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  1. #1
    Lost_Biker's Avatar
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    My DIY Down Underquilt - Warning! Picture Heavy!

    Here's how I made my first down underquilt. I've built 8 synthetic underquilts - made from IX and Thinsulate, but always thought a down UQ would be a major undertaking. Surprisingly it wasn't. So here's the my version of step by step instruction for those who are hesitating on making one.

    First thing I did was search the forums and ask lots of silly questions. MAD777 was kind enough to answer most of them - Thanks MAD777! Next I took a look at an underquilt calculator - I used CatSplat's Differential Underquilt Calculator. Next, I went shopping at D.I.Y. Gear Supply and got 3 yards each of 2nd's 1.1 ripstop in olive green and foliage gray, 20 feet of 1/8" shock cord, 3 yards of NoSeeUm and 8 yards of 1" grossgrain. Last and most importantly - Thread for the injector - GŁtermann Mara 70 Tex40.

    The down I got from a KMart pillow - Cannon King Size with Duck Down. It was on sale in it's own bin. I was hoping to just get some decent down even if it was low grade. I got 44oz of duck down with only a handful of feathers out of it. The calculator said I needed close to 28oz for my UQ. Cost of the pillow was $16.00 exactly and now that I know what's inside, I will be getting 2 more just for projects and give away's to friends and family.

    I decided on a 76 x 46 size with 9 baffles. I used 500 in place of the quality of down (guessing) so each baffle needed 3 oz - that's with a 20% overstuff. Due to some errors that creeped in and my inability to cut straight, my finished dimensions were 72 x 44, which is just fine for me.

    The thing I came across once I started was that it's not an exact science, but close enough. I also didn't initially trust the calculator and measured things over and over when I should have just started sewing the silly thing. I wasted probably 4 hours out of the 16 it took to sew on worrying about the calculations. Don't worry - Be sewing!

    Ok - on to the pics.
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    Last edited by Lost_Biker; 09-14-2012 at 15:17. Reason: thong was supposed to be thing
    I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, "I'm going to mop the floor with your face." I said, "You'll be sorry." He said, "Oh, yeah? Why?" I said, "Well, you won't be able to get into the corners very well."


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  2. #2
    Lost_Biker's Avatar
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    More pics.

    The 1.1oz ripstop is easy to work with if you have a large work area. I used to dining room table that is 72 x 44 in size. I'm too old to work on the floor - knee's hurt.

    I rolled the NoSeeUm on a pole and removed from the pole, flattened the mesh and cut it to the proper width - easy.

    Sewing the baffles was .......... interesting. I probably spent 2 hours trying to visualize how to sew the baffles to the second piece of ripstop. I used a metallic marker to make lines on the mesh and ripstop - lining everything up I did one baffle at a time. The first two took 15 minutes each as I was being too slow and careful. The rest took 5 minutes each to sew as gained confidence. Once that was done I sewed the edges, pinned my grossgrain in place and stuffed the down in.

    Note the picture with the down in the zip lock bags. Each bag holds 3oz of down - that's all the bag would hold, which was all I needed. I just cut a corner off the bag and did like Fronkey suggests. No mess and I didn't get yelled at even once for having feathers all over the house.

    So the only hard part was making the baffles. Just roll each piece of material and sew one baffle. If you make marks on everything beforehand it's much. much easier.

    This UQ took about 16 hours to make. The next one should be half that. I wish to thank all those that went before me so I could learn the different types of constructions.

    MAD777 has a great post of his down underquilt instructions here. I used a lot of what he did in his UQ.
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    Last edited by Lost_Biker; 09-14-2012 at 13:58. Reason: terrible spelling
    I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, "I'm going to mop the floor with your face." I said, "You'll be sorry." He said, "Oh, yeah? Why?" I said, "Well, you won't be able to get into the corners very well."


    Underquilts.com

  3. #3
    Lost_Biker's Avatar
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    More pictures of the process.
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    I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, "I'm going to mop the floor with your face." I said, "You'll be sorry." He said, "Oh, yeah? Why?" I said, "Well, you won't be able to get into the corners very well."


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  4. #4
    Aardvark's Avatar
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    Woot, another Blue Light Special Down UQ!
    .... the Aardvark (earth pig)... a rather unremarkable creature whose sole claim to fame is that it is the first animal listed in the dictionary.
    Rob

  5. #5
    Senior Member bowl-maker's Avatar
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    I personally do not do this type of work in a "thong"...but HYOH! ;-)

    Thanks for the wonderful tutorial...I am planning on making a couple of these soon for me and my son. I am getting tired of the hacked-up 1976 sleeping bag UQ. I just wish I could find some of those wonderful Kmart pillows.

  6. #6
    Lost_Biker's Avatar
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    Sorry - Mom said I needed to take out the garbage.

    One tip for when your stuffing the down in the chambers - after putting the calculated amount of down in each baffle --- wait for 15 minutes or so for it to loft up. If it looks flat, just wait and also distribute it evenly. I put the UQ on the floor and slid the down around with my feet.

    I used 2.25 inch baffle height with a max of 3.25 inch height. It's looking like about 3" right now. Testing tonight as it's supposed to go down (no pun) to the 40's.

    Heres more pics in the series as it's being finished up. The end is almost here!
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    I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, "I'm going to mop the floor with your face." I said, "You'll be sorry." He said, "Oh, yeah? Why?" I said, "Well, you won't be able to get into the corners very well."


    Underquilts.com

  7. #7
    Lost_Biker's Avatar
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    I'll finish the picture set when I complete the UQ - gotta tidy it up some.

    All in all the entire UQ cost me about $66. Next will be a better UQ with 900 fill along with a top quilt.

    Gotta add my shock cord and suspension. I'm trying to decide what type of suspension - shock cord thru channels or using tabs. I'll try both and post back later today.
    I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, "I'm going to mop the floor with your face." I said, "You'll be sorry." He said, "Oh, yeah? Why?" I said, "Well, you won't be able to get into the corners very well."


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  8. #8
    Lost_Biker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aardvark View Post
    Woot, another Blue Light Special Down UQ!
    Yes - and it works rather well as a beginner project. I'm happy with it.
    I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, "I'm going to mop the floor with your face." I said, "You'll be sorry." He said, "Oh, yeah? Why?" I said, "Well, you won't be able to get into the corners very well."


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  9. #9
    Lost_Biker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bowl-maker View Post
    I personally do not do this type of work in a "thong"...but HYOH! ;-)

    Thanks for the wonderful tutorial...I am planning on making a couple of these soon for me and my son. I am getting tired of the hacked-up 1976 sleeping bag UQ. I just wish I could find some of those wonderful Kmart pillows.
    Thanks! I couldn't find the other brand that everyone gets. There's only 2 Kmarts within 50 miles of me so I got the King Size Cannon brand in the pillow discount section of my Kmart - I took a chance and happily it turned out ok. It's heavy - I'm not finished with the suspension yet, but the scale says 35oz so far. For cheap down, I'm not going to complain. It's duck down but had only a handful of feathers in it - of course a "handfull" equates to an 1/2oz or so. I just picked them out as I was filling the quart zip lock bags.
    I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, "I'm going to mop the floor with your face." I said, "You'll be sorry." He said, "Oh, yeah? Why?" I said, "Well, you won't be able to get into the corners very well."


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  10. #10
    Lost_Biker's Avatar
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    My helper in this project has given the UQ 2 paws up. Now she won't get off of it without growling at me.
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    I got in a fight one time with a really big guy, and he said, "I'm going to mop the floor with your face." I said, "You'll be sorry." He said, "Oh, yeah? Why?" I said, "Well, you won't be able to get into the corners very well."


    Underquilts.com

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