I made these awhile ago, but currently the details only reside on a web forum. I wanted a better place to put them.
2x Down Quilt Kits:
Smoke Grey nanoseeum netting (both)
Momentum90 liner (both)
1.1oz sun shell (mine)
1.1oz dark green shell (wife’s)
24oz down (total)
8x anchorable cord locks (for draw cords at head and feet)
20ft flat cord (for draw cords)
I am basing my quilts on neatoman’s quilt, previously linked by Hanger in his quilt thread. I like the ability to use it as an overbag when I need something warmer. My quilt, however, will have a rough temp rating of approx 20 deg. When used in combo with my lafuma down sb (40-45 deg), I figure I ought to be able to get close to a 0 deg system at a semi reasonable weight (roughly 3lbs for both for me…less for my wife). I am second-guessing the idea of having extra fabric flaps on the sides, but I will not make a final decision on that until I actually sit down to work on this.
The best part, of course, will be the satisfaction I get from completing it. Once it’s done, I’ll be able to add to Reality’s proud accomplishments thread.
Jason, note where I wrote that the kit contains 24oz of down. It’s the 800+fp stuff thru-hiker sells. Once I come up with measurements for the wife’s bag, I’ll be able to figure out how much hers needs. But for mine, the full 12oz will actually give me a bit of overfill (even accounting for a little loss to the 11th dimension according to the M Theory). I’ll be making the wife’s bag slightly warmer b/c she’s a cold sleeper.
I am going to need to track down a good scale that measures in grams (my current scale doesn’t even handle tenths of an ounce, and really doesn’t register until I get over 7oz). I will need it so I can measure out the down for each chamber correctly.
I also need to decide how I’m going to mark my cuts and seams on the fabric. I tried using blue painter’s tape on my preliminary mock-up (using bargain fabric from joann), and it really didn’t stick well to anything.
Craftsman 25ft heavy duty locking tape
Craftsman stainless steel carpenter’s square
Ryobi laser level
Scotch blue painter’s tape
Scotch magic tape
I’ve decided on my quilt dimensions and design. The quilt will be 75″ long. The width will be 48″ at the head and hips and 38″ at the foot. I based the measurements on those of an existing sleeping bag and my own measurements. The ‘hip’ measurement was taken from my own body and I determined it to be 40″ from my feet. I have decided NOT to put flaps along the perimeter of the quilt due to extra hassle and that 48″ will be plenty to wrap around myself. I am 5’8″ and 155lbs for reference.
I found that the small carpenter’s square I had really wasn’t big enough considering the long measurements I was making (75″ at the longest). It got me close, but I had to double check everything and move my tape guides a couple of times before I had it all right. A larger square MIGHT have eliminated the adjustments.
Also, taping the fabric down to carpet is a less than ideal situation. I used up a LOT of time and tape trying to keep the thing secured to the floor. Not to mention, due to the small workspace, I oftentimes had to sit on the fabric. I have a larger room, but I don’t have the ability to keep the cat out of it. I was not going to leave the fabric taped to the floor so the cat could play with it all night for a couple days. No way.
I used a lot of blue painter’s tape because I had a bunch left over from painting the house. I moved on to using scotch tape later on because I started running out of the blue stuff. I like the blue tape better because when laying the shell fabric over the marked liner, it is easier to see the blue tape than the clear stuff.
Here you can see all of my seam allowance, cut, and baffle guides. I gave myself 2″ of seam allowance and 5″ baffle spacing. The 75″ overall length of the quilt worked out well for this and allowed me 15 baffles all of the same width.
You can see the tape guides on the liner showing through the shell fabric. I used a sharpie to mark dotted lines on the shell for those guides instead of using a solid line because the sharpie bleeds through the yellow 1.1 ripstop. The dots should blend in well with the black thread I’m using.
Tomorrow, I will be cutting everything out and getting ready to sew the baffles.
Also, I want to emphasize that you should do some sample stitches on a scrap piece of fabric before you get to sewing the real thing. You REALLY want to make sure that all your settings are correct on the machine and that everything will go smoothly. It turns out, if I try to go too fast on my machine, it will fling loops of thread around the needle and the various tensioning bits of the machine and create a royal mess. I had to pin down an acceptable speed to get everything set correctly.
Also, on my machine, the stitch length adjustment is pretty arbitrary. I had to play with it a bit to get it set at the right # of stitches per inch. After a bit of toying with the machine (and lots of cursing when the thread would tangle), I got everything set up correctly and running smoothly. I should be ready to lay down some seams pretty soon!
I tried starting to sew my baffles the other day, only to find out that my machine was skipping stitches ALL OVER the place, resulting in nasty tangles. I put sewing on the bag on hold so I could figure out the problem with my machine. After some research on various sewing sites on the web, I had a list of items to check before I contacted a service technician.
The skipped stitch issue was caused by the bobbin hook not catching the loop of the main thread underneath the stitch plate. So, I pulled some covers off and turned the hand wheel so I could see what was going on. Lo and behold, I saw that the needle was installed backwards! Silly me…when I changed needles for the smaller one for this project, I put it in backwards, so the little scarf on the needle (which helps to create the main thread loop) was on the wrong side of the needle. I switched the needle around, and no more missed stitches.
I did encounter another problem, however. My tension settings were WAY off. So, after a couple of hours of playing with the tension settings and sewing on a piece of scrap fabric, I got everything set up correctly, and I was able to start sewing the baffles onto the liner of the quilt today.
I have to say, I like the way everything is looking now. It won’t be long before it starts to look like a real bag.
But before that, some updates. First are some pics from sewing the baffles onto the Momentum90 liner fabric.
It’s not a HUGE deal since the snip is in the seam allowance. However, it’s close enough to the bag that it won’t be getting folded under. I had to cut a little patch of fabric out and use a wide, tightly spaced zigzag stitch to patch the hole (pretty much to prevent it from ripping out later on).
D’oh! Silly me. That’s what happens when you’re getting close to your anticipated goal and you start to rush a little bit.
I had a hard time with the last few seams. The fabric kept getting in the way, and there were a few spots where folds of fabric got sewn in on the underside, and I’d have to pull a seam and restitch. In spite of the difficulties, it’s all finished and I’m quite proud of it. I did not take any pictures during the messy affair of filling the baffles with down, but here are a few shots of finishing touches.
I MIGHT have been able to cut the weight just a tiny bit more if I had trimmed the baffle mesh as I got it sewn in. But you know, I doubt it would have been much more than half an ounce.
The last bits of sewing I did, I was really starting to notice the needle getting dull.
By the end of the night, I should be ready to start sewing, and by tomorrow, I should be mostly finished with it. I’m not going to post progress pics of this one, but I will post final pics when it’s done. I think the best thing about this for my wife is that I customized the dimensions of it to her body. Mine came in at 21oz, and hers (for the same loft) should be a couple oz lighter since it’s both shorter and narrower than mine.