Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Thrifty Tweed Door-Stop Tutorial

If you're looking for an on-trend Christmas gift idea that costs practically nothing but looks amazing, then have a go at this door-stop made using old clothing.

I love all the tweeds and tartans that are about in the shops, but to buy one of these handmade door stops in the stores will cost you anything up to £40.  Mine cost just pennies!

I used an old granny wool tartan skirt that I picked up at a jumble sale, and some (very out of date) dried lentils I found in my recent kitchen cupboard clear-out.  If you're not quite such a slovenly domestic goddess as me, you'll be able to buy lentils, rice or other pulses at the supermarket.  The cheapest I've found is supermarket own brand value rice at 40p per kilo.

I've included step-by-step instructions but it's really not complicated - you should be able to knock one of these up in just over and hour.

First cut out your fabric pieces - you'll need 4 sides (measuring 20 x 15 cm) 2 squares for the top and bottom (measuring 15 x 15 cm) and one piece for the handle (measuring 15 x 12 cm).

I recommend making templates out of cardboard, because once you see how easy these are to make, I guarantee you'll want to make more!

Once your pieces are cut, iron out any creases.  Take your handle piece and right-side down, fold over the long edges by about 1 cm to make a neat edge, and then fold the whole piece in half length ways to give you a handle strap.  Iron to keep the creases in place.

Next, sew your 4 rectangular piece sides together using a 1.5 cm seam allowance - pin along the long edge (right sides together) and straight stitch each until you have a long strip of pieces.  Finally, join the two ends in the same way so you're left with an inside-out bottomless and topless cube. (Well, not exactly a cube as it's rectangular, but you get what I mean)

Take your handle and carefully stitch near the edge of the long side to keep it in place.

Pin your handle in the centre of one of the square pieces (right sides up) to form the top of your door stop.  Take care to line up any pattern on the fabric.  Sew the handle on, stitching a little rectangle at each end for added strength.

Take your time stitching on the top and bottom.  Make sure you have the right sides facing inwards, and pin and stitch each side of the square one at a time or you'll get snarled up in the corners.  Use a 1.5 cm seam allowance again, and continue pinning and stitching each side of the square until you're done.

At this point it's a good idea to turn it right side out to make sure everything is correct and you're happy with your stitching.

Turn it inside out again and repeat the process for the bottom section.  On the last side, stitch from each corner, leaving a gap in the middle of about 6 or 7 cm.

Pop your hand through the gap and grab the handle to easily turn it the right way round.  Gently poke out the corners with your fingers and fill with your lentils (you could use any dried pulses, rice, sand or even fine gravel).  Based on these dimensions, I used approximately 1.5 - 2kg of lentils.

Slip stitch the gap closed and you're done.  Stand back and admire you're thrifty handiwork.

Further ideas:

  • Why not add some scent by adding some dried lavender to the stuffing, or steeping your rice etc in a lidded container with some drops of essential oil before filling.
  • Experiment with different fabrics - they need to be heavy weight but look out for old tweed jackets, wool flannel suits, pinstripes, woven wool blankets or tartan kilts.
  • Make a shabby chic version by using old floral curtains.
  • Experiment with different sizes.

Let me know how you get on.


  1. I really like that - so simple and useful, and as you say, really satisfying to knock one up quickly and have a gift for someone. Brill!

  2. Brilliant quick and cheap gift idea.

  3. Genius idea! I have a bag of old lentils and I need to make something soon and had been wondering what to use for the innards!

  4. Cute. Really like these - may well give it a go.

  5. You are so talented!! Love it :)

  6. I love this idea - it looks simple enough that I might even attempt it!

  7. So fabulous! I made a shabby floral doorstop once but didn;t think to use lentils and used coppers instead- not my thriftiest moment hahahaha!

  8. They look wonderful, now I just need a tutorial on how to thread my dusty sewing machine!

  9. I love it! Now I just need to add a sewing machine to my Christmas list.

  10. I feel the need, the need for tweed!

  11. Made one today. Handy pattern to work from. Delighted with the result. Definitely be making more. Thank you for sharing

  12. What a perfect tutorial. I'm going to make one just now.
    Thanks so much for sharing.
    Greetings from Mallorca (Spain)

  13. Can someone explain how to fix the handle to the top x

    1. Hi, it is explained here: "Pin your handle in the centre of one of the square pieces (right sides up) to form the top of your door stop. Take care to line up any pattern on the fabric. Sew the handle on, stitching a little rectangle at each end for added strength."

      Let me know if you're having trouble understanding it though, happy to help.

  14. Brilliant, thank you so much

  15. Try using a funnel to fill the doorstop. If no funnel...chop the top off a plastic juice bottle and use that. Works a treat and helps keep these pesky lentils under control.
    Nice clear instructions on the sewing! Thanks.

  16. Thank you for this great tutorial, I am going to make one now.

    Very much appreciated.

  17. Thank you for the detailed tutorial. Just what I needed. :)

  18. Thank you for this tutorial, I made two of these doorstops which I have posted to my blog. Your instructions are really clear.

  19. I don't understand how to attach the handle, are both the handle and the bottom right side out? if I sew the handle to the wrong side or right side I still have raw edges showing.

  20. Ok, I figured out what I was doing wrong, beginner sewer. :)