Earlier this year The Boy and I began to rent a new flat together. It’s lovely, I love it. It’s a split level apartment, with the front door and bedrooms and bathroom being on the ground level and an underground living room and kitchen. It’s striking and even the front door is pretty; big wooden double doors direct to outside.
But it’s a little bit draughty. The windows are well sealed, it’s just those damned double doors. There’s a chunk at the bottom – that you can see on the picture – where they meet that is basically just a hole to the outside.
It’s coming up to winter and getting colder by the month, so I decided to do a little research on homemade draught excluders and make one to keep us protected from those evil gusts of cold wind.
I was really excited about this project, because it was the first thing that I’ve really made completely by myself, with no tutorial or instructions. I measured the door and came up with the dimensions myself.
I used rice for the filling. I considered plain ol’ padding – we have two scrappy old pillows that I’m dying to get rid of and do something with – but I decided that rice or sand might be better because it would sink into and fill the gaps that the draughts get through. I bought 7 x 1 kg bags of rice from the supermarket and it certainly raised some eyebrows from the lady behind the checkout. She looked at me like I’d lost my mind (or like I really liked rice). I reassured her with “It’s okay, I’m making a draught excluder.”
It didn’t really help.
In the end I didn’t even have enough rice. I decided to go with a tip I’d read and put the rice into the leg of an old pair of tights before putting the whole rice-leg-thing into the cover. Because I was basically making two together, to fit our double door, I filled one leg with 6 kilos until it was about the right size. I then had to go out and buy another 5 to make 12 kg in total. Good job it was 40p a bag!
Here’s a picture of the rice-leggy things, just because they look so weird:
At the very last minute (seriously, I was about to sew the opening closed), I decided not to sew both ends shut and instead put velcro on one opening. This decision mostly came out of thinking that it was just so darn cute that I didn’t want to have to throw it away when it inevitably gets trashed and dirty, being right near the front door where we come in with our dirty (usually wet – it is England) shoes. I wanted to be able to wash it. Obviously not with the rice in it. So I sewed velcro into the sides of one end to make it possible to get the rice out for cleaning the cover.
I had major issues with my tension towards the end of this make (at least I think that’s what my problem was?). I’m really going to have to do some research and address tension, because I still really have no idea what it even means. I just know my stitches look funny until I change the dial and then they look normal again. I need to understand!
In the end – once I’d redone a lot of the last bits! – it turned out really well! It seems to be keeping the flat free of draughts and looking cute at the same time, a win, I would say!
Notes for Next Time (or Newbies!)
- Definitely use rice (or sand, I guess!) instead of padding. The finished product here was exactly what I wanted, and for testing purposes, I put the spare pillows up against the door to see how much that kind of padding helped with the breeze. The answer: not a lot. The heavier rice is much better at keeping the cold wind at bay.
- As I mentioned earlier, I had a massive tension problem towards the end of this make. This is a picture of when I tried to sew around the top of the opening, it’s a horrific mess. I don’t know much about tension but I’m going to have to rectify that, as it was definitely the problem I think. I unpicked it all, turned the dial up and the next go turned out fine. Maybe I need to change the needle too? How often am I supposed to do that? Probably more regularly than I am anyway. So in regards to tension, I need to be careful of the underside of my stitches and keep an eye on them as I go if I can, rather than looking over the whole thing at the end and realising it’s a tragedy.
- I’m proud that I managed to come up with the dimensions for this on my own, but I very nearly made a mistake when converting between inches and cm. Be careful of this! Even though cm is most common here, a lot of tutorials online etc work in inches, so I’m very used to that instead, which is not a problem as long as I don’t get confused between the two!
So now my flat is lovely and warm with no breezy air floating through, I am now ready for winter (bring on Christmas! – I love it!) Hope you are all draught-free this winter!