Submarine Style Door Wind-cheater,




Introduction: Submarine Style Door Wind-cheater,

Hi, This is my first instructable, so hope I am able to make myself clear :) 

We live in an old house that takes a bit of heating. We do have central heating but it doesn't seem to get the house warm enough. So we use a Rayburn woodburner in the kitchen and a small handmade woodburner in our living room. 
This kind of heating seems to suit our purposes much better. 

The only bug bear is when we answer the door and a load of that hard earned heat (collecting logs, chopping, splitting and storing) goes out the door and we get blasted with a cold breeze, usually for something unimportant. 

We have a curtain on the inside of the door but once the door is open this does nothing to stop that breeze. 

So I decided to make an outside barrier to the cold that only needed to be opened to admit a visitor and could be left closed to door step salesmen, pizza delivery, postmen and basically everyone that doesn't actually have to come into the house. 

Hence the Submarine style Door Wind-cheater.

This device is fitted to the outside of your door frame and will cover your front door. When someone knocks the door, you can go open your front door and see who it is with no draughts.  if it is someone you need to speak to you speak through the porthole, if you need to take in a parcel you can sign for it and take it in through the submarine door. If you need to let them in you un Velcro one side and let them in. 

Importantly all keeping your house and you warm and cozy and draught free. 

The door wind-cheater is good for all dwellings as you can make it for house, barn, boat, caravan wherever your home may be. 

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Step 1: Materials and Tools List:

Plastic for porthole window
Ball point pen
Soluble stabiliser (not essential)
Sew on and stick on velcro
Fabric marking chalk
Basic sewing machine (can hand sew but would take a long time)

I wanted to use materials that I had around the house without spending anything extra. So took a while to gather everything I needed.

Step 2: Drawing the Design

First I used the soluble stabiliser to trace the design from my picture of a porthole that I printed out earlier. If you do not want to use soluble stabiliser, or you don't have any, you can just copy the picture onto the fabric using a pen or marking chalk. Put this to one side. 

Step 3: Sandwich Layers of Fabric Together

Lay a square of fabric on the table (my fabric is yellow) that you will use for the port hole. It needs to have a couple of inches spare around the edge. Then we put our square of plastic from our pillow bag onto that and tape it in place with masking tape. Then we lay another square of fabric on top of that. This will be the back of our port hole. I used some white, quite thick, cotton fabric.  

Now we need to turn those layers over so that we have the yellow fabric on top, then again using masking tape, tape the soluble stabiler with our design onto the yellow fabric . 

If you are not using soluble stabiliser you will have your design drawn onto your top piece of fabric at this stage. 

Step 4: Sewing Layers Together

Next we go to the sewing machine (or hand sew if you prefer) and sew those layers together along the lines you have drawn either straight onto the fabric or onto the stabiliser. 

I use the freemotion sewing technique, I am not going to go into detail on how to do this, if you want to learn this you can go here  and take a look at Leah Day's video on starting with freemotion sewing. She is amazing and shows you that you don't need an expensive machine to do this. As she does it so well, no point in me trying to fumble through it. 

Or you could use your normal stitches on your machine, it will take a bit of stopping, starting, turning etc.. it is possible to do it that way. or again, you could hand sew it. 

Once sewn you then remove the stabiliser, as it is soluble you can either rinse it off under a running tap or just carefully tear it away. I do the tearing method as you don't have to wait for the fabric to dry before the next step. Trim all long threads from both sides of the porthole.

Step 5: Cutting Out the Porthole

I then cut out the white fabric from the back of my porthole working quite close to the stitching. You do need to be careful not to cut the plastic window of the porthole which is beneath. Then I cut out the yellow fabric from the front of the porthole in the same way.

I then decided the yellow thread I had used didn't stand out enough so I went over my stitches again using dark green. I didn't want to use black as I didn't want it to be too dark. 

Step 6: Finish Off the Porthole

Once I had gone over my yellow thread with dark green thread it looked much better.

Now we need to cut close to our stitches around the outside of our porthole and it is finished for now. We can put it to one side and get on with the rest of the piece.

Step 7: Submarine Door

I then cut some fabric for the submarine door. I rounded the corners of the door, no idea why, I am not really sure what a submarine door looks like, I just know they have the round handle that looks like a steering wheel so made it up. I drew the design using a ball point pen straight onto the fabric rather than using stabiliser. 

I then sewed along my lines in the same way as I did with my porthole window. Trim all the threads from the front. 

Next you will need to cut a piece of fabric the same size as the submarine door and put them together right sides facing, I used a yellow piece same as I used for the porthole. I pinned these together to keep them in place. I sewed all around the edge of the two pieces of fabric leaving a three inch gap so that I could turn it inside out. 

Step 8: Turn Inside Out and Topstitching

I turned the door inside out through the 3 inch gap I left. I made sure that it was flattened out nicely ready for top stitching around the edge. At this stage most folks would iron it, I am a non ironer if I can help it so I didn't do that. 

Then I lined up my sewing machine foot with the very edge of the door and top stitched all around the edge. This gives it a nice finished look, that is if submarine doors need a nice finished look. 

Step 9: Cut Out Area for Porthole and Submarine Door

Next I cut a large piece of fabric that would cover the whole of the front door and frame with a few inches extra all round. I made a small hem all around the edge so that it didn't fray. If you have a serger (overlocker in the UK) you could serge around the edge instead as it would be quicker and neater.

I folded it in half lenghways and used some fabric marking chalk to mark where the port hole and submarine door would be placed. 

I then marked a second line with the chalk inside the other mark so there would be an inch or so overlap which would let in less draughts when finished. 

Then I cut out the circle an inch inside of the innermost mark. 

Step 10: Pinning and Hemming Edge of Porthole and Submarine Door

We now need to hem the edges of the porthole and submarine door. Again, if you have a serger you could do these edges with this, it will look nicer and will be less fiddly.

As the hole is rounded you are going to need to use scissors and make small cuts as far as the innermost chalk mark on the porthole. This is so that the hem can be turned back more neatly. Pin it all as you go. Make sure all the cut 'V's are turned onto the pinned side of the fabric or they will show through on the other side and will fray. 

Now pin the submarine door in the same way. As it is only the corners that are rounded you will only need to snip up to the chalk mark there as the long straight sides will turn in easily and neatly. 

Step 11: Sewing Porthole and Submarine Door in Place

Pin your porthole in place over the porthole hole you have just hemmed. You only need to sew it in place on one side so that it acts like a hinge. Unless you don't want your porthole to be opening and you can just sew it over the whole of the porthole opening. 

Pin your submarine door in place again only down one side so that it can open for access to sign for parcels etc...

Then sew these two in place. I used the freemotion technique again here following the sewn lines I had done previously. 

Step 12: Sewing on Velcro

Now we need to add Velcro to keep those bits closed when not in use to keep out the draughts. 

I have pinned the hooky side and fuzzy side of the Velcro onto the porthole and submarine door on both sides. Also I have sewn on Velcro all around the edge of the large piece of fabric to hold it in place on the door frame of your dwelling.

You will also need to add stick on velcro to the door frame so that the large piece of fabric can be fixed in place to cover the whole of your door area allowing a small area to be opened if someone needs to enter the dwelling. (if I knew how to do wood work I would have made a frame on a hinge to attach it to, like a screen door). 

Step 13: In Place and in Use

Here is the wind-cheater in use. It really does work to stop draughts and keep the house, and us, warmer. We have had a number of callers today and only had one that wanted to come in. All others we talked to through the door. We had lots of laughs and comments and cheered up the day for all. It can now stay in place and is of course washable if it needs it. 

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    7 Discussions

    Love the idea, never th thought of an outside barrier myself... Out of curiosity, is closing the hatch from the inside easy? With the velcro being outside, I mean.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Sorry didn't spot this comment before now. Yes it is easy to close the hatch. It took a couple of goes then you can pinch it and put it in place.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Alison! Just thought I'd share a picture of my garden porthole. Thank you for the inspiration!!!

    Mosaic Porthole.jpg

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you! Your porthole is really lovely.