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All Weather Door Draft Guard

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These handy energy savers are great for both winter and summer. Right now, when ol' man winter is beating down our doors, they keep the heat in and the drafts out. In the summer, they're just as handy to help keep the cool air inside and the heat and humidity outside. They can also help reduce outside dust, noise, and odors. A Door Draft Guard would make a great housewarming (or "house-cooling" as the case may be) gift. But, remember, if your gift needs to be shipped, the filler can be quite heavy (we used dried beans). It would likely be better to just wrap up the outer covering. You could then include instructions in the gift box on how and with what to fill the tube. 

We used a colorful combination of home décor weight fabrics. It's easy to customize the pairing to best match your or the gift recipient's own interior design. A heavier weight fabric, such as home dec options, canvas, sturdy poly/cotton, or even a heavy flannel would all be good alternatives for this project. You want something that is washable as the cover has an invisible zipper that makes it easy to remove and launder. 

As a filler, you can use dried navy beans as we did, or another weighty filler, such as dried peas or rice. We've read of people using kitty litter, and we considered aquarium gravel, but both seemed a bit too dusty for our liking.

An invisible zipper within the center of one side seam is what makes it possible to work with such a 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 stores are not nearly as effective because they never sit tightly 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 mid to heavyweight fabrics for the body (main panels and accent end panels) and the end caps
  • ½ yard of ¾" - 1" heavy cotton webbing or twill tape; we used 1" cotton webbing
  • 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 
  • 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 for the center panels 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, making 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 accent end panels, fussy cut the following:
    TWO 7¼" high x 4" wide rectangles
    TWO 7¼" high x 12" wide rectangles
  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 allowances toward the outside panels. 
  5. Re-thread the machine with the slightly contrasting thread in the top and bottom.
  6. Topstitch ⅛" from the seam line within each 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 allowance 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, 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, and 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 as if looking at the face of a clock). 
  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 in the center 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

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