How to make a double draught excluder

Wanting to save money on heating, I decided to have a go at making a draught excluder because the cold air from the bathroom was making the room next to it cold. This simple draught excluder is great because you don’t have to keep moving it every time you open the door, it moves with the door instead.

Even with my minimal sewing skills I was able to do it, and it works really well. I originally followed a set of wonderful instructions to make this, but the blog has sadly closed down since then – so I’ve done my best to recreate it in case others find it as useful as I did.

I wanted to keep my draught excluder as environmentally friendly as possible, by using waste materials that I already had around the house. It can be fun challenging yourself to make something, without buying anything new to do it – you’ll be amazed at how creative your brain can get!

What you’ll need

A pink sewing machine, with a pair of fabric scissors and a pot of pins.
  • Fabric – I used an old curtain, but you could use clothes you no longer want, or sew scraps of fabric to make a big enough piece (just make sure the colour won’t rub off on your floor)
  • Sewing machine – if you don’t have one why not ask a friend if you can borrow theirs, check out the borrow section on the Olio app, or see if you have a Library of Things near you.
  • Pins
  • Something to stuff it with (I used clean plastic packaging from our food, but fabric scraps would be great too)
  • Something long and thin to push the stuffing down, like a broom handle (if it’s not too thick)
  • Tape measure
  • Ruler (or something with a straight edge)
  • Pencil
  • Scissors

How to do it

  1. Measure

Measure the door that you want to make the draught excluder for – to start with, you’ll need to measure how thick it is.

Now measure the width of the inside of your door frame (pictured above) – this will be the width of your draught excluder. This needs to be between the narrowest part of the door frame – ours have quite a large lip, so I measured from there.

Woman holding a ruler and pencil, drawing a line onto a piece of fabric.

2. Work out the size of your fabric

Width

2 x Your door thickness measurement + 25cm

Length

Your door frame width measurement + 6cm

P.S make sure if using a pattern you have it running along the longest edge, like the animals in the picture above.

3. Cut the fabric

Once you’re happy with your measurements, it’s time to cut the fabric (remember to measure twice, as you can only cut once!) – make sure your fabric is nice and flat.

Hand on a piece of fabric on a pink sewing machine.

4. Start sewing

Fold the fabric in half, so the long edges are now together and the pattern that you want on the outside is now on the inside. These curtains were lined, so I just left the lining attached.

Pin along the long edge to hold it together (make sure you leave enough room for your sewing foot to get past).

Sew along the long side about 1cm from the edge.

Now readjust the fabric so that the seam that you’ve just stitched is running along the middle instead of the edge (see photo above). You may want to use your pins to hold one of the short edges in this position. Once you’re happy with it, stitch along that short edge about 1cm from the edge.

Turn it right side out, so that the pattern is now on the outside .

Lay it flat. Measure how wide the shortest edge of your fabric is. Now you need to do a small calculation to work out where to draw your lines.

Thickness of your door + 0.5cm = ?

Now subtract that from the meaurement of shorest fabric edge. Divide that number by 2 and this is how far from each edge you need to draw your two lines. So mine was:

My door is 3.5 cm thick, so if I add 0.5cm that’s 4cm. The shortest part of my fabric measured 13.5cm. 13.5 – 4 = 9cm divided by two is 4.5cm. So I measured 4.5cm from each long edge and drew two lines.

If you’ve done this correctly the gap in the middle should be the size of your door, plus 0.5cm. It’s important this is correct or you won’t be able to slide the draught excluder under your door (if you end up with wonky sewing like I did, you may need to adjust your lines slightly to make sure they’re wide enough!).

Stitch all the way down the two lines that you’ve drawn. You may want to carefully try sliding it under your door to make sure you don’t need to make any adjustments to the length, as it needs to fit perfectly.

4. Fill the draught excluder

The first one I made I stuffed using plastic bags, but the second time I used some wadding I had left over from an upcycling project that I know I won’t use for anything else. You could even use some old underwear that you no longer wear, or clothes that are past their best. If you’re using plastic food packaging or old carrier bags, you’ll need to make sure it’s clean.

This bit takes a while. You need to make sure you push each piece all the way to the bottom, it’ll be too difficult to push down if you don’t. This is where you’ll need a long poking device to help you! Make sure you pack it well, so that its nice and firm.

5. Seal the end

Once you’re happy with it, it’s time to stitch along the end. Keep your stitching as close to the edge as you can.

6. Try it out

Voila! You’ve made your very own zero waste draught excluder, well done! Now you get the satisfaction of sliding it underneath the door and enjoying your nice warm room. I’d love to hear in the comments if you have a go at making your own.

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