According to the U.S. Department of Energy, drafty doors and windows account for 11 percent of the heat loss in an average home. Wow! This door draft buster is a weighted pillow (we used inexpensive dried beans) that stretches across the base of the door to keep cold air from blowing in and warm air from escaping. It's easy to do in an afternoon, using new fabric or scraps on hand. Why not make one as a gift and another to help cut down your own utility bill?
While you can make our door draft buster from just one piece of extra-wide fabric, it's a more interesting project with a variety of colors and patterns. You can piece together scraps however you choose, or follow what we did. Stitch together as many pieces as you like, but don't forget to add in the ½" seam allowances if you use more than the five described below for our sample. We used three pieces of 100% cotton Woolies Flannel by Maywood. And, yes, it is just as cozy as it looks. We found a good selection of Woolies Flannel online at Fabric.com and Fabric Depot.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome Jem Gold 660)
Fabric and Other Supplies
The size of your door will determine the amount of fabric you need. We used a standard 36" door to size ours. If your door is larger or smaller, add or subtract the difference from one or more of the patchwork pieces shown.
- We used 100% cotton flannel. While we bought a half yard each of three flannels, you could also use scraps of any woven fabric you have on hand.
- Approximately 14-16 cups of filler material
NOTE: You can use dried navy beans as we did, or other weighty fillers 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.
- Plastic bags to hold the filler; we used four of the narrow plastic bags used on home-delivered newspapers. You could also use the legs from an old pair of pantyhose or tights
- 1 yard of ribbon to coordinate with your fabrics; we used ⅜" wide grosgrain
- See-through ruler
- Tape measure
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Iron and ironing board
- Straight pins
- Hand sewing needle
- Measure the bottom of your door. Our instructions are based on a standard 36" wide door.
- Preshrink and press your fabric prior to cutting, especially if you use flannel.
- Cut fabric pieces (see the diagram below for A-B-C positions):
Fabric A: cut TWO pieces 13" wide x 12" long.
Fabric B: cut TWO pieces 13" wide x 10" long.
Fabric C: cut ONE piece 13" wide x 15" long.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Pin and stitch your five pieces of fabric together as shown in the diagram below. Remember to stitch with right sides together and to use a ½" seam allowance.
- Press seams inward toward Fabric B and topstitch as shown.
- Fold your finished patchworked panel lengthwise, right sides together.
- Stitch the long side together, using a ½" seam allowance, to form a tube.
- Press seam open.
- Press a double-fold hem along the raw edges of both ends of the tube. To do this, turn up the raw edge ½" and press.
- Then turn up an additional 4" and press again.
- Pin and hem by hand to form a 4" wide hem on both ends of the tube.
- Turn your tube right side out. Press as needed.
Filling the Tube
- Fill 3 or 4 plastic bags with about 4 cups of beans each. Squeeze out most of the air, leaving a couple inches at the top of the bag empty. Tie a knot in all but one bag. Close this last bag with a twist tie instead so you can add or subtract beans as necessary. When you lay the bags flat, they should fill the empty space and allow some give and take in the bag.
- Slide one or two of the bags into the tube. Tie an 18" piece of ribbon into a neat, tight bow four inches from the end of the tube.
- From the other end of the tube, insert the remaining bags. If you need to adjust the amount of beans in the last bag, you can easily do so by removing the twist tie. Once you have the fill at the correct level, tie a knot in the last bag as you did with the other bags.
- Tie another ribbon at the opposite end of the tube to close it.
Hints and Tips
The door buster is, by necessity, weighty. If you're making a door buster as a gift, it may be easier to wrap and/or send it empty. Just tie the ribbons where they go at either end, include the plastic bags for beans with instructions on how to fill.
Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Alicia Thommas