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  1. #1
    Senior Member jofish's Avatar
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    My DIY top quilt - first sewing project

    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:

    From Thru-Hiker:
    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)
    Thread

    *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.

    Design:

    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.

    Remarks

    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.

    Impressions
    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.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Senior Member HitchHiking's Avatar
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    Nice looking quilt there. You should be proud. The pirate pants are sweet too. Wear em much ?
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    Australian made tarps and custom gear.

  3. #3
    Senior Member jofish's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HitchHiking View Post
    Nice looking quilt there. You should be proud. The pirate pants are sweet too. Wear em much ?
    Yeah, I am pretty proud of the quilt. Hopefully, after a little use, I'll be even prouder!

    I actually did wear those pants again. Last year for Halloween I was Tom Hanks' character from Castaway and I used them from my tattered pants. This is the best picture I had of them...
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  4. #4
    LostCause's Avatar
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    Nice work!!! The pirate picture is awesome!

  5. #5
    Senior Member te-wa's Avatar
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    glad i could be of some help.
    man, i really need to go back and revise some of those directions.
    like measuring the mesh - a 8' section of baseboard and a cutting wheel works better.

    also, if you buy 2 yards of mesh you can cut it on the long side, which in turn is 90 from the stretchy side.. this way the mesh wont stretch. (youll notice when you tug on mesh it only stretches 2 ways, not 4

    no velcro on the footbox? IMHO that's gonna let in some drafts..

  6. #6
    Senior Member jofish's Avatar
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    te-wa, your instructions were invaluable. Thanks so much for posting them, it really made this a much easier project with better results. Really, I should have thanked you in my original post. But I was both tired and excited to post the pictures so it slipped my mind. I'd also like to thank the many other members that answered the many questions I asked; Grizz, Ramblinrev, TeeDee, warbonnetguy, Shug, and a few others that I probably missed. Thanks so much guys!

    Te-wa, good tip on preventing the mesh from stretching. Next time I make another one of these I'll make sure to remember that. It'll probably be a while, but good to know. I went to Home Depot and bought a 60" metal ruler that I used for cutting both the mesh and the Momentum. Scissors for the mesh, wood burning tool for the Momentum.

    As for the velcro, I mentioned above that I'm considering adding either a stretch of velcro or a couple snaps to each side of the quilt down by the foot end to make it enclosed (thereby reducing drafts). I haven't made up my mind yet on which way I want to go.

  7. #7
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jofish View Post
    te-wa, your instructions were invaluable. Thanks so much for posting them, it really made this a much easier project with better results. Really, I should have thanked you in my original post. But I was both tired and excited to post the pictures so it slipped my mind. I'd also like to thank the many other members that answered the many questions I asked; Grizz, Ramblinrev, TeeDee, warbonnetguy, Shug, and a few others that I probably missed. Thanks so much guys!

    Te-wa, good tip on preventing the mesh from stretching. Next time I make another one of these I'll make sure to remember that. It'll probably be a while, but good to know. I went to Home Depot and bought a 60" metal ruler that I used for cutting both the mesh and the Momentum. Scissors for the mesh, wood burning tool for the Momentum.

    As for the velcro, I mentioned above that I'm considering adding either a stretch of velcro or a couple snaps to each side of the quilt down by the foot end to make it enclosed (thereby reducing drafts). I haven't made up my mind yet on which way I want to go.
    Wow .... looks terrific. Snaps for the footbox work pretty well but why not just ..... for this trip as a test .... hand sew the footbox in and really secure at at the top of the stitches. That way you can play with how much of a footbox you want, do you need a flat quilt, and stuff like that.
    I do not like velcro on a footbox .... always grabs my socks but it is not awful. My TQ from Warbonnetguy has snaps and so far so good.
    Fun having something that you made with your own hands, ain't it?
    Whoooo Buddy)))) I Love Onions, Grits, Greens, Livermush, NC Style BBQ, Potted Meat, Anchovies, 'Naner Puddin", Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake and Cocoa and Straaaaaawwwwberrrry Milk and Coffee Crisps....
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  8. #8
    gargoyle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shug View Post
    Fun having something that you made with your own hands, ain't it?
    Best feeling is the satisfaction I get from my homemade ingenuity. Nice looking quilt, should serve you well.
    Ambulo tua ambulo.

  9. #9
    Senior Member animalcontrol's Avatar
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    that size quilt with 15oz of down should keep you warm this weekend...I'm gonna check it out!
    "Every day is a new day to a better future"
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  10. #10
    Mr. Arrowhead pgibson's Avatar
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    looks very sharp. That much down should definitely make for a toasty quilt.
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