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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    $45 Down TQ from Mummy bag

    I finally did it!

    I bought a "vintage" down REI sleeping bag on ebay for $45. It wasn't quite big enough for my 210# of girth, but I don't like mummy bags (don't know when that changed...)

    I bought it 5 months ago, thinking I'd just use it as a TQ, like I do my synthetic mummy.

    Goals: make it more comfortable: get rid of the huge zipper and synthetic-filled draft tube next to the zipper. There was a thick tan stripe of grosgrain type ribbon next to the zipper to keep it from getting snagged on the shell material. I wanted that gone, too. If it get's lighter in the process, so much the better... I really didn't want to use grosgrain edging, or spend many hours on this project...

    SO: I sewed a line across the hood and 1" down each side alongside the zipper. I cut off the hood. I Used my shop vac and some tulle between hose sections to capture the down. I then took the remaining edge of fabric, rolled it over and hemmed it.

    The draft tube and grosgrain ribbon were next. I peeled them off carefully with my seam ripper. I'm glad I sewed down that edge a bit, as the down was really flying at times, despite my best efforts to contain it. The other zipper was easier, but still took 30 minutes or so to remove.

    Again, I took the existing edges of fabric and rolled a new hem. I had a couple snags where I broke the thread (pushed the fabric into the machine too hard.) So I tied the ends, added a drop of fraycheck, and started up again. Given the 3 hours and $45 pricetag, I'm pretty happy. The stuff I removed weighed at least 6 ounces (I'm not a gram weenie, but I like the idea.)

    Overall, the quilt is 48" wide, comes to the top of my head if I'm stretched out, (6'). and has about 3+" of consistent loft (more when I'm in the hammock). I haven't weighed it, but it's far from heavy, especially when compared to my 3lb synthetic bag.

    Next, I'll go get some omni-tape and probably add another foot or so to the footbox for cold nights.

    The end result:



    Here you can see where I had my Top tension set too high, and the completed edge.


    You can see the "containment" stitch and the fixed hem. I have a few of the original threads to pick out and some down clusters trapped in the edge..


    Dr. Harvey Tiny Cat likes it! (No, I didn't name him.)



    Now what to do with something like 1/4 oz of down?

    John
    Last edited by JohnSawyer; 02-07-2011 at 00:25.
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  2. #2
    Nice job! I have a ancient Marmot down bag in excellent condition, but I can't bring myself to cut it...will be checking ebay for prospects...

  3. #3
    bugman0914's Avatar
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    Very nice!
    Tony a.k.a. bugman0914

  4. #4
    Senior Member Krissa's Avatar
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    Thanks for this post, great idea - I bookmarked it for when I am ready to start making my own top quilt.
    As you grow older, you'll find the only things you regret are the things you didn't do. ~Ernest Hemmingway

  5. #5
    creativeKayt's Avatar
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    Well clearly, the cat approves. That's what I call a success!!

    Very nicely done. Thanks for sharing!!

  6. #6
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    Took a short nap with the quilt outside.. it was a bit warm, but I can tell the zipper isn't there when I tuck the edges in...! Success!

    Thanks!
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  7. #7
    Senior Member Peg-Leg's Avatar
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    I did the exact same thing with the same REI down bag. Your sewing looks much neater. I've had mine into the 20's with no issues. There are a few spots where the down is a little thin, could just be needing a good washing.

    You can see it in my avatar.

    Great job!
    If God had meant for us to sleep on the ground,
    He wouldn't have created trees....

    “Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul.” - John Muir

  8. #8
    Senior Member JohnSawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peg-Leg View Post
    I did the exact same thing with the same REI down bag. Your sewing looks much neater. I've had mine into the 20's with no issues. There are a few spots where the down is a little thin, could just be needing a good washing.

    You can see it in my avatar.

    Great job!

    Awesome! When I bought mine, it wasn't really fluffy... so... I threw it in the tub with some Downwash I bought at my local sporting goods store...

    Soaked it for a bit in warm water, squeezed it a bit, and then rinsed it 4 times.

    I slowly rolled it up and squeezed the water out of it, threw it in my clothes drier on low heat for an hour, shook it out, and dried for another hour...

    after hanging for a day, it got really fluffy... and warm...

    I highly recommend washing a poorly-lofting down bag...
    "Do or do not, there is no try." -- Yoda


  9. #9

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    Good job! Could you make the cat a pillow with the 1/4 ounce of down?!

  10. #10
    Senior Member bmwrider's Avatar
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    looks great thats just what I wanted to do, now I need a way to sew it, I have no sewing skills, I need to find a place to get the stitching done.

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