After taking the Instructables class on using sewing machines and picking up a bargain second hand machine from a local Facebook for-sale group, I was looking for a simple project to give my new found skills a try out.
By coincidence the cherished hessian doorstop we had for several years was beginning to get threadbare and threatened to spill its stuffing at any moment! I dissected the faithful doorstop to figure out how it could be repaired and it turned out to be a relatively simple project to create a new one from scratch.
To preserve its memory I cut a patch from the old doorstop with its button heart and used it as a decorative panel on a new model.
Step 1: Equipment and Materials
- Sewing machine - I got mine second hand for $10 via a local Facebook for sale group, similar bargains are easily found on EBay or in the classifieds if you don’t want to buy a new machine.
- Fabric - I used a 50cm by 25cm rectangle, though have also made smaller and larger sizes by scaling so the long side is still twice the short side in length. A sturdy fabric such as canvas, denim or similar gives a durable end product and is easy to sew, I got a stack of fabric remnants from the neighborhood thrift store for only a dollar! Give the fabric panel a press with the iron after cutting to size.
- Filling - I used two 680 gram (24oz) packets of dried Pinto beans from Dollar Tree ($2 in total) which adequately filled this size of doorstop.
- Thread - matching or contrasting thread for the fabric chosen.
- Decoration - I cut out a geometrical star shape in contrasting fabric to stitch on; other ideas include buttons, sequins or patches limited only by your imagination!
- Iron and ironing board - nothing special about this, it is used to press the fabric and make it neater to work with.
Step 2: Laying Out Decoration
I found it much easier to apply the decorative elements as the first step in putting the doorstop together, as you are working with a flat piece of fabric rather than a 3D shape. Once you have decided on your decoration, mine was a simple geometric shape, sew or glue onto the ‘right’ side of the fabric panel.
To align the decoration onto the front of the finished pyramid it should be lined up with the centre of the long side of the fabric panel. If your fabric has a particular texture or weave, such as corduroy, spend a bit of time working out how you want the final product to look before you start cutting and sewing, and don't forget to allow for the seam width on working out the size of your decorations
I found the centre of the panel by folding in half and the pinned the decorative shape into position before sewing onto the front (right) side of the fabric using a zigzag stitch. Give the fabric another quick press with an iron.
Step 3: Sewing the Edges
Fold the fabric panel in half with the right side and any decorations inside, i.e wrong side out and pin the edges to hold everything in place whilst you sew.
Lay out the project with the fold on your left and sew the top side, I used a seam width of 2 cm which seemed (ha ha!) about right. When you get within 2 cm of the end turn 90 degrees and sew down the next side to the bottom again with a seam width of 2 cm.
Trim the corners off at approximately 45 degrees and iron the seams open. This will make it easier and neater when the pyramid is turned inside out to the final or ‘right’ side.
Step 4: From 2D to 3D, Sewing the Last Side.
The project now needs to be arranged into the three dimensional pyramid shape and the last open side closed up, though leaving a gap to turn inside out and fill with the beans. Describing the next steps is more difficult than looking at the pictures or actually working with the material, but here goes....
With the project laid out flat in front of you so that the folded edge is on the left, the previously sewn sides at top and right hand side, the remaining open side is at the bottom. Push the bottom right hand corner and bottom left hand corner together so that the fabric bulges above and behind and pin into place. if you have done this correctly the decoration applied in the earlier step should be in the centre of the front 'face'.
This last edge now needs to be sewn up but a gap is required to fold the pyramid inside out to the 'right' side and to fill with beans. I found it neater to start in the middle and sew towards the edge on both the left and right sides rather than from the edge into the middle.
Step 5: Turning the Right Way Round
The pyramid now needs to be turned the right way round before filling and sealing up. Carefully and methodically turn the pyramid the right way by pushing through the unsewn gap left in the previous stage, this may require a bit of patience if you have used a thick or stiff fabric however take it slowly and gently and you will get there eventually!
I used a piece of dowel or a chopstick to help push the corners out properly, being careful not to push through the stitching. The project should now resemble a pyramid as promised!
Step 6: Filling the Pyramid
All that remains now is to fill the pyramid and seal it up.
I found that snipping off a small corner of the beans bag acted as a handy spout which allowed me to pour the beans directly into the pyramid through the gap left in the previous stage, otherwise a funnel can easily be used. Two full bags of Pinto beans was just the right amount for this size doorstop pyramid, it doesn't need to be completely stuffed, rather full enough to hold the right shape and sufficient weight of beans to hold the door open!
I found it easier to sew up the gap by hand, however your skills maybe greater than mine in which case use the machine.
Ta-da, a pyramid door stop!
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