have corners at the top left.
  2. Using your left hand, hold down the bottom three corners.
  3. With your right hand, pull the top corner out to the side.
  4. Without disturbing the folds, turn the whole nappy over.
  5. Fold one third of the square part in. The distance remaining should be half of the amount folded.
  6. Turn nappy around so the bottom of the triangle goes between your baby's legs.

This fold can be enlarged to fit an older child - support the bottom waist edge of the nappy with one hand, using the other hand pull the rectangular pad sharply down to increase overall back to front length.

Terry Bat Fold

Terry Square Kite Fold

Quite a large fold, more bulky round the legs. Limited absorbency, but good to use to support a pad for overnight use. When on, tuck the terry in around the legs to provide better containment and a neater fit.

  1. Lay the terry flat, and imagine a diagonal line running from the top left to the bottom right corner.
  2. Fold the bottom left and top right corners in to meet your imaginary line.
  3. Fold the top left corner down towards the bottom right.
  4. Fold the bottom right corner up as far as needed, adjust to suit your baby's size.
Terry Kite Fold

Terry Square Poo Catcher Fold

Does what it says! Good for pre-weaning babies.

  1. Lay the terry flat in front of you and fold down approximately 1/4 along the back end.
  2. Fold in 1/3 from the left then 1/3 in from the right.
  3. Holding this pad lightly about halfway down on the left, fold out the right flap and do the same for the left flap underneath.
  4. Fold up the front end as much as required for your baby's size.

Terry Square Neat Fold

Essentially the same as the Kite, just folded in a different order.

  1. Lay the terry flat, so that a corner is nearest to you.
  2. Fold the top and bottom corners toward the centre. How far you fold depends on the size of the nappy required.
  3. Fold the right and left corners in to meet at the middle of the waistband (uppermost) edge.
Neat Fold

Terry Square Gaynor's Fold For Girls

As this gives a very trim fit around the legs and upper thighs, it is probably better for a girl than a boy.

  1. Place the nappy in front of you.
  2. Bring the top corner down to the bottom corner and then overlap by about four inches.
  3. Take the bottom corner (a) back up, folding nappy at (b) (other dotted line is underneath).
  4. Fold (c) over to (d) to give a triangle with a bit sticking out.
  5. X is a pad of six thicknesses and I tuck the ends (y) in to make it tidier.
  6. Put your baby’s bottom on (x) with legs astride (y), bring (y) up between legs and bring corners (z) around waist to pin.

Thanks to Gaynor for passing this on to us.

Terry Girl Fold

Terry Square V Fold

Very simple, and you end up with what looks like a 'V' shape, hence the name.

  1. Fold three sides to the centre.
  2. Fold the top down to overlap the centre.
  3. Fold the bottom corners up towards the centre as shown in diagrams 3 and 4.
Terry Envelope

The Ro Fold for Boys

Very neat and high-cut round the legs and as such fits under a narrower cut wrap. There are a lot of layers at the front so it is good for a boy.

  1. Fold the terry square in half along the diagonal.
  2. Fold the long edge over (about 1 1/2 inches).
  3. Put in a liner and put the baby on the triangle.
  4. Fold the two "wings" so they point up towards baby's head.
  5. Fold the extremities of the points under and down - it now looks something like a wolf's head.
  6. Fold up one layer of the nappy in between your baby's legs.
  7. Fold in the two side pieces and overlap the points, which are now pointing downwards.
  8. Fold the outer single layer up between the legs to cover the points up and fasten with a nippa.
  9. Tuck in the excess fabric round the legs for a snug fit, to improve containment and make it fit under a narrower wrap.

Many thanks to Rosemary, who devised and passed on this fold to us.

She says: "My 4 month old son is a heavy wetter and a frequent runny poo-er (breast fed) and I was having trouble with both the Jo-fold and the corner fold and poo catcher for containment. I invented this one recently and so far it is easy to put on, requires not much pre-folding and has kept everything in."

Terry Square Twist Fold

This is a very quick and easy fold, especially suitable if your child has a sore bottom which needs to be aired, wearing it without a wrap on top. Suitable for an older toddler, if they are quite reliable about pooing on the toilet or potty, as this fold won't offer much in the way of containment. If it's too long in the crotch, simply fold down the end towards you, before folding across in half.

  1. Fold the nappy in half.
  2. Twist the rectangle across the middle.
Twist Fold

Terry Square Triangle Fold

The largest and least absorbent of terry folds. Could be used to support a pad for night time use.

  1. Fold the nappy in half, making a triangle.
  2. When the centre point is between your baby’s legs, and sides brought round to fasten, you can tuck in under the legs, to reduce bulk and improve containment.
Triangle Fold

Lindsey's Newborn Fold

Ideal for use on newborns, especially boys, as the padding is at the front. Works best with a muslin containing a booster rather than a terry, which is a bit bulky. Actually, a decent muslin provides reasonable absorbency on its own for a newborn anyway, if being changed frequently. Provides a dip at the front around the healing navel area.

  1. Fold a Muslin into a triangle.
  2. Fold this triangle into a smaller triangle and turn so that long edge is away from you. Add a booster in the middle at this stage, lined up against the straight edge.
  3. Bring up the front point of the nappy, containing the booster up between your baby’s legs.
  4. Bring both sides over the front.
  5. Fold down the side points to provide extra thickness at the front.
  6. Pin or nappi nippa through the muslin only (not the booster).
  7. Tuck excess fabric up at the legs to improve containment.
Lindseys Newborn Fold

The Corners Fold

This is effectively a variation of Lindsey's newborn fold and also works well with either Muslins or terries. It's a snug fit which offers good containment.

  1. Fold two sides in to form a square (the amount of these first two folds is determined by the size of the baby - more for a smaller baby, less for a larger baby).
  2. Fold the thickest corner over to make a triangle.
  3. Place baby on the triangle and bring up corner 1.
  4. Follow diagrams 5 and 6, tucking corners 2 and 3 between your baby's legs.
  5. Bring up corner 4 and fasten together with flaps 2 and 3 as per diagram 7, leaving corner 1 between fastener and your baby's skin.
Terry Corners

Maria's Fold for Boys

Because this fold starts with a flat edge at the back, it doesn’t waste fabric where it’s not needed. It has 6 or 8 layers of terry at the front but only 1 or 2 at the back. So maybe not recommended if your boy does runny poos, but otherwise it’s a winner. Despite its thickness at the front, this fold gives a really neat nappy with a fantastic fit if your boy has a fat tummy, you can keep the nappy short in the rise and fasten it under his tum. With the legs rolled in well I think it’s slimmer.

Maria wrote: "I liked the idea of using terry squares but could never find a fold I was happy with. Most folds seemed to be designed with girls in mind, with all the thickness in the middle or at the back, while the folds with any sort of thickness at the front just didn't seem to provide a snug fit. So I dug out my old origami books and had a go at designing my own fold. I won’t deny that it’s a bit tricky (no one is going to call this a convenient fold!) but it works so well I just have to share it."

  1. Lay out the nappy with one of the flat edges (ie. not a corner) towards you.
  2. Fold along line AB: this is a line running from point A (the centre of the edge nearest you) to point B (3 or 4 inches from the top left hand corner).
  3. Adjust for a bigger baby by taking point B closer to the top LH corner, and for a smaller baby by taking it closer to the centre of the top edge.
  4. Now fold the top layer back along the midline of the nappy, as shown.
  5. Repeat on the other side till you have a fishy shape.
  6. Fold the bottom corner of the nappy up. Adjust the rise by folding more of the nappy up, giving a shorter nappy for a small baby, or by folding less of it up to give a longer nappy for a bigger baby.
  7. The flaps at the front can be left sticking out and folded round the baby.
  8. But I prefer to fold them in towards the centre to get even more absorbency at the front. Tidy the nappy up by tucking the top ears backwards between the two layers at the top.

And there you have it: very similar to the kite fold in shape, but with only 1 or 2 layers of fabric at the back, and 6 or 8 layers at the front, just where your boy needs it. For best results, fasten with a Nippa and roll the legs in just before you fasten it. If when you come to fasten the nappy you find you’ve made it a bit too narrow at the back, no need to fold the whole thing again - you can simply ease a little more fabric out of the folds at the top corners when you’re doing it up.

Maybe not the simplest of folds, but Maria gets full marks for ingenuity, and an honorary degree in origami!

Terry Square Pad Fold

Good for older babies (4-5 months plus) used inside any gusseted wrap. Very absorbent, yet neat - no excess fabric over baby's hips. Excellent inside another shape folded terry as a mighty booster for an overnight nappy. May suit a boy best, as thicker fold is at one end.

  1. Fold over the top 1/3 (along a horizontal line).
  2. Fold the nappy (along the vertical line) into quarters or thirds depending on the width of nappy required.
  3. Place the pad directly into the wrap, works best with a wrap with an inner flap to hold the pad in place.

Excited to try terries? Find them here:

Muslins (Muslinz)
£16.99  -  £17.95  (70)
Nappi Nippas (Snappis)
£2.99  -  £6.95  (95)
Prefolds - Light Weight Muslin Cotton
£1.50  -  £14.99  (2)
Quality Cotton Terry Squares by WhiteBots
£2.25  -  £23.95  (65)


Prefold Folds

A prefold is another flat square of fabric, usually smaller than a terry square. They have a thicker pad in the centre containing more layers of fabric.

Prefold Basic Angel Wing Fold

This fold can be used with either newborn or toddler-size prefolds. It gives excellent absorbency and a trim fit.

  1. Fold the sides of the prefold across the centre panel to form a pad.
  2. Fold a small portion of the prefold up in the front.
  3. Unfold the sides at the back of the prefold to form two wings.
  4. Place the prefold under the baby. Bring the front of the prefold up between the baby's legs.
  5. Bring the two wings around from the back and fasten with a nappy nippa.

Nappy Instructions


Double Angel Wing For Prefolds

Follow the same instructions used in the Basic Angel Wing, but stack two nappies for the Double Angel Wing fold. Big bum alert!

Navel Defence For Prefolds

Use this variation if you want to avoid the nappy covering baby's healing navel. Because newborn-size nappies are so flexible, they can be folded lower at the front to achieve this.

  1. Fold the sides of the prefold across the centre panel to form a pad.
  2. Fold a small portion of the prefold up in the front.
  3. Unfold the sides at the back of the prefold to form two wings.
  4. Place the prefold under the baby. Bring the front of the prefold up between the baby's legs but do not fold it all the way up to the back of the nappy.
  5. Bring the two wings around from the back and fasten with a nappy nippa. You will have a noticeable dip in front that comes well below the healing navel. When the baby's navel has healed, change to the Angel Wing fold.
Nappy Instructions

Prefold Bikini Twist Fold

If your baby has heavy thighs, this fold works like magic to give a high cut leg opening. You will have extra absorbency, too. Not really for a pre-weaning baby, but excellent for a toddler.

  1. Start with a toddler-size prefold.
  2. (For a boy) Fold a couple of inches of the prefold to the underside (B-C end). This will provides extra padding at the front.
  3. Turn the prefold all the way over at its midpoint (ie the fold ends up on top, so that it is inside when the prefold is pinned).
  4. Place the prefold under the baby.
  5. Bring the front of the prefold (corners B and C) up between the baby's legs.
  6. Tuck in B and C.
  7. Bring A and D around from the back and fasten with a nappy nippa.

Night Time Double For Prefolds

For maximum absorbency, this nappy fold gives 12 layers of cloth in the centre, but it is still easy to fasten and it fits snug and trim. As the baby no longer being changed overnight is assumed to be at least 3 months old, the larger size prefolds are appropriate. However, smaller ones can also be used for a younger baby.

  1. Stack two prefolds.
  2. Fold the sides of the top prefold in to form a pad.
  3. Fold the sides of the bottom prefold over the pad.
  4. Fold a small portion of the stack up in front.
  5. Unfold the sides of the bottom prefold in the back to form two wings.
  6. Place the prefold under the baby. Bring the front of the prefold up between the baby's legs.
  7. Bring the wings around from the back and fasten with a nappy nippa. Because the wings are from the bottom prefold only, you will be fastening only one layer of cloth to the front of the nappy.

Day Time Double For Prefolds

Rather than double prefolds, use boostes for extra absorbency during the day. They're not as bulky as double prefolds for night time wear and they allow your baby to move freely and comfortably. Instructions are basically the same as for the night time double.

  1. Start with a regular prefold.
  2. Place the booster pad in the centre of the prefold.
  3. Fold the sides of the bottom prefold over the booster pad.
  4. Fold a small portion of the prefold and booster pad up in front.
  5. Unfold the sides of the bottom prefold in the back to form two wings.
  6. Place the prefold under the baby. Bring the front of the prefold up between the baby's legs.
  7. Bring the wings around from the back and fasten with a nappy nippa. Because the wings are from the bottom prefold only, you will be fastening only one layer of cloth to the front of the nappy.

Boy Fold For Prefold Without Nappi Nippas

Because of the first step, it retains its its fanned and folded shape well. As it provides the bulk at the front, it is especially good on boys.

  1. Lie prefold in front of you with centre panel in the middle.
  2. Fold over around 2" towards you.
  3. Fold over the left hand panel of the prefold towards the right hand side.
  4. Fold over the right hand panel of the prefold towards the left hand side and tuck into the opposite fold. This keeps the pad folded shape secure.
  5. Fan the edges so that there is a larger area of prefold under baby's bottom. Turn the whole thing over, place into wrap, tucked under the front flap (if your wrap offers this), and place a liner on top.

Girl Fold For Prefolds Without Nappi Nippas

The standard way of folding a prefold into a wrap designed for this type of nappy. This gives a thicker section in between the legs, and so is especially suitable for girls. Folding a prefold this way means that there is no fanning of the prefold under the bottom area (because nothing to fold the front in place as you spread the back), so is probably better kept for heavier wetting girls, and use the boy fold for better bottom comfort with average wetters.

  1. Have the thicker section running from left to right and then fold it into thirds. That's it!
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