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  1. #1
    Senior Member BackpackerGuy's Avatar
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    Tutorial - DIY TQ, modified Karo Step w/insulated foot box - lots of pics

    I just finished my 1st DIY TQ this weekend, and I wanted to share the results of my project. So many here have contributed to my DIY ‘learning curve’, and I wanted to pay it back. Hopefully, this will encourage and inspire others members in their DIY projects.

    First of all, I want to tip my hat to a few notable members here. The projects they posted here are, in my opinion, a true work of art, and I want to say a special thank you to them:
    boulderv7 (DIY Celtic Knot TQ),
    kduvey (KaroStep DIY video)
    genixia (Argon summer quilt)
    sashasrd (Karo Step with box style foot box)

    After deciding on my ‘perfect’ TQ design, I read about the Karo Step quilts, and how they were constructed. The design made sense to me, and I liked the flexibility to shift the down around as needed. So, I went back to the drawing board and sketched a new design. About 3 hours went into this part of the project. My goal was to make a 20*F TQ with 2.5” of loft, and I think I hit it pretty closely.

    My TQ most closely resembles sashasrd’s project, with a few changes.

    I’ll be sharing some of my methods and thought process in how I constructed the quilt. I’m not saying my process was the fastest, most efficient, or will be the best for everyone - - - I’m sure its not. But, in light of the finished product, I would make another quilt the same way. Hopefully, others can learn and shorten their learning curve from this.


    I ordered the following materials from Kyle at RBTR:
    4 yards of 0.9oz illume 15 – BLACK (for the inner shell)
    4 yards of 0.9oz illume 15 – MOCHA (for the outer shell)
    2 yards of 0.5oz NS50 Noseeum Mesh (for the baffle material)
    * extra fabric was ordered for making a matching UQ

    The down was harvested from a 850fp White Goose Down comforter, so that played into my decision to make this quilt, seeing as how I didn’t need to buy any down for the project.

    I decided I would sew the mesh to the inner shell first. This would give me practice with sewing the fabric, and any real sewing ‘flaws’ would be hidden inside the shell, rather than outside. I practiced a bit on scraps of this fabric, and dialed in the stitch length that I felt was spot-on. I would definitely recommend doing this, as the very thin fabric can be a challenge to work with.

    I laid the inside / BLACK fabric on the floor, shiny side up, and a few canned goods served as weights to hold it in place while I measured and cut it.
    20150925_134036.jpg

    My rough dimensions:
    77” long
    58” wide at top
    50” wide at bottom
    half-taper starts at 24” above what would eventually be the finished bottom edge
    ***Remember: 1) add appropriate allowances for both the seam and the loft in your measurements, and 2) when using calendared / down-proof fabric, the shiny side is inside, the dull side is outside.

    After cutting the rough dimensions, I trimmed the fabric for the half-taper.
    Then, I laid the outside / MOCHA fabric on top of the BLACK fabric, matching the shiny sides together. Since this was how the 2 shell pieces would ultimately be sewn together, it made sense to me to use the inside / BLACK shell as the template for cutting the outside / MOCHA shell.
    20150925_172105.jpg
    Once the outside / MOCHA shell was cut to the same size as the inside / BLACK shell, I then put a ½” hem around the perimeter of both pieces.

    I set the outside / MOCHA shell aside to start working on the inside / BLACK shell.

    Using a 7ft piece of trim molding I ‘borrowed’ from the basement family room doorway, I measured and marked the vertical centerline of the fabric with tailors chalk. This served as a reference point for making the other marks straight and square. Additionally, it gave me something to line up my needle with when I sewed the mesh to the fabric. This was a HUGE benefit!
    20150925_141303.jpg

    After marking the centerline, I then marked where all the mesh would be sewn. I marked the full length of where the mesh would be sewn, not just a ‘tick mark’. Essentially, I drew the pattern on the fabric. This chalk line helped me tape the mesh quite straight. The 0.50 Noseeum is quite flimsy material, and having a reference line to tape to helped a lot.
    20150925_141329.jpg
    20150925_173830.jpg

    Once the pattern was drawn on the (shiny side / inside) of the fabric, I then taped the mesh to it with masking tape.

    Once the mesh was taped down, I was ready to start sewing. I gathered the extra
    fabric by folding it over 5” to 6”, and used plastic clothespins to secure it. This helped keep the bundle of fabric contained in a manageable mess. LOL

    I started sewing the mesh to the fabric, starting from the bottom of the shell with the horizontal baffles and working towards the top of the shell. Then I sewed the 2 long baffles on one side, and finished sewing the other 2 long baffles on the opposite side.
    ***When sewing the long baffles, sew the innermost mesh first, then the outermost mesh. This gives you maximum room to work with. Thanks for the tip, sashasrd!

    When this was completed, I had the all the mesh pieces sewn to the inner shell.

    My next step was to sew the bottoms of the 2 pieces together. This would help keep the 2 pieces of fabric together and aid in sewing it square.

    Now, I folded the fabric from the top towards the bottom to gather the extra material with clothes pins. Working on the horizontal mesh pieces, again from the bottom towards the top, I alternately taped, sewed, unrolled both pieces of fabric, clothes pinned the extra fabric, taped and sewed each next sequential mesh piece to the outside / MOCHA shell.

    Then I sewed the 2 long baffles on one side, and finished sewing the other 2 long baffles on the opposite side.
    ***When sewing the long baffles, sew the innermost mesh first, then the outermost mesh. This gives you maximum room to work with. Redundant I know, but you’ll thank yourself for doing this!

    I then put a ½” hem on the 2 long sides, and sewed the top shut 12” in from each top corner. This left me an opening of about 33” to use to fill the shell with down.

    My next step was to make the bottom plug for the footbox. I wanted a down-filled ‘plug’ on the foot end, and I knew it had to be just the right size. Measuring the sewn bottom edge, I knew what my overall perimeter size needed to be. Then I fiddled with the numbers and used a piece of cardboard to simulate the space and measurements I wanted. My finished size would be 11” tall, 12.5” across the bottom, and 13.5” across the top.
    20150926_201104.jpg
    I then cut 2 pieces of the outside / MOCHA fabric.
    ***Remember: 1) add appropriate allowances for both the seam and the loft in your measurements, and 2) when using calendared / down-proof fabric, the shiny side is inside, the dull side is outside.

    Once they were cut to size, squared, and a ½” hem put on each piece, I sewed the bottoms together, then sewed a piece of mesh horizontally midway down the fabric pieces on the shiny side / inside. My thought here was that if down settled, I wanted to catch it in a ‘top chamber’, and a ‘bottom chamber’. This would help insure there was down at both the tops / toes and bottoms / heels of my feet. If I sewed the mesh vertically and down migrated and settled to the bottom, I risked having cold toes.

    I sewed the top and bottom seams together, and left one side open. I would use this for adding the down to each chamber (top and bottom). Using my gram scale, I measured and added ¼ ounce of down to each chamber, then sewed it up.

    I then marked the center of the inside bottom hem of the TQ shell, and the center of the inside TOP hem of the foot box plug. I lined up the two marks, and sewed the plug to the TQ shell across the existing ½” hem. This now gave me a plug that was sewn to the center of the bottom of the TQ shell. Now, when I wrap the TQ shell around the perimeter of the plug, the bottom of the plug would line up with the bottom of the sewn footbox.
    20150926_202401.jpg

    My calculations were a bit off - my TQ shell measurement across the bottom was 2 inches longer than the perimeter of my plug. To remedy this, I sewed two (2) ¼” darts on each chamber on each side, (four ¼” darts total per side), effectively taking up 1 inch of TQ shell fabric on each side. Top and bottom edges of the plug were sewn to the TQ shell as-is, with no darts needed.
    You can just see the 4 darts on each side on this picture:
    20150926_211303.jpg

    Once I sewed the darts and remaining hems together, the ends of the TQ shell lined up perfectly on the bottom edge of the plug hem!

    I added a small hanging loop before sewing the footbox.
    20150926_211143.jpg
    I then hemmed the long edges once more, and rolled and sewed the 24” footbox hems together. I turned the shell inside out for this, and gave it a flat felled seam to finish the inside hem. I would suggest you did this. You will like this extra touch, as it makes for a clean inside of the footbox, with no hem hanging down (sticking up, actually) touching your calves.
    20150926_213003.jpg
    20150926_212951.jpg

    I then reinforced the area where the tapered foot box starts with extra stitching.

    After filling the shell with 13.35 ounces of 850pf WGD, I then sewed the 33” opening closed, and rolled another ½” hem across the top to complete it.

    Finished size:
    71” long
    54” wide across the top
    15” wide across the bottom of the footbox
    2.5” of loft


    All told, I figure I have about 21 hours of work into it, not including the thinking / designing / drawing stage.

    I hope this posting helps someone take the plunge like I did.
    -Layout the design you want.
    -Take your time
    -Sew it slowly
    -Remember your seam and loft allowances
    -Go for it, and don’t show anyone your sewing mistakes! Ha

    Now, on to the matching UnderQuilt!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by BackpackerGuy; 09-28-2015 at 18:11. Reason: title change
    I've gone to find myself. If I get back before I return, make sure I stay here.


    When I see lovers' names carved into a tree, I don't think it's cute. I think it's strange how so many people take knives on a date.



    Formerly known as 'Brad49426'.

  2. #2
    Senior Member BackpackerGuy's Avatar
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    I've gone to find myself. If I get back before I return, make sure I stay here.


    When I see lovers' names carved into a tree, I don't think it's cute. I think it's strange how so many people take knives on a date.



    Formerly known as 'Brad49426'.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Eidson's Avatar
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    Wow. Impressive work there. Thank you for the very detailed post.

    Having a new TQ on my project list for the fall, I appreciate your reminders throughout this. Will save your thread for reference when I finally can devote enough time to work on it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member BackpackerGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eidson View Post
    Wow. Impressive work there. Thank you for the very detailed post.

    Having a new TQ on my project list for the fall, I appreciate your reminders throughout this. Will save your thread for reference when I finally can devote enough time to work on it.
    Thanks Eidson. Lots of time and detailed work, but worth it to me.
    I've gone to find myself. If I get back before I return, make sure I stay here.


    When I see lovers' names carved into a tree, I don't think it's cute. I think it's strange how so many people take knives on a date.



    Formerly known as 'Brad49426'.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Otter1's Avatar
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    I like the baffle design! Well, I like the whole thing!

    You did a really nice job.

  6. #6
    Senior Member BackpackerGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Funny Money View Post
    I like the baffle design! Well, I like the whole thing!

    You did a really nice job.
    Thanks, I found out all ya need is a little gumption, a workable pattern, a thread injector, and maybe a little bit more time than what you plan for! Ha
    I've gone to find myself. If I get back before I return, make sure I stay here.


    When I see lovers' names carved into a tree, I don't think it's cute. I think it's strange how so many people take knives on a date.



    Formerly known as 'Brad49426'.

  7. #7
    Senior Member boulderv7's Avatar
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    Woohoo!!! What a great quilt. I bet this downy goodness will keep you very warm. Great quilt and great post. I can't wait to see this at the hang in a couple weeks!!!
    My head is an animal

  8. #8
    Senior Member BackpackerGuy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boulderv7 View Post
    Woohoo!!! What a great quilt. I bet this downy goodness will keep you very warm. Great quilt and great post. I can't wait to see this at the hang in a couple weeks!!!
    Thanks man,,,, coming from you that's a high compliment..looking forward to seeing your Celtic Knot TQ in a couple weeks!
    I've gone to find myself. If I get back before I return, make sure I stay here.


    When I see lovers' names carved into a tree, I don't think it's cute. I think it's strange how so many people take knives on a date.



    Formerly known as 'Brad49426'.

  9. #9
    Senior Member rais'n hammock's Avatar
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    This is a great quilt and thank you for thinking mine was in the group you listed. I am not sure I could compete at the level of many on here. However I too am thankful for the willingness of those on the forum to offer ideas and help.

    I like what you did with the footbox and adding the baffle. That is one thing I missed on mine. I solved mine by adding an extra .5oz of down. Like you I "harvested" my down so it was fun to experiment with some new or challenging ideas.

    When I think I can't do a new project I watch this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RhLlnq5yY7k

    I love the creative process and the satisfaction that comes from a completed project. Even with all its imperfections. We do it alone but with a village of helpers.

    Great job!
    Outdoors > Indoors
    I love me some XeroShoes
    “An optimist is a man who plants two acorns and buys a hammock.” ― Jean de Lattre de Tassigny

  10. #10
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    Hey, thanks for the shout-out. I noticed a keen resemblance in the baffle design. I have learned so much from quilts built by other forum members here, it really is inspirational. Chances are that any of "my" good ideas that you used had previously been discussed or prototyped by other people before me.

    That's an awesome quilt - I bet you can't wait to get it out into the trees. I know that I have the patience of an untrained puppy in a pet store whenever I build something.

    I then hemmed the long edges once more, and rolled and sewed the 24” footbox hems together. I turned the shell inside out for this, and gave it a flat felled seam to finish the inside hem. I would suggest you did this. You will like this extra touch, as it makes for a clean inside of the footbox, with no hem hanging down (sticking up, actually) touching your calves.
    I'm not quite sure I understand how you did this without creating a 2 seam-allowance width of quilt without down in it. Can you elaborate? The finish looks great.

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