# Thread: Simplified Baffled Down Quilt Construction Options

1. ## Simplified Baffled Down Quilt Construction Options

After seeing a number of people trying to avoid the hassle of baffles I thought, "there has to be an easier way..."

People avoid using baffles in construction because of the perceived difficulty in sewing baffles. For down, this limits you to sewn through designs, which because the seams have no insulation, are not generally considered suitable for 3 season & winter weight quilts.

Triangle Baffles
My first thought was three layers with the middle layer forming triangles bouncing between inner & outer layer the whole length, like an old truss bridge.

Then I thought, how would I seal the sides on that?

1. We could give the shell material extra width
2. run a stitch along the outer edge
3. then another stitch ~1.5" in,
4. then roll the hem into something not too nasty looking. A hack, but the goal is easy, not pretty.

I thought the Triangle baffles would still be tricky trying to sew though since you'd have to alternate sewing middle & top together then middle & bottom together... and I'm looking for simple

Offset String of Pearls (OSoP)
What about Full circles but not linked in the middle (that would be nothing more than a sewn through) but near the "bottom" so that 2/3rd of the circle are above the seam & 1/3rd is below?

(skip the math if you want)
p = number of pearls (read circles)
Link pearls at the 120 degree point
Length finished = (p-1)*sqrt(3)*r+2r
See google doc spreadsheet here if you want to play with it

After doing lots of math this one simply requires a lot of pearls. A 73" long TQ with 3" circles running horizontally, that would take 27 circles top to bottom, the time & trouble spent stuffing so many small cells would eat most of the time benefit of simpler construction. 74" length with 4" diameter cells running horizontally requires 21 "pearls".

Here was the surprise for me. Using 4" diameter "pearls" (cells, spaces) 50" continuous width, almost 74" long (73.8"), total calculated weight (not including thread, snaps, elastic) was 31.7 oz with 17.6 oz of 900 fill down, 20% over stuff. This lines up a little worse than HammockGear's 0 deg Burrow TQ which is 27 oz total with 16oz of 900 weight down. Now their number includes thread, elastic, etc so you've probably got another 2-4 oz to account for but theortically (emphasis in original) this is not bad. The one thing where a normal baffled quilt will definitely beat this is your feet. If you feet point up at a seam line - zero insulation on your toes. A length of shell material that bridges over the last 3-5 pearls could fix this or do it to the whole thing... See Box of Chocolates below

If we flip things vertically, the way most UQ's are done, that cuts down the number of baffles & may fix our foot problem as well. It'll look something like a swimming pool floating mattress

74" tall, 49" wide
12 Pearls/Tubes
Total Down 17.4 oz
Calculated Minimum Weight 31.0 oz

Truffle Baffles
So what if you sewed loose baffles, to a flat shell? Like Chocolate Truffles or Chocolate Hills, Bihol, Philippines.

Spaces need to hold the same volume of down in a normal baffles quilt, possibly more to account for their non-uniformity. We can't over stuff it too much or it'll deflect the flat side (this is built into the design of the Offset String of Pearls). Also need to factor in stuffing the space, so we don't want the spaces too small. Let's try half circles.

A normal 20° F baffled quilt should be 2" tall in cross section. For a 6" length that's 12 sq in (2"x 6"). If we take a half circle, radius 3", that's a volume of pi * r^2/2 = 14.1 sq in. Close. It still has the foot issue described above.

For simplicity let's go with complete half circles, radius 3" that means 72" or 78", we'll go with 72"
72" tall, 50" wide
Total Down 11.3 oz
Calculated Minimum Weight 21.6 oz, again, no thread, shock cord, etc

Box of Chocolates
So what if we put a lid over a set of half circles, like a box of chocolates? <cue Forrest Gump quotes> Just run a third piece of shell material (yes, UL just went out the window)
For the "lid" cutting length its the 1/4 circumference up + 1/4 down + (number of chambers -1)*diameter + 2x sewing margin.

Same Spreadsheet as above for calculations. Assuming we use a 0.9 oz material for the lid since it doesn't have to be down proof.
72" tall, 50" wide
Total Down 11.3 oz
Calculated Minimum Weight (with lid) 26.3 oz again, no thread, shock cord, etc

Conclusion:

• The increase in weight vs traditional baffle construction is not to bad (~15% + thread & shock cord) but probably not good enough for UL enthusiasts.
• Using a vertical orientation reduces the number of cells to sew & stuff and is probably the course that should be taken.
• If the vertical orientation is used & the flat or flatter side is put on the outside the curvature should close the gaps

I think these could represent an easy entry into the fun & exciting world of baffled down quilts. Of course, this is all theoretical , I haven't tested any of these yet, just one big long brain storm. <exhale>

Ed

2. I actually sewed a mini prototype quilt with your "triangle" baffle design many years ago. You made me laugh, remembering this. It was about 2' long by 1' wide and I stuffed it with newspaper.

I abandoned it only because it was more difficult to sew. You have to deal with 3 full size pieces of fabric on the sewing table at once. That design initially attracted my curiosity because it leaves the thickness of the quilt constant throughout - no thinner spots at traditional baffle points.

3. Re: triangle. Exactly, when I was picturing working with 3 full size pieces of fabric & having to sew alternate pieces... not worth it.

What do you think about the other options. Are any of them enough easier than normal baffles for the trade offs?

Ed

4. I just remembered that my DIY summer weight down underquilt is sewn in the "truffle" style. But it's not chocolate
It's sewn through but since one side is snugged up against the hammock bottom, this works efficiently for warm weather.

5. The triangle idea, while interesting, looks like a nightmare to sew.

What I don't quite follow though is how the OSoP and the Truffle Baffle are actually different.

Isn't the Truffle Baffle idea just going to end up being the OSoP?

I understand why 3 full pieces of fabric would be a pain to sew.
I do not understand the benefit you were trying to achieve with the triangle design.

BUT it would be the same amount of ease to sew individual baffle strips in that triangle design as it is to sew them traditionally.

7. Originally Posted by wwk10
I understand why 3 full pieces of fabric would be a pain to sew.
I do not understand the benefit you were trying to achieve with the triangle design.

BUT it would be the same amount of ease to sew individual baffle strips in that triangle design as it is to sew them traditionally.
IF I'm imagining this correctly, and the triangle idea is three layers of ripstop, rather than strips for baffles sandwiched between two layers, you would have to flip the whole thing end for end and turn it over for each successive row to be sewn in.

I think...

8. @wwk10. The goal with the triangle design, and the others, is to come up with an essentially sewn threw quilt design that can achieve baffled quilt performance without requiring the level of skill, time & effort that a normal baffled quilt requires.

Moondogg recently did his sewn through quilt in 3 hours. My first two quilts, both baffled, (UQ with 8 spaces, TQ with 17) took me ~10 & ~15 hours respectively. What if we could make a true 20°F or 0°F TQ in 3 hours or UQ in 4? That's the goal.

Re: triangle design. Yup, Three huge pieces of fabric. Hard to work with. I mention it to preemptively eliminate it as a possible solution.

Re: Truffles deflecting into OSoP, that's going to happen somewhat like it does on any well stuffed quilt. The idea with OSoP is to not just take that into effect but do it by design and hopefully benefit from it. I actually thought of OSoP after the truffles, probably should have put OSoP last as a logical progression. Also I need to relable the spreadsheets so the longer shell is the inner shell.

Ed

9. So if the goal is ease of construction and weight isn't an issue, why not make two seen through quilts and layer them so that the stuffed section of the top one overlaps the sewn through section of the bottom? You get an "easy" sewn through without the cold spots. The drawback is 2x the shell fabric. If you made them separate-able you could have both summer and winter quilts with the same setup

--Matt

10. @Mundele, Weight isn't the primary concern but I'm still trying to get close to normal baffle performance/weight.

Yes, Two quilts is an option as well. If you secure them on the side with a knot, velcro or a toggle so they don't shift that would keep you from having dead air spaces.

Do one quilt at summer weight & the 2nd at 3 season weight, but the 3 season weight couldn't be a simple sewn through. Mixing one of the above designs you could use them together for a winter weight.

Ed