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Door Draft Guard

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These handy energy savers aren't just for winter! In the summer, they can help keep the cool in and the heat out. They also reduce outside dust, noise and odors! We used a summery combination of colorful home décor fabrics. You could choose a pairing to best match your own interior design. This Door Draft Guard would make a great housewarming (or would that be "house-cooling") gift. But, remember, the filler can be quite heavy (we used dried beans). It would likely be easier to just wrap up the outer covering. You could then include instructions on how and with what to fill the tube. 

Speaking of fillers, you can use dried navy beans as we did, or another weighty filler, such as dried peas or rice. We also read of people using kitty litter, and we considered aquarium gravel, but both seemed a bit too dusty to work with.

The invisible zipper within the center of one side seam makes it possible to work with this long, thin tube, which is enclosed on both ends. In addition, since the zipper is indeed invisible, there's no problem with any exposed edges or teeth that could damage a floor. The zipper's tiny pull is the only thing you see. Check out our Invisible Zipper Tutorial if you are new to the technique.

We used a standard 36" door to size our sample. The finished length is approximately 38" and the diameter is 4".  If your door is larger or smaller, add or subtract the difference to the cuts shown below.

Our Door Draft Guard is meant to finish like a long, skinny bean bag. It should not be stuffed too full or too taut. For the best in draft-blocking power, you need to be able to mold the guard along the bottom of the door. The "pillow type" blockers you often find in the store are not nearly as effective because they never sit tight enough across the entire width of the door.

There's a webbing handle on each end of our Draft Guard, making it easy to move it out of the way to open or shut the door. You can also use the handles to hang up the Guard when it's not in use - either when full or empty. 

If you like this project, you may also like the Draft Buster project we did in winter flannels with simple pony tail ends. 

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • ½ yard EACH of TWO COORDINATING 45"+ wide fabrics in a home décor or canvas weight for the body and end caps; we used two Covington Home Decor fabrics: Kelly (the stripe) and Kandinsky (the graphic) both in 107 Vintage, purchased locally at Fabric Depot from their great Home Décor Fabric selection
  • ½ yard of ¾" - 1" heavy cotton webbing or twill tape; we used 1" cotton webbing, purchased locally
  • ONE 9" invisible zipper
  • Approximately 14-16 cups of filler material; we used dried navy beans
  • Two pairs of recycled pantyhose or lightweight tights to hold the filler. You could also use thin plastic bags.
  • All purpose thread to match fabrics; we used matching thread for construction and a slightly contrasting thread for the topstitching (aqua)
  • See-through ruler
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Straight pins
  • Seam gauge
  • Seam ripper
  • Tape measure

Getting Started

  1. Download and print the Draft Guard End Cap Pattern.
    IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½" x 11" sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide line on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
  2. Cut out the pattern along the solid line. 
  3. From the fabric from the center center and end caps, fussy cut the following:
    TWO 7¼" high x 25" wide rectangles
    Using the pattern, fussy cut TWO end caps

    NOTE:
    We fussy cut our panels to insure our motif matched along the side with the invisible zipper, to make sure it really was invisible. The photo below shows you how we cut one panel, then folded back a ½" seam allowance along the center raw edge in order to use this as our guideline for the fussy cut of the second panel.
  4. From the fabric for the end panels, fussy cut the following:
    TWO 7¼" high x 4" wide 
    TWO 7¼" high x 12" wide 
  5. From the webbing, cut TWO 7" lengths.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Create the main panels

  1. Find one set of the three pieces that make up the main panels: one center section, one narrow end panel, and one wide end panel. 
  2. Place one outside panel on either end of the center panel, right sides together. We placed the narrow panel to the right and the wide panel to the left. 
  3. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the two short seams.
  4. Press the seam allowance together and toward the outside panels. 
  5. Re-thread the machine with the slightly contrasting thread in the top and bottom (we used aqua).
  6. Topstitch ⅛" from the seam line within the outer panel.
  7. Repeat to create the second three-part body section, re-threading as necessary.

Insert the invisible zipper

  1. Align the two edges of the panels that were fussy cut for a motif match along the zipper seam.
  2. Place the two panels right side up and flat on your work surface with the fussy cut raw edges facing one another. 
  3. Measure to find the exact center of each panel. Mark for a 9" zipper opening at this center point. 
  4. Pin the zipper in place. 
  5. Attach a Concealed Zipper foot and stitch in place. 
  6. Each side is stitched from the top down to the zipper stop.
  7. With the zipper closed, the remaining seam to either end of the zipper is pinned...
  8. ... and stitched, using a standard foot or a regular Zipper foot

    NOTE:
    If you are new to working with invisible zippers, we have a full tutorial that shows all the tips and tricks. In many ways, the invisible zipper is actually easier to install than the conventional zipper.

Final side seam

  1. With the zipper open as noted above, fold the panel right sides together, aligning the opposite long raw edges. Pin in place.
  2. Switch back to a regular presser foot if need be. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch this full seam. 
  3. Leave the tube wrong side out, but make sure the zipper remains open. 

Insert the end panels

  1. Find the end caps and the two lengths of webbing.
  2. Fold one end cap circle in half vertically and horizontally, pressing lightly to mark the four quarter points of the circle (12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00). 
  3. Pin a length of webbing across the center of each end cap. The raw edges of the webbing should be flush with the raw edges of the end cap at the 3:00 and 9:00 quarter points so the webbing bows up to form a handle. 
  4. You can leave the handle pinned or hand or machine baste in place for extra security. 
  5. Create matching quarter points on one open end of the tube. Your two side seams create the 3:00 and 9:00 points. Align these two seams and gently flatten the tube to find the 12:00 and 6:00 points.
  6. Our circle and tube are a nice even fit, but if you feel you need additional help to get a smooth set-in end cap, you can run a gathering stitch around the entire outer edge of the tube, staying within the standard ½" seam allowance. Gather up the circle just slightly, leaving the thread tails long so you can adjust the gathers as needed.
  7. Place the circle into the marked end of the tube, right sides together, matching up the 12:00, 3:00, 6:00 and 9:00 marks on both pieces. Pin at these four points first. 
  8. Adjust the fit as needed, either tightening or loosening the gathering or simply easing to fit, then fill in with pins all around. 
  9. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the end cap circle in place all around. 
  10. Clip the curve. Finish the seam allowance if you are worried your fabric will ravel. 
  11. Repeat to insert the remaining end cap into the opposite open end of the tube. 
  12. Turn right side out through the open zipper and press. 
    NOTE: If you are new to this technique, see our full tutorial: How to Insert a Flat Circle into a Tube

Filling the tube 

  1. As mentioned above, we used dry navy beans for our filler. The bags shown below are just representative; we actually used about 4 cups of beans in each stocking "bag." 
  2. Fill four recycled stockings with about 4 cups of beans each. Squeeze out most of the air, leaving a couple inches at the top so there is a bit of flex. You can tie knots in each stocking bag or seal with twist ties in order to easily add or subtract beans as necessary. 
  3. When done, you want the bags to fit as two sets of two into each end of the tube. 
  4. Insert the bags into place through the zippered opening one at a time. We found that slipping them in and then holding on to the pony tail ends to further shake them down into place worked quite well. 
  5. Adjust the filler back and forth as needed for a nice even fit. This is why we suggested some "flex space" in the filler bags themselves as well as within the tube. Zip closed.

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

Section: 

Comments (13)

Ina Lusky said:
Ina Lusky's picture

for the filling I used little rests of my fabrics, so I don´t toke them to the waste basket and it is lightwight (after putting fleece in). my whole door draft gard was a recycling project of old jeans, rests of bag bands, filling with smallest fabric rests and trying some sewing machine stitches.

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Ina - Thanks for letting us know how you did things - lovely ideas. We like that you make it a re-make and re-use kind of project.

Syl said:
Syl's picture

I would prefer to use the sand instead of dried food products as a filler. Mainly because even though the filler is housed in plastic, it could still split in a very active family. Then, moisture could seep in causing the beans or rice to swell and then cause mold and  odors.

FloridaQuilter said:
FloridaQuilter's picture

Sand in recycled plastic bags that newspapers are delivered in works well.

betty battenburg said:
betty battenburg's picture

Would it be possible to do this with a standard zipper rather than an invisible zipper?  Everything I've read has kind of scared me about using an invisible zipper!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ betty battenburg - you get to do anything you want  An invisible zipper just gives a little nicer look and helps protect the floor from any scratches you might get with a zipper. Take a look at our tutorial on the invisible zipper, linked above, it's actually a bit easier to insert than a standard zip. 

be said:
be's picture

Thanks for your rapid response to my question.  This is why I love this site - you have great patterns, great tutorials, speedy response to questions, and a sense of humor!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ be -- Yay! let us know how your project turns out. 

betty battenburg said:
betty battenburg's picture

Reporting back!  Finished one, using an overlap zipper, and mailed it out to the intended recipient so she could check it out before I made another one for her.

I wanted to thank you again, for the advice about making sure that the zipper wouldn't scratch the floor.  The overlap zipper did the job and looks pretty good, maybe not as good as the invisible zipper.  Invisible zipper is on my list of new techniques to learn in the near future.

Jamie Kovac said:
Jamie Kovac's picture

Time to stop stuffing one of the kids' blankets against the front door :-P 

scootertn said:
scootertn's picture

Such a good idea!  We don't think of summer drafts and cooling loss.  I am not so sure of using beans where I live since the humidity is high and will be thru the summer.  Probably have to find the standard bean bag fill.  

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@ scootertn - let us know what you use and how it turns out. We like hearing about alternatives for various climates.

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