Tutorial: JCPenney (JCPenny) puffer Top Quilt (TQ) AKA: The Feedbag
The following is a footbox that could be used with any jacket/coat of your choice to form a sleep system. Please let me know what you think of my project.
I wanted to make a TQ from the ubiquitous JCP down puffer jacket. However, I really wanted to be able to make something that allowed me to still have the use of a mostly unaltered down jacket when not sleeping, and that only required seam ripping and sewing. I didn't want to need to be cutting pieces or messing with down any more than necessary. What I ended up with is a usable jacket, and a sewed bottom footbox for the topquilt that attaches to the top jacket portion with velcro. The footbox incorporates an uncut front panel from the jacket that utilized the pocket to allow for an interior footpad pocket if desired.
I'm sure what I have done is not unique, but I hadn't found anything quite like this in the search and wanted to share my experiences! Remember...pins are your friends throughout this project! With this material I was pinning every 2 to 3 inches. Also remember to do all of your pinning and sewing with the project inside out if you care about finished appearances.
This TQ is made from a 3XLT and a 4XL, both green.
First, I completely took apart the 3XLT at the seams excluding the shoulders and collar...leave the shoulder panels and the neck panel attached to the back panel. . The main seams are the places where the panels are joined together, and they all have a binding across the seam. To begin with ripping the seam, I took off the binding with my seam ripper. Then (and this is very important), I stitched all the way down BOTH SIDES of the seam. I had to do this because the seam is the only stitch sealing the down chambers. If you don't do this and pull the seam apart, all your downy goodness will be in the air, on your face, in your nose, in your food, etc. After you have two nice new stitches on either side of your seam, you will need to use your seam ripper to rip the stiches on both the overlock (serger) stitch and the main seam stitch under that. Once you dismantle the jacket you should end up with 7 panels (back/shoulders/collar, 2 sides, 2 fronts, 2 sleeves). You shlould also remove the zipper and the elastic hem., while remembering to put a stitch down the edge before such removal.
Second, take your back/shoulder/collar panel and sew the collar ends down to the top of the shoulder panels (second picture). This will begin the footbox. After that, take one of the front panels and center the pocket end on the collar. Making sure that the zippered pocket is on the outside (finished) of your footbox, sew it to the collar (third picture). You will end up with about 5 inches of unattached collar on either side of the front panel. Next sew the collar ends (that you attached to the shoulders) to the sides of the front panel. My fourth picture shows what it should look like at this point. This will give the end of the footbox it's squared-off shape. Now complete the footbox by sewing the sides of the front panel all the way down the sides of the back panel. You should end up with the "elephant foot" you see in my pictures. Next, sew the side panels from the jacket along the edges of the back panel, completing "wings" along the sides of the quilt (last picture). Not pictured, I sewed the remaining front panel longways to the top edge of the footbox to extend it.
Last, sew a strip of velcro across the top of the footbox and the bottom of your remaining unadulterated jacket. With them combined you should end up with a nifty TQ with arms for reading and such. Detach your footbox and you have a useable (mostly) unaltered down jacket.
Like I said...not a big deal but I wanted to show that a lower TQ with footbox can be made from the existing jacket panels without having to do any major cutting or work with down. As you can see, in the stuff sack with the metal cordlock the total TQ comes in at 19 ounces (which is the same weight as the DIY RAB Topquilt). My DIY UQ (different design...completely DIY with baffles) comes in at 24 ounces, giving me under 3 pounds for my insulation setup.
You also now have a few pieces of down-filled panels left over, including down sleeves. I tried them on, and with a little shockcord I think they will work well as backup sleeves for a vest.
I hope you found this useful...and I welcome any constructive comments! If can answer any questions or take better pictures, please let me know.
I dub this project: The Feedbag