This is the kids and my first winter in our new house. Although it was March when we moved in last year, Spring came fairly quickly, so all of the drafts and breezes that this house has didn’t really have time to become known to us. After this winter there is one thing I know for sure…we need new entry doors. Our side door, which is the most frequently used, has a storm door that completely freezes up when temps are in the teens or lower. Not to mention the lock freezing up so it is unusable. The front door is o.k., but there is quite a breeze that makes it’s way through the bottom crack. I’m not sure how because it seems tight, but apparently it is not.
Since right now, new doors are not in the budget and since changing doors in the winter isn’t really ideal, I’ve come up with some adorable workarounds. For the side door, short of just changing the door knob, there’s not much I can do, BUT, for the front door, I came up with a couple of cute door draft blocker patterns 😀 The cat is my idea and the dog is Sophia’s. I am aware that the cat looks a bit like a squirrel, but he’s still cute in my book! The cat pattern is a bit more complex because I was trying to separate the filling from the rice that is also in there to weight it down. I decided on a simpler pattern for the dog, just adding the stuffing first, then funneling in the rice–only on the bottom, at the end. The dog version of the patterns won out in the end, so those that you can download are a simple sewing project, great for beginners, too (I’m actually not that advanced of a seamstress myself).
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:
-Fabric, enough to fit the length of the door it will be in front of. Since door length’s vary, measure yours before purchasing anything. We used 41 inches, just over a yard. Also, use a durable fabric without much stretchiness, like corduroy, denim, avoid knits.
-Stuffing -Rice (1 regular size bag is plenty)
-Needle and Thread
-Scissors and pins
-Buttons for Eyes and Nose of Dog and Eyes of Cat
-Black Felt for Cat Nose
-Either the Dog Draft Blocker Pattern or the Cat Door Draft Blocker Pattern.
Step 1 – Print and Prepare Pattern
The patterns are on multiple 8 1/2 x 11 inch printouts that will need to be taped together…that was the best way I thought to do it. Because of this you’ll want to cut them out first and tape them together as appropriate. You’ll also want to make the length appropriate to your door. You can do this by adding or removing parts of the ‘middle section’ of either the cat’s tail or the dog’s mid-section.
Step 2 – Pin and Cut
Next, pin the pieces of the pattern to your folded fabric. Once they are secure, cut along the edge and set aside. Note that on the dog pattern, the ears need a total of 4 pieces, so you’ll have to cute them out twice. For our dog, we placed his lower edge (tummy region) on a fold so we wouldn’t have to sew that part, but that is not necessary–it is optional for both patterns though.
Step 3 – Sew the Dogs Ears (Skip to Step 5 if you’re making the Cat)
Pin the dog ears so the right sides face together. Use a straight stitch on your sewing machine to sew around the edges. I use the edge of the presser foot as my guide. Make sure to leave about an inch or so on the bottom edge of each ear unsewn so you can flip them right-side-out easier when your done sewing them. If the hole is too small, it’s hard to flip them, I learned this on my first ear 😀
Step 4 – Sew the Dogs Ears to the Dog
To do this, take your ears (which you’ve flipped right-side-out) and place them on the right side of one of the tops of the dogs head. Make sure to leave all of the unsewn edge hanging over so it get’s sewn to the inside of your dog. Once you’re satisfied with the placement, place the other half of the dog, right-side-in, on top of the ears. Pin it all together and then sew from one side of the ears, over them and to the other side. Your ears should be in place after that!
Step 5 – Sew the Body Together
If you’re doing the dog, you’ve already started this part when you sewed the ears in. Just finish pinning around the edge of the dog, making sure not to catch the ears. For the cat, place right sides of fabric together and pin around the edges. Sew all around, leaving an opening in the middle of the stomache/tail of the dog or cat so you can get stuffing in and flip them right-side-out. You’ll want to leave a good six inches or so so you can get your hand in to stuff the heads and tails of the animals.
Step 6 – Flip Right-Side-Out
Now it’s time to flip your door draft blocker the right way out. Just pull the whole thing through the hole you left and you’ll end up with your animal shell.
Step 7 – Add Stuffing
The blockers will have both stuffing and rice in them, but first we add stuffing to all of the body parts and the top of the stomach or tail. Add as much to make it your desired firmness and so the head or body stand up. Try to leave a bit of looseness and space in the lower part of the tail/stomach for the rice addition.
Step 8 – Add Rice
To add the rice, use a sieve and stick it in the hole facing the way you want the rice to go. You’ll have to do some going down toward the head, and some toward the end of the tail. It can take a bit of time to work the rice down to each end, but just massage it down…you should be able to fit your whole bag in there. The rice is important because it hold the blocker in place in front of the door, giving it some weight. This step can take a bit, but just take your time and you’ll get the rice in.
Step 9 – Sew Shut
Once all the rice is in, pin the opening shut, making sure to fold the edges in so it looks pretty. Then, take your needle and thread and sew it shut with a blind/ladder stitch (Here’s a link to a blind/ladder stitch tutorial if you’re not sure how to do it).
Step 10 – Glue on Eyes and Nose
Use hot glue to glue on your eyes and nose in the right places. If you’re more energetic, you can sew them on too. For the cats nose, cut out a triangle from the black felt that looks like a good size for your cat and glue it on.
Step 10 – Cat only – Stitch on Whiskers and Mouth
You don’t have to do this step, but the cat looks way more squirrel like without a stitched on mouth and whiskers. You don’t have to be a professional embroiderer either, just stitch out some whiskers and a mouth with black thread and you’ll be good…that’s all I did.
And that’s all, next place it in front of your drafty door and you’ll notice the floor is instantly warmer!