Friday, January 14, 2011

LoLoTute: Sew Yourself a Door Stop (a tutorial!)

First off, a big congratulations to “Andy and Melissa”. You won the pillowcase set! Shoot me your info and I will get your pillowcases off in the mail.


When I think of door stops, I generally think of unsightly, and very heavy, pieces of art that you aren’t sure what to do with. It’s kind of a joke, right? Hey! That would make a great door stop!

So, when my father (in all seriousness) requested a pair of door stops for Christmas, I was stumped. He suggested a bean bag, since he knew that a certain little grandson (*ahem*SIUJEUN) would most likely throw them if he could get his hands on them. (And he would be absolutely right.)


So, after a little searching online, and a little wracking my brain, and a little sewing (and a little seam ripping and tweaking), I have come up with a doorstop!

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(My tutorial is based on the one found here…altered by me to fit my own brand of crazy. Proceed at your own risk.)


Décor-weight cotton fabric

Filler (rice, wheat, beans, etc.)

1 freezer-weight zip-top bag (sandwich or quart size)




Sewing machine



Measuring cup with a spout, or a funnel


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You’re going to start off with two pieces of fabric – one 16.5” x 9.5” (the body of the bag) and one 4” x 9.5” (the handle). (Alternately, the handle could be a 9.5” piece of webbing, or bias tape, or rope or whatever else floats your boat.) Just to make things easy, make sure both of your pieces are pressed flat. I used décor weight cotton, from IKEA. (A thick cotton is necessary to get a really crisp and sturdy cube.)

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Working with your larger piece of fabric, fold it in half (right sides together, short ends meeting) and sew up matched short ends with a 1/4” seam allowance. Congratulations – now you have a tube! Add a matching 1/4” seam along the folded edge. (Just trust me on this. It makes your cube more…cubish.)


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Now, shift your tube around so that the two seams are matched up, and centered.

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Now sew two more 1/4” seams, one on either side, along the fold. (You don’t need to worry about backstitching, or trimming your threads neatly. They will all be hidden and sewed inside other seams.)

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Now, shift your tube again so that you have two matching, and stacked, sets of seams. Sew a 1/4” seam along one of your open ends. Leave the other end open for now. Now? Your tube is a bag.

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And if you stand it up, you’ll see that you’ve made a sweet little grocery-sack type thing. Carefully flatten out the bottom so that the bag will stand up on its own. You will end up with small triangles of fabric sticking off to either side. Finger press those, then mark the fold.

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Hold up the bag to make sure that your first triangle is even, centered, pretty, and all that jazz. I like to sew just outside of that seam that runs cross-wise through the triangle. It makes for neater corners. Once you have sewn up the first triangle, you can use it to match up the second triangle. That way, they will be identical. Sew that triangle off as well.

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Now, let’s turn our attention to the open end of your sack. You need to leave a gap so that you can turn your bag right side out, and also insert your handle. Following my marks in the picture, sew two seams, each one starting at the pink hatchmark and going out towards the outside corner of the bag. (When I sewed this up, I found that I had made my opening a little TOO small. If you think you might have issues, just make the gap bigger, but don’t OUTSIDE the matched seams. You need that part sewn shut.)

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Now, set that aside and pull out your smaller piece of fabric. To make it into a handle, fire up your iron. We’re going to make binding! First, fold your piece of fabric in half, lengthwise, and press. Open it up, and fold each long edge towards the center, wrong sides together, to meet in the middle, right above your pressed crease. Finally, fold it back in half along the original crease and press again. Voila! Head over to your sewing machine and run a seam along the open end, as close to the edge as you can get.  (About 1/8” for me.)

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Here’s where it gets a little odd. Grab your (still inside out) bag and (using one of your already-sewn corners as a guide), pinch off a third corner. Holding that corner in one hand, pick up your (freshly made) handle in the other hand and carefully feed it into the gap you left at the top of the bag, and up into the corner. Feel with your pinching fingers to make sure that the handle extends past your intended seam by at least 1/2”.

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Stick that baby under the needle before everything falls apart, and sew off that corner.

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Repeat the process with the fourth corner, again matching it up to the corner below it to make sure that it is the same size.


Now the fun part. Turn it right side out. At some point, it will look like this:

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Don’t worry! Keep tugging, prodding, sweating and begging. Eventually, it will right itself. And behold! A cube! With a handle!

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Now to fill it! You’ll need a small zip-top bag, filler (I used wheat, but rice or beans would also work) and a chopstick. (My zip-top bag was freezer-weight, quart size. I wanted to make sure 1) that I didn’t puncture it while filling it and 2) that it would be thick enough that it hopefully wouldn’t attract pests to the wheat inside. These were designed to be used at my parents’ cabin…and they have critters out there in the woods!)

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Use the chopstick to poke out the corners of your cloth cube, and then stuff your bag into your gap at the top of the door stop. Carefully pour in your filler, pausing often to shake and shift and poke and prod. You want the filler to firmly fill out the bottom four corners. Keep adding your filler until your door stop is about 3/4 of the way full. Carefully squeeze out all the air that you can from your  plastic bag, and zip up the top. Tuck the bag completely inside the gap. (My door stops took about 3 cups of wheat, FYI.)

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Fill out the rest of the door stop with fiberfill, and use a blind stitch or a whip stitch to sew your gap shut.

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Congratulations! You have a door stop. Now, go forth and stop your doors. (I was surprised, when I took stock, of how many doors in my house needed door stops just to stay put…never mind how many doors would need stops if I were to open the windows!)

If you make one of these, please come back and let me know in the comments! I’d love to see pictures.

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