Wednesday, 16 March 2011

The world's least exciting make-along... Part 1

Excuse the not very dramatic photo, but we have a drafty front door. As I'm not back at my day job until July, we can't afford to replace it, and kind of want to replace all 3 of our external doors at the same time anyway, so an interim measure was called for. The husband put down some draft excluding tape stuff in the gap at the bottom of the door, but frankly, its insulating properties are debatable and it keeps getting unstuck and tripping me up. A solution was needed, but what?

Around the same time as I was mulling over what we needed, I was listening to a programme on Radio 4 where a new challenge was issued to clothing manufacturers. Basically, the guest pointed out that while the success of polycotton is in its durability and easier care, it also means that once polyester is bonded with cotton, it never dies, it never degrades fully and it's an eco disaster waiting to happen. He encouraged all of us to rethink the way we buy clothes, and to buy classic pieces that last - we'll look better, and less with go to landfill. Now, of course, this isn't news to probably most of the people reading this blog, but it reminded me of something I'd been meaning to do for ages - reuse a duvet cover that got ruined by a project involving superglue being spilled on it, and also to reuse a fleece blanket that was attracting too much cat fur to be sanitary or nice to look at or touch - case in point illustrated by Clyde here.

Ordinarily I'd just give the fleece blanket away, but this is a fleece blanket with history - bought while this commotion was going on in the background. I am sentimental about silly things like that. And glad I was buying synthetic fabrics that day.

So I measured up the door and here's the fix I came up with. More to come next week, as I'm having to work around unpredictable naps!

I cut down the blanket and duvet cover to the size of the door frame, long enough to cover the letter box. I didn't do it full length as the blanket and usable portion of the duvet cover wasn't big enough, and the main drafts come in at the windowed portion of the door as well as the letter box.

Next step - iron the duvet cover inside out so the seams sit nice and flat - using two of the seamed edges already on the duvet cover means more chance of my edges being nice and square.

With the duvet cover inside out, pin together a duvet cover and blanket sandwich. I sewed all around the edges, leaving a hole just bigger than my fist on one edge, for turning.

I also made a pair of tabs for hanging the draft excluder, these were sewn into the shortest edge. I sewed along three of the edges of a pair of fabric rectangles (right side together), then turned them inside out. Then realised I only needed to sew along two edges but it was quicker just to keep the needle down and turn.

I really do struggle with ensuring that my fabrics line up in the corners and that I end up with straight and more importantly, level, lines where I need them. Especially when working with a stripy fabric! This piece of thin MDF makes a great template for use with tailors' chalk. The weight in it ensures the fabrics stay put, too.

After letting loose with the sewing machine, I remembered to trim out the bulk at the corners as well as all around the piece.

So my tabs work perfectly and my door is technically covered in all the right places - with the exception of that droopy bit in the middle. It looks a bit meh, though, definitely still recycle and not upcycle quite yet... I have my thinking cap on for how to make it a little more interesting and I'll bring you an update soon!