Warning, this is a long post.
Ok, I admit it. This isn't technically my first sewing project. A few years ago I was a pirate for Halloween and I sewed some swashbuckling pants out of an old riding lawnmower cover (see the first picture for full effect!). However, that was a manual sewing project.
So this is my first machine-assisted sewing project. So of course I decided to go for broke and skip those easy intro projects like stuff sacks and the like. Instead I decided that I wanted to make a nice & toasty top quilt for 3 season use (fall, winter, spring). My project is mostly based on te-wa's quilt in the DIY gear section. So lets start with the materials I used:
My starting materials:
3 yards red Momentum90
3 yards black Momentum90
1 yard noseeum netting
1 yard 1/4" flat cord (for drawstring)
2 mini cord locks
From Speer Hammocks:
15.5* oz 900 fill down (five 3.1 oz bags)
*note that most, but not all of this actually made it into the quilt.
As you can guess, this was not a cheap quilt. It cost me about $280 for all the materials (including shipping). I do have about 2 feet (at 60" wide) of each color of the Momentum left. And the leftover thread will last me for many, many years to come. But still... pricey.
This is the real advantage of DIY gear, I'm beginning to learn. I could design it to fit me (5'11", 210lbs, kinda stocky). I designed my quilt to be tapered; 50" wide at the head end, 42" wide at the foot end (I have size 12ish feet). The quilt is 78" long. I designed it to have 11 boxed (right term?) baffle chambers. They run side-to-side (across the body). Ten of the baffles are 7" long and the top (head end) baffle is 8" long. The baffle boxes are all 3" to allow for some nice loft. I would say that the final loft is approximately 3.75".
I cut the Momentum to have 2 inches of extra material on each side. I did this so that I could add 3/4" channels running the length of each side (you can see this in one of my pictures). Right now I only have a draw cord in the foot end to keep the feet nice & warm (you can see it cinched up in one of the pictures), but I could add one to the head end if I feel I need to snug things up when it gets real cold. I added the channels down the length of the quilt in case I ever want to try it out as an under quilt. It isn't really designed for that, but it couldn't hurt to give it a try!
I'm also contemplating adding some velcro or a snap to the foot end along the sides so that I can close it up a little. Similar to te-wa's quilt in the DIY section.
This project took more time than I thought it would. It took the whole weekend - Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon - to make. That obviously doesn't include the design time or time to order and receive the materials (which I got nice and quickly).
I'll have to echo a few sentiments of a number of others who have posted about these DIY quilt projects.
1) Sewing the noseeum netting to the Momentum material was a bit of a pain. The noseeum netting liked to stretch as it was being sewn.
2) Working with down is a real PITA. I don't have one of those long vacuum cleaner extensions, so I had to go with the plastic bag transfer method. And since I don't have a good scale to weigh increments of less than an ounce, there was a bit of guesstimating in this project. The real hassle, though, was the fly-aways. Its just impossible to prevent them. Or to prevent them from sticking all over you and not letting go.
3) A few thoughts on the Momentum. This stuff is nice! It has a real nice feel to it. It wasn't that hard to work with it. Following a suggestion I read here on HF, I used my wood burning tool to cut the material and prevent if from fraying in the future. I noticed that down did tend to stick to Momentum - that stuff definitely can build up some static charge.
Well, I haven't tested it out yet. Thats what the Northern Hang next weekend is for! I'll update this thread once I've tried it out.
It isn't perfect (I messed up on a few stitches). And it really doesn't have the quality look that a bought quilt would have. But I think its pretty good (if not expensive!) for a first attempt. Its light for the amount of hypothetical warmth it should provide. According to my scale it comes in at just under a pound and a half (<=24 oz, with more than half the weight coming from the down). And, with warm clothing, a winter tarp, and a good UQ it should get me down to pretty much the coldest temperatures that I'll need. Which is saying something, considering the chilly Wisconsin winters.
So overall I'd have to say I'm pleased with the quilt. Making the quilt was definitely a good learning experience and now I have a nice piece of gear that will hopefully last me for years to come.