Mon. May 27th, 2024

Our doors and windows are extremely drafty. We’ve managed to stop some of the draft with that ugly shrink wrap stuff, which is fine for our un-renovated and already-ugly upstairs. Now that our downstairs is looking more like a home, we wanted something a bit nicer.

We went back and forth about installing weatherstripping on our crappy and flimsy screen doors, but thought it would be pretty ineffective. In my search for another option, I came across draft stoppers or draft snakes, which are rice (or other substance)-filled tubes of fabric that simply block the air from coming in.

There are lots of draft snake options out there (herehere and here), including one-side and double-sided snakes. The double-sided snake is useful for a door because it stays in place when you open and close the door.

I started with the double door snake because it looked slightly more complicated.

Double-Sided Door Draft Snake

Step 1: Cut the Fabric

To measure the width of the material, I calculated the 3 things: the width I wanted inside the vestibule, the thickness of the door and the width I wanted on the outside of the door. For me, these measurements were 4″, 1¾” and 1¾”. I then doubled it and added ½” for my seam allowance to get a total of 15½”.

For the length, I measured the length of the door (34″) and added 1″ for my seam allowance (½” on either end) for a total length of 35″.

In the end I had a piece of fabric that was 15½ x 35″.

2. Sew the Outside Seams

The next step was to sew all the seams I could that would be hidden. First, I folded the material in half and ironed the fabric. I used felt, so I didn’t have a right or wrong side, but if I was using another material, it would have been sewn right sides together.

Then I sewed along the length of the fabric followed by the width, allowing a ½” seam for both. I also pinned it to keep the edges together.

I then turned the fabric inside out and used a pencil to get out the corners and ironed the fabric again.

Step 3: Sewing the Sections

Next, I had to divide the fabric into the 3 sections I mentioned above, using the same measurements. I measured the widths and used pins to mark the lines. I actually staggered the pins so that I could use them as a guide when I was sewing. If I had used regular fabric, I would have drawn lines on the fabric with a fabric pen but still pinned to hold the fabric in place.

Back to the sewing machine, I sewed along each line making sure to leave a 1″ gap on the end (for my ½” seam allowance). 

When I was done, I had 3 separate sections and an open edge.

Before I filled the snake, I tucked in the fabric at the open edge (½”) and pinned it (I would have ironed it if it wasn’t felt). This step was easier to do before the snakes were filled with lentils.

Step 4: Fill the Snake

After my sections were sewn, I created a paper funnel and filled the two outer sections with lentils. I chose lentils because I had them, but rice or beans would have worked just as well.

I used approximately 3 full bags of lentils for my snake. The snake is deceivingly large.

Step 5: Sew the Final Seams

Once the fabric was filled with lentils I went back to the sewing machine to finish the final seam. It was a bit awkward but I pinned the lentils back as much as I could so it was easier to work with (and not spill everywhere). I also made sure not to fill the fabric too much or it wouldn’t have fit under the machine. 

And that’s it!

Window Snakes

I used the draft snakes for our dining room windows, which have a serious cold breeze coming out of the top. We’re currently using tea towels to block the air, which is pretty unsightly.

Step 1: Cut the Fabric

To determine the length of the fabric, I measured the width of the window (29″) and added 1″ (to allow for two ½” seams on either end) for a total of 30″. For the width (which determines the girth of the snake), I used 6½” (because the 8″ I used for the double snake would have been too bulky for the windows) and added ½” seam allowance for a total of 7″. Since I made two, I ended up with two pieces of 7×30″.

Step 2: Sew the Outside Seams

The next step was to sew the hidden seam. First, I folded the material in half and ironed the fabric. Again, I used material that didn’t have a right or wrong side, but if I did, I would have folded the fabric right sides together.

Then I sewed along the length of the fabric with a ½” seam followed by one edge of the width, again allowing for a ½” seam. I also marked a reference line for stitch since I have a hard time sewing in straight lines. 

I also cut away the corner (being careful not to cut the sewn bits) so that there was less fabric when I turned it inside out. This allowed me to have a sharper corner.

Note: Get close to the seam but don’t cut through it!

I then turned the fabric inside out and used a pencil to get out the corners and ironed the fabric again (exactly like I did for the other snake).

Before I filled the snake, I tucked in the fabric at the open edge (about ½”), ironed it and pinned it. This was easier to do before I filled the snake.

Step 3: Fill the Snake

I then poured about 1kg of lentils into the snake.

Step 4: Sew the Final Seams

Once the fabric was filled with lentils, I went back to the sewing machine to finish the final seam. It was a bit awkward but I pinned the lentils back as much as I could so it was easier to work with (and so that I didn’t spill lentils everywhere). I also made sure not to fill the fabric too much or it wouldn’t have fit under the machine.

And that’s it!

The windows are now draft-free (mostly, anyways) and far better looking than before!

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