The weather is starting to cool off. I don't know what it's like where you're at, but we've definitely had a few chilly nights already. According to the US Department of Energy, about 1/3 of our home energy use goes toward heating our homes. You'd be surprised how much of that heat escapes right out the front and back door or through your windows. This winter, keep the heat inside with your very own draft dodger!
A draft dodger nestles right under the door or window to keep the cold air out and the warm air in. It works sort of like the towel under the door method that you may or may not have used in your dorm room, but this time you're keeping out the cold, not your R.A.
It's pretty quick and easy to fashion a DIY draft dodger, even if you're just a beginning seamstress. Here's how you do it:
1/2 yard of medium to heavy weight fabric
large bag of rice, sand, or kitty litter
cup for scooping
To get started, measure your door. You want to make sure your finished product blocks the whole underside. Add 1 1/2" to your measurement for your seam allowances and to make sure your draft dodger goes slightly past the door on either end. My door was 36" wide, so that means cutting the fabric to 37 1/2" wide. No matter what size your door, you'll want to cut the fabric about 8" high.
Fold the fabric in half on the short side, right sides together. So, I'm now looking at a rectangle that's 4" X 37". Pin along that long, unfinished edge. You'll sew that whole edge and only one of the short edges. I did this twice, so the seams would be reinforced a little, but this second pass is optional.
Turn your project right side out. If you are having trouble flipping things, a wooden dowel or broomstick is your friend. Once your project is right side out, give it a quick press with your iron.
For this next part, you'll want to go outside, because things can get a little bit messy. I filled our draft dodger with some leftover kitty litter that our cats hated. No matter what you're using, let's learn from my mistake here. Don't try to pour directly from the heavy bag of litter, rice, or sand into your draft dodger. You'll end up with half of the filling on the floor! Instead, use your scoop to get a manageable amount out of the big bag, then pour it into the dodger with your funnel. Less mess!
Fill up the dodger, leaving about 1" unfilled. Grab your pins, and fold the unfinished edge inward. You'll want to do some tricky pinning, otherwise you risk getting your filling all over your sewing room. Not only do you want to pin across your folded edge, use a couple of pins parallel to the edge to keep your filling at bay, like in the picture to the left there (you can click the photo to enlarge).
This next part is all about finesse. Stick the folded, pinned edge into your sewing machine. Sew several backwards stitches, then sew along the edge to close it up. Finish with some more back stitches to reinforce the closure. It's a little tricky to maneuver the heavy draft dodger in the machine, so just take your time. I found it helpful to rest the other end of the thing on the bookshelf that's next to my sewing table. You might try bringing a folding table over or something like this to support the weight. It will make it much easier to maneuver your project in the machine if you don't have to support that weight with your left hand!
Voila! You've done it! You're ready to keep out those winter winds.
If you're not feeling crafty, you can find draft dodgers for sale online. I am really digging these from Etsy seller Ogsplosh!
Pumpkin in the Snow. Creative Commons photo by littleredelf
All other photos by Becky Striepe