Upcycled Draft Catcher

Draft Catcher at door I live in an old row house. I love its little quirks, sounds and somewhat original architectural details. What I don’t love are the drafty doors. Now that the weather has turned once again, I’m reminded of these drafts.

Loosing heat out of these cracks not only ups your electric bill due to having to heat the house more to compensate for this loss, but it also contributes to our carbon footprint. So here is a quick and easy tutorial on how to upcycle an old long sleeve shirt or sweater and make, what I call a draft catcher. This is a temporary band-aid fix for the larger project of having the door replaced, which us renters might not be able to do.

Start by sorting through your pile of clothes destined for the scrap pile or Good Will. Look for a shirt that has long sleeves and a pattern or color that you like. I found a shirt that I had long wanted to make into a pillow.


Turn your shirt inside out and cut off both sleeves at the seem where they are attached at the shoulder.

Next, attach the two sleeves together by pinning where the wrists would go, together to make a seems suitable for sewing. Pin all the way around the sleeves, creating a path for your sewing machine.

Machine or hand sew this seem closed. Don’t forget to back stitch!

seeming sleeves together

Close up one end of the now double sleeve using your sewing machine or hand stitch.

Turn the sleeves inside out.

Use your stuffing of choice and fill up the sleeves. You can also use beans or rice to weigh down your draft catcher. I chose not to do this, but it might help with some doors.

Close the top opening by machine stitch or hand sew.

Enjoy your less drafty door!

Depending on what type of material you used for your draft catcher you could use the leftovers from the majority of the shirt to make infant caps, or pillows.

We’d love to see your draft catcher, please share links in the comments!

Seemed sleeves

Written by Kelly Rand

Kelly covers visual arts in and around Washington, DC for DCist and is editor of Crafting a Green World. Kelly has also been published by Bust Magazine and you can find her byline at Indie Fixx and Etsy’s Storque and has taught in Etsy’s virtual lab on the topic of green crafting.

Kelly helps organize Crafty Bastards: Arts and Crafts Fair, one of the largest indie craft fairs on the east coast and has served on the Craft Bastard’s jury since 2007. Kelly is also co-founder of Hello Craft a nonprofit trade association dedicated to the advancement of independent crafters and the handmade movement. Kelly resides in Washington, D.C. and believes that handmade will save the world.


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  1. In older houses with original doors, it’s probably better not to replace the door, in order to preserve the integrity of the house. In my house, where the gaps under some doors are 2-3 inches high, I installed sweeps, which are easily purchased at any home supply store. That’s another good option for the environmentally conscious among us.

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