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How To Upcycle A Sweater Into A DIY Draught Excluder

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If you’re currently braving the cold amid sky-high energy bills, then you may want to learn how to upcycle an old and unloved sweater to make a DIY draught excluder.

I’m not saying this will keep you warm indefinitely, but it’ll certainly help – especially if you have a large gap underneath any of your doors that lead to the outside / front door.

But you’re a busy bee! You simply don’t have time to make anything remotely complicated and I understand that.

So, read on for some simple instructions to find out how you can upcycle a sweater into a DIY draught excluder.

If you have a sewing machine, then it’s really quick and easy to do. Here’s how…

How To Upcycle A Sweater Into A DIY Draught Excluder

How To Upcycle A Sweater Into A DIY Draught Excluder

Supplies & materials you’ll need:

  • Your old or unloved sweater/jumper
  • Stuffing
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Needle and thread
  • Optional: Additional embellishments (ribbon, trim, buttons, lace, etc)


Step 1: Cut up your old sweater

For this DIY draught excluder, you’ll want to use the sleeves of an unloved sweater to make it. 

Start by cutting the sleeves off of your sweater and trim them so they’re the same size as each other and so that they have relatively straight edges.

Don’t throw away the other parts of your sweater because you may want to use them later on. There’s more on how else you can recycle your old sweater shortly.

Step 2: Sew the two sleeves together

Pin your two sleeves together (right sides together) and take them to your sewing machine.

DIY draft excluder - sew right sides together
Remember to pin and sew the right sides together!

Using a simple straight stitch, sew the two sleeves together by stitching down one of the shortest sides.

DIY draft excluder - sew right sides together
A simple straight stitch joins the two sleeves together

You should now have one long piece of fabric to make your door draught stopper, but it will have a seam down the middle. Let’s cover that up!

DIY draft excluder - sew right sides together
This creates a seam in the middle of the two sleeves

Step 3: Cover up the seam lines

For my project, I used gold trim and buttons to hide the seam lines down the middle of my two sleeves.

If you want to try something similar to mine then pin a length of ribbon or fabric to your sleeves. Using a straight stitch, sew the trim onto your sleeves by stitching around the trim.

Embellish your DIY draft excluder
Using gold trim and buttons to “hide” the seam between the two sleeves

You may like to add buttons as well, which you can sew on by hand once you’ve finished sewing the trim.

You could even use some of the remaining parts of your sweater if it’s got a pretty pattern on it or something like that.

Step 4: Sew three sides of the sleeve draught excluder

Now, you can sew your draught excluder together. 

Fold your sleeves along their longest edge so they meet at the top and pin them into place. Remember to fold inwards so you have your two right sides together.

Making a DIY draft excluder from an old sweater
Remember to pin and sew the right sides together!

Take this panel to your sewing machine and sew three sides together, leaving one short side at the end open. This is for stuffing your excluder when you’re finished.

Step 5: Stuff your draught excluder

Turn your panel inside out, so you now have your pretty trim on the outside. You may need to carefully push your scissors into the corners to give them a neat edge.

Now, you can stuff your excluder. I used some stuffing that came from my dog’s old bed, but you can buy stuffing from any good craft store or online.

Step 6: Sew the final side of your draught excluder closed

For the final step, you now need to sew the remaining open edge closed. You’ll need to do this by hand with a needle and thread. 

You may want to use a slip stitch so that your sewing is hidden from view. Here’s a useful video to show you how to do that.

And you’re done! You should now have a pretty and useful DIY draught excluder to help you keep the cold out. Enjoy!

Tutorial - upcycle a sweater into a DIY draft excluder
My finished DIY draught excluder – made by upcycling an old and unloved sweater

RELATED: Upcycle Book Pages Into DIY Wrapping Paper

BONUS: Extra Things To Make With Your Old Sweaters

If you followed my instructions, then you only used the sleeves to make your DIY draught excluder, which means you have a lot more fabric left over.

When making mine, I also made a cushion (from the body of the sweater) and a small dog toy with some of my leftover scraps.

How to upcycle an old sweater
My sweater made three different things – a draught excluder, a cushion and a small dog toy

Just like the draught excluder, these were easy to make and followed similar steps:

  1. Cut the pieces down to size
  2. Sew around three sides (right sides together)
  3. Turn the pieces inside out so the outer fabric is now visible
  4. Stuff them
  5. Sew up the remaining sides

Note: I didn’t add any embellishments to these other two items as they were to be given to my dog, who has a habit of destroying things!

Upcycle an old sweater 3 ways
The finished items – all made from an upcycled sweater!


I hope you found this DIY draught excluder tutorial helpful. Any questions? Or do you have some other ideas for how to upcycle old sweaters and jumpers? Drop me a line down below and I’ll reply asap.

Did you like this DIY draught excluder idea? Why not pin or bookmark this blog post now, so you can read it again later?

How To Upcycle A Sweater Into A DIY Draught Excluder
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is the brains behind the House of Mahalo craft blog, YouTube channel and Etsy shop. She's been cross-stitching since she was 10, baking since she was 6 and just generally creating something fabulous for as far back as she can remember. In 2020, Justine started upcycling various items around the house, and in 2021, she discovered the wonderful world of junk journals. Since then, she's made well over 30 journals and folios by hand, alongside various handmade gifts and home decor pieces. Justine now shares tutorials and inspiring DIY ideas via this craft blog, her YouTube videos and in her Facebook group called Junk Journal Ideas and Inspiration.

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