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  1. #1

    Question Please help me DIY a winter TQ in the UK

    Dear forum, please help. I want to make my own winter TQ (at least 0F rated) and, as is apparently usual, being in the UK doesn't help.

    In return for your kind advice I'll shower you with photos and gratitude.

    Things you'll want to know before you give me any advice you've got:

    - I've never used a sewing machine but I can at least borrow one and practice on some old sheets. The friend who owns it says she may even be able to do the sewing if I provide wine and diagrams. Even drunk, she'd probably out-sew me.
    - I'm only 5'6 so it can be short to save weight. And sewing.
    - Weight is not as important to me (cycle tourist) as to the majority of you (hikers, I gather).
    - It needs to be warmer than the sun* as it's for some cold winter conditions. Think Siberia.
    - I don't know what's the best material to use but breathable, durable and 'not sticky when skin is slightly sweaty' sounds good. Colour doesn't matter as long as it's not outrageous neon.
    - I want to use top grade down but I don't know where best to buy it or how much I need. Mat from UKHammocks, if you're reading (please please be reading), I know you sell it and know that your prices reflect it being hard to come by, but I really want to get it cheaper than you're offering. I'd like to support my local supplier as I've been happy with what you've sold me so far, but I'm afraid I'm too poor. Hence the DIY.
    - I hate velcro.
    - I'm happy with a simple rectangular blanket shape as I'm used to just tucking a blanket under my feet and shoulders in bed, so I don't necessarily need a footbox or neck toggle. I think I'll be needing baffles, based on the threads and links I've already seen on here.
    - I have plenty of stuff sacks already. Let's not go crazy with the DIY.

    Plan B is to buy one of Mat's hand-made beauties. I'd say there's more than a 50% chance of that.
    Plan C is to buy one from the US - preferably second hand from the forum - but postage and import taxes have already discouraged me. So much for our governments being mates. In the meantime, if one of you wants to get your boss to have a word with ours about this, I'd be much obliged.

    Thanks for reading; thanks again if you post.


  2. #2
    Senior Member Ramblinrev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Milton, PA
    Hennessey Explorer Ultralight
    Hennessey Hex
    HH Super Shelter
    ring buckle
    IMO a down top quilt is not a beginners project. That's not to say you shouldn't give it a go but there could be a steep learning curve. It would help to have an accomplished mentor to oversee the project but still and all if you do the work it will be a challenge. For winter quilt for those temps you will likely want a differential cut even for a top quilt. That's somewhat easier than for an under quilt but still a more complicated task.

    You will most likely have to order the best materials on line. There are plenty of vendors who can help you out there. Some who ship regularly around the world.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

    We Don't Sew... We Make Gear! video series

    Important thread injector guidelines especially for Newbies

    Bobbin Tension - A Personal Viewpoint

  3. #3
    Yeah, I'm suitably apprehensive about the DIY but I usually manage to get it right within 2 or 3 tries, if decorating and bike maintenance are anything to go by!

    If you happen to know of any EU vendors, that would avoid import tax so I'm listening!

  4. #4
    Senior Member Mat's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Yorkshire, England
    Woodsman X single
    Cuben Z-packs
    Down TQ/UQ
    Whoopies & Toggles
    For fabrics take a look at extremTextil in Germany or Point North Fabrics here in the UK also search shelby fabrics (Finland I think) Extrem Textil sell down to the public market (they are the only ones bar ourselves in the EU.

    However I do strongly agree with Rev any Down work is not for the faint hearted!!
    Don't mess with Mother Nature as we are small and biodegradable!

    Mats YouTube Channel
    "Making it a great night in the woods!"

  5. #5
    Thanks for popping in, Mat. I'll look into the fabric suppliers and see if I can get some samples. Any recommendations for ultra-breathability? I carry all my stuff in waterproof panniers so the only water risk will be from sweat/fog, in theory.

    If (more like when, to be honest) I struggle with the DIY, you'll be the first to hear about it!

  6. #6
    Update: Mat has done me a nice deal on a DIY kit based on his own range. In theory, all I have to do is the sewing! Cheers, Mat.

    I'll update further once the project begins.

  7. #7
    Member Col_M's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Prague, CZ
    DIY sil cat cut
    DIY Down
    Whoopie slings
    Glad to hear you've sorted it out mate
    You mentioned it needs to be warm enough for Siberia, are you off there or somewhere similar?

  8. #8
    MAD777's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    South Florida
    DIY, WBBB & Switchback
    HG cuben,OES Spinn
    DIY down 3/4 UQ/TQ
    Dynaglide & Dutch
    I'm glad you have a plan. Based on your optimistic tone, I think you will have a fun time with a successful project.

    My advice is to read all you can about other's top quilt projects then proceed very slowly. Above all, don't hesitate to stop and ask questions about any step on the forums. Plenty of people will rush to your aid!

    And don't forget to take pictures!
    "Life is a Project!"

  9. #9
    New Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Warwick, Uk
    UKHammocks - Woodsman X (Double)
    WB Big Mambajamba
    3/4 quilt
    Whoopie Slings
    I was going to recommend & point north fabrics, but Mat beat me to it. Enjoy your DIY project, sounds like Mat's come up trumps with a good deal, I was also going to suggest his modification option, if you have an old down / synthetic bag!
    Have a great trip whatever the outcome & remember if there's no pictures it didn't happen, just kidding!

  10. #10
    Right, work has begun on the TQ (last Saturday) and will be completed this coming Saturday. Or at least it had better be completed because I'm about to set off on my bike from the UK to South Korea on Monday.

    Thanks again to Mat for taking worried phonecalls from amateurs such as me, and thanks again to the guys who've posted guides to TQ production

    Let's see if I can upload some images...
    Marking out... This is ripstop nylon - brown for the top piece and green for the underside.
    Thread injector - I can't take the credit for the injections. Luckily I have a friend who's accepting payment in homebrew for some quick stitching.
    Baffles being sown to top piece.
    All Baffles sewn on.
    Starting to sew on the bottom piece.
    We got as far as sewing 4 out of 9 of the baffles to the bottom oiece before we had to stop last Saturday. The stitching looks solid but slightly askew in places. Although this friend of mine has plenty of experience with her injector, these new slippery materials tackled whilst rushing have thrown her off course once or twice. The important thing is we're moving towards a piece of kit that does the job it's meant to. I doubt I'll be accompanied in the hammock whilst riding through remotest Kazakhstan so the aesthetic side of things is way down the list of priorities.

    More to come once it's finished. I'll also be doing a blog that you're all welcome to follow:

    And I'll do a thread specific to this trip which you can find here.

    All questions welcome, but to be honest I still have more questions than answers when it comes to the world of DIY hammock gear.

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