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Monday, September 10, 2012

Draft snake no.1 -- and it was totally free!

So, our old draft snake was a rolled up towel. It did the job, no complaints there. But I wanted something a bit prettier. I was all set to go to the fabric store and spend my little heart away. (But I had a coupon. That's good for something, right?) After taking measurements, making a list, getting my coupon, I was about to grab my purse and head out the door . . . then good sense finally won over.

If I was to make a draft snake to save money, would it really make sense to spend money making it? And if I was to make a draft snake because it would be the green thing, well then, is getting in the car to buy more stuff, when I already have stuff-a-plenty, just to save the planet, really a good idea?

Upstairs I went to my pile of fabric scraps. I found a remnant from the duvet cover I made a couple of years ago. I had forgotten I even had this scrap of fabric. I love this. I had my eye on this print for months at the fabric store. Every time I'd have to pick something up, I'd slip off to the upholstery department and *sigh* wish it could be mine. (Lusting after fabric, that's pretty low. ) Anyways, one day I was at the fabric store and the whole roll was on the clearance table. Can you imagine how this fabric-starved woman felt, seeing the very roll of fabric she wanted, in mark-down heaven on the clearance table? I about flipped. I grabbed that roll and did some measurements in my head and bought as much as I thought I needed and then some. It turned out that I had enough for a duvet cover, two shams and now some for this draft snake, and still some leftover for a pillow. In case you don't find this fabric to be so enticing, I should explain. My grandmother had some wallpaper in her home very much like this fabric. It's a nostalgic thing.

While upstairs, in addition to this piece of fabric, I found some matching thread and a bit of batting, but not quite enough. Then I remembered the pieces of my childhood comforter. Most of this comforter has been cannibalized into other projects. This last piece has been living in our very scary attic. I say scary because it is full of cobwebs, so full, I could charge admission for tours of the attic on Halloween. So I mustered up some courage, dodged in and out, to quickly grab the bit of comforter, and brought it to the laundry room. Something that didn't occur to me before I threw it in the wash, when you wash something like a cut-up comforter, the batting comes out the edges and makes a bit of a mess. I should've washed it on gentle. Lesson learned.

So here's my plan. Cut the pretty fabric into lengths to be pieced to make one long piece about 9 3/4 inches wide by 74 inches long. This is for double 30-inch French doors. I'll sew the pieces together. Fold in half lengthwise and stitch the long seam. Fold under the ends and stitch in place, for finished edges. Roll up the comforter, tightly. Rubber band it in several places to secure it. Place a plastic bag over the leading end, to enable the rolled comforter to slide into the pretty sleeve. Tie the ends, candy-style with ribbon or ties made of the same fabric. We'll see how it goes.

It went well. 1  1/2 hard-working hours later, my draft stopper is completely done and in place. My fabric piece happened to be 9 3/4 inches wide, hence that very exact sounding measurement. The fabric was not long enough to make the 74 inches in one stretch, so I pieced it together. In my design classes we always were told that if you have to piece something together, it is better to piece it in 3 parts than in 2 -- less visually disrupting. So I had one long piece at 53 inches, then cut the other piece at 24 inches and halved it, allowing for 1/2 inch seams, totaling 74 inches.

I folded it over, right sides together, and sewed the fabric, with 1/2 inch seam allowance, then zigzagged to prevent fraying, along the long edge, forming a tube. Turned this inside out, then hemmed the ends.

I rolled up the comforter to get an idea of how fat I wanted it to be. Then marked and cut it to size. Rerolled it tightly, and secured with rubber bands.

Then the hardest part, getting the comforter into the casing.

The plastic bag really helped guide those first feet, but the rest was "scrunch and pull" the whole way. I turned on the news and amused myself while I worked away at stuffing the comforter. This one part took close to 30 minutes. But once done, I made ties of the fabric and tied the ends, candy-roll style.

Now on to draft snake no. 2 -- the one for the kitchen doors. (to see draft snake no.2 here  and draft snake no.3 here)


Jessica said...

I'm going to make one too! Our rolled up towel just keeps unrolling and looks terrible. I love your version, and I'm so impressed that you stopped yourself from going to the fabric store!

Live and Learn said...

I too love fabric stores. Such a feast for the eyes and so many possibilities. That's why I don't go unless I have a specific project in mind.

I like the ties on the end of the door snake. I don't usually see them like that.

Lili said...

Hi Jessica,
That's what kept happening with our towel, too. And after a couple of days it would be just a rumpled mess that I'd have to reroll. So this was definitely a better option. Keeping myself from going to the fabric store was not at all easy. I love looking at all the beautiful fabrics. It's like candy to me. But I am trying to use up the stuff that we have right here, and this was a help. As it turned out, I love this fabric and was glad to find a good use for it.

Good luck with your draft snake!

I'm glad you stopped by!

Lili said...

Hi live and learn,

I know, so many beautiful fabrics. They are such a temptation to just buy. I do try to wait until I have a specific project for which to buy (and have a coupon in hand). And in an effort to use up project materials which we already have, this was a good project -- simple and used an odd shaped fabric remnant.

The ties I thought would make it easy for me to slip off the cover for laundry. It just seemed the easiest way to keep an opening. I thought about buttons and Velcro, but this was quicker. Now on to the draft stopper for the kitchen door.

Thanks for reading!

Belinda said...

Draft dodgers are perfect for keeping cold winds out of the ouse. Yours is beautiful, I love that fabric and can just see the expression on your face when you saw it on the clearane table, Lili. I have expereinced something similar with some beautiful fabric I found on the clearance table once.

Another trick that we do when the cold winds blow is to put a heavy coat on the doorknob. It will keep drafts out as well. :)

Gillian @ Money After Graduation said...

We need one of these ! And I LOVE the fabric, I bet it looks beautiful as a bed cover!

Anonymous said...

I love that. I tried to make one of my own a while back, but didn't make it solid enough and resorted to a towel, till now I have a door with zero draft.

I love your description of your attic, I had a basement like that...I refused to go down there for anything.

Anonymous said...

When I was young we lived in a big old rambling house. There were always towels at the door edges and if the winter was particularly bitter, Mama had these polyester quilt covers that my grandmama had made. They'd never been quilted, but instead were used to hang over some of the open doorways. I always loved them because of the pretty colors.

By the way, we all have our weaknesses no matter how thrifty we try to be. For me a pile of yarn, sewing patterns for sale, etc. So I can totally understand that first impulse to run out with your coupon and see what you can

Anonymous said...

I too love fabric stores. I worked for "Fabricland" years ago. Not only do I ohh & ahh over the fabric but also I feel a compulsion to straighten up the bolts of fabric and drape them correctly. Old habits die hard.
I have a suggestion that I think will make it easier on you with your next door snake. After sewing your side seam & hemming the end DON'T turn the fabric right side out. Put your roll of batting & fabric end to end. Start at the closed end push the batting as you invert the fabric tube. Sorry I can't think of a clearer way to describe the process. I hope this is helpful not confusing.

Lili said...

Hi Belinda,
Thank you! A coat on the door knob. I'll give that a try, too. You know, when I go to repair the gasket around the exterior doors I can always see a bit of light where I can't fit any of the foam in the jamb, and it's right around the door knob. So maybe something hanging right there would keep the draft out.

Thanks for the tip!

Lili said...

Hi Gillian,
I think it does. Part of that is the nostalgia thing. I see the duvet and remember my grandmother's beautiful home. I put it on the bed every fall and take a moment to remember her. I'm a real sap about these things!

Thanks for reading!

Lili said...

Hi Lois,
A door with no draft -- now that must be very cozy!
If your basement was anything like my attic, I'd refuse to go down there,too! One of these years I'd like to do some work in our attic and finish it a bit more. Otherwise I really don't like to put anything in there, so it's just wasted space.

Glad you dropped in!

Lili said...

Hi Shara,
What you described that your grandmother made for doorways, reminds me of something that I see in photos of period houses. There's a name for this and I can't recall it (portiere, maybe?) Anyways, it's a curtain rod above a doorway, with ring-suspended curtains, that slide across the opening when needed, then left open when not. I've seen them across bare openings and across doors to the exterior. I've thought about them for our own house, as it has something of a period look.

I'm glad someone else could have a weakness for something like yarns, patterns and fabrics on sale!

Lili said...

Hi frugal spinster,
That's funny about you wanting to straighten the bolts of fabric! When I'm in a clothing store, I want to straighten the piles of sweaters and tee-shirts (I worked in a department store when I was younger, and was taught the "proper way" to fold a sweater).

I know what you're describing for getting the batting into the casing. This is similar to how I get the duvet into the cover. I'll give that a try. My upper arms got quite a workout the other day with the scrunch and pull method.

Thanks for the tip!

Kris said...

Very pretty! But, then, I drink my tea out of pretty mugs and teacups ... ;)

EcoCatLady said...

I made one many years ago, but I used old dried beans to stuff it. Somehow I thought it needed to be heavy and bean bag like. Anyhow, it worked great until the cats started using it for a scratching toy... they ripped it open and we had beans everywhere! OK... maybe not the best material to use! Anyhow, I have some dead pillows that I could salvage the stuffing from, I may have to give it a try!

Now I've gotta figure out what to do with the beans... not edible I'm sure. Maybe I could find a teacher who could use them for crafts or something.

Everyday Life On A Shoestring said...

Lovely job Lili! Much more tasteful than our doggy draught excluder!

Lili said...

Hi Kris,
Thanks! And me, too!

Lili said...

Hi Cat,
As for weight, it all depends on how bad a draft it is, and how gusty the winds can get, and if you have small animals or people moving about. The best advice I read online was to have both batting and something for weight. You do the weight in a long thin tube down the center of your batting. I am thinking about doing a center tube of sand for weight for our front door draft stopper. It's quite damp here and things like rice or beans can absorb moisture and then rot. The batting is a better insulator than dried beans or rice.

You could do a combination of both, beans down the center of the tube, surrounded by batting from your pillows.

To make that center tube of beans (or in my case sand), you can use a large heavy duty garbage bag. Place some beans in a strip down the center of a cut open bag, then roll the bag up and tape tightly shut. You can then lay this bean filled tube in the center of your batting before stuffing the casing, or have it rest on the bottom of your snake, inside the casing.

Good luck with it!

Lili said...

Hi Sarah,
Thank you! But to be honest, our rolled-up towel draft stopper would only stay in a roll about a day. By the end of a week it'd be in a heap and need rerolling.

I'm glad you stopped by!

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