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  1. #1
    Senior Member Resqsarge03's Avatar
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    Unhappy HELP- need advice- 3/4 finished underquilt is not downproof!



    I just stuffed my first DIY underquilt with down and stitched it shut. I happily placed it on the floor and proceeded to slap it around a little to distribute the down. All was happy in the world and I was pretty pleased with myself......
    ...until
    I flipped it over to check the other side. There were small tufts of down poking through everywhere. I'm not talking feather quills poking through or some escaping from the stitching lines. I'm talking like down fur on the fabric.



    First off, let me say the situation is entirely my doing and I accept full responsibility for getting myself into this jamb.

    I am hoping some of the more experienced folks here can help me choose the lesser of the many evil choices I must make to fix this. I am embarrassed but I've learned a lot by studying up here and a bunch by making mistakes, so here it goes. Next time I am going to make a small down pillow with any new material I buy just to see if it is down proof. Wish I did that this time.

    I bought the fabric at an outlet center for a great price. The trade off is that nothing is labeled. Everything is on bolts, stacked on top of each other on home-depot style industrial shelving. $3 a yard. Goof number 1.

    Both layers are ripstop nylon. The outer blue layer is very shiny on the inside and is fairly light. The inner grey layer is heavier and much softer but it is not shiny on one side. I chose it because I thought it might be more comfortable against my skin if I should use this for a quilt, and I was going to use the remainder to make TQs.

    I designed the UQ using the differential underquilt calculator from a HF user and I sewed it using noseeum baffles. It is not a sewn through quilt. Here are the dimensions:

    Length of Quilt, inches (L) 60
    Width of Quilt, inches (W) 43
    Baffle Height, inches (Hb) 2.5
    Maximum Chamber Height, inches (Hc) 3
    Number of Baffle Chambers 10 (1 oz. down in each)
    Down Fill Rating 750
    % Down Overstuff 0%

    The quilt now weights 24 oz. I've not attached grosgrain or suspension yet.

    The outside shell fabric is larger in width to allow for it to conform to the hammock better. The actual space allowed by the mesh between the outer and inner shells turned out to be 2 inches once they were sewn in. The calculator called for roughly 1 ounce of down per chamber. I had 10 chambers, so there is 10 oz of down in this.

    The outer shell material (so far...groan) IS downproof but the inner layer is really leaking the down. I used a Kmart pillow and was very pleased with the quality of the down for the price. Almost no feathers. Are you getting the cheepskate vibe here?

    This thing is warm as could be and I love it but I think it will cause a mess over time and will lose it's insulating properties fairly quickly. I'm hoping to save it.

    I've stopped at this stage in hopes that someone can help me figure out a workable solution. I have not added the grosgrain side channels or the nylon gathered end channels yet.

    Potential answers to the problem-

    1. Open it up, remove and save the down, then remove the grey fabric and use only the blue fabric. Resew and restuff.
    -----thoughts---- this will be a pain and will be very messy and time consuming but it is the best -right- answer.

    2. Cut another piece of blue fabric and sew it over the leaky grey fabric. This will prevent down loss but I will have to stitch along the baffle dividers, thereby making this a sewn through quilt and losing some insulating value.
    -----thoughts---- this is a compromise -patch- solution and will avoid the mess but it will make the quilt heavier.

    3. Leave well enough alone, finish it, and use it until it doesn't work well anymore.

    4. (y'all add your ideas here)

    Things to think about as you ponder my dilemma.
    I am not a serious hiker or an ultralighter. I am mostly confined to car camping or campsites with electricity (due to having to use a CPAP machine). I am reasonably competent with the sewing machine although I am learning more each time I do a project.

    So what are your thoughts oh great suspended ones? I'm really kicking myself in the butt over this.
    Thanks- Sarge
    "Live your life so that your children can tell their children that you not only stood for something wonderful- you acted on it"
    -Dan Zadra

  2. #2
    Senior Member mangus7175's Avatar
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    First off, that UQ looks nice!

    Personally, I would get real downproof fabric like M50 or M90 and salvage the down from your quilt and transfer it to the new one.

    With the non-downproof fabric you have, you can make other things with it (stuff sacks, gaiters, etc.)

  3. #3
    MAD777's Avatar
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    Sorry to say this, but I would bite the bullet and re-do it with downproof fabric. You will be happy in the long run with a nice warm quilt.

    I always learn something with each new project. One thing is to buy materials from places that specialize in supplying the DIY camping gear folks. They are very responsive to emails and even phone calls and will tell you if something is appropriate for your project.
    Mike
    "Life is a Project!"

  4. #4
    stevebo's Avatar
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    Dont feel too bad---------I did something similar a while back-------bought some sil at a discount place, got half way thru a tarp project, and realized it wasnt sil, but was dwr! It happens---------just think how much better your next project will be!
    “The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.”
    Harlan Ellison


    Do not walk behind me, for I may not lead. Do not walk ahead of me, for I may not follow. Do not walk beside me, either, just leave me alone.
    --unknown

  5. #5
    Senior Member Resqsarge03's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for your advice and thoughts. You are right on all counts.

    Well- I'm in the process of making the big fix. I decided on the 'nuclear' option of removing the bad side and reattaching good material.

    I sequestered myself in my bathroom and sliced each baffle open on the bad side. WHAT A MESS!!!! Once I harvested as much down out of the baffles as I could, I took the now-gutted quilt outside and made it snow outside.

    I came inside and removed the strips of bad material where it met each mesh baffle. I figure this way I will only lose 1/4 inch of potential loft space.
    While I was doing this, I watched my chocolate lab chase down floaters all around the room.

    Here are some in-progress photos.

    Downy Carnage --

    Gutted quilt--


    Now to measure and cut the replacement fabric and get busy marking it out.
    At least I have the satisfaction of knowing it will be right and I learned some valuable lessons.

    I will take some more in-progress photos to keep those of you who are interested informed. It won't be a tutorial photo spread- goodness knows you don't want to do it like I did it LOL- but there will be photos.
    Pray for me....I'm goin' in!
    -Sarge
    "Live your life so that your children can tell their children that you not only stood for something wonderful- you acted on it"
    -Dan Zadra

  6. #6
    Senior Member mangus7175's Avatar
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    Good thing you decided to salvage that down...that's a lot of down! It would've been a waste to just let them leak thru if you decided to use your UQ the way it is.

    Looking forward to the updates...

  7. #7
    Senior Member Resqsarge03's Avatar
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    Thanks Mag!
    "Live your life so that your children can tell their children that you not only stood for something wonderful- you acted on it"
    -Dan Zadra

  8. #8
    Senior Member WetRivrRat's Avatar
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    Hey Sarge - kinda off topic, but you mention the need to be tied to an electrical post for your CPAP, I didn't see this guy myself, so it could all be a total lie... But I was told that there was a guy on the AT that was a day ahead of me that had a battery powered CPAP!
    If you are totally dependent on it, and want to venture out farther, you might want to check on that... Might be worth whatever investment it would take
    Cheers

    Oh, and good luck on the project - I know rework can really suck, but it's almost always better in the end
    We all know of the original "Walk off the war" thru-hike - but, check out these guys, they're helping folks 'walk off the war' today -
    Donate to help fund gear for the warriors who are coming back home and need help walking off the war!
    WarriorHike.com

  9. #9
    Senior Member Resqsarge03's Avatar
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    Thanks Rat. Yup. They are out there and they are cool! Small and battery powered. But they sure are proud of them (southern talk for expensive)
    Maybe one day...
    "Live your life so that your children can tell their children that you not only stood for something wonderful- you acted on it"
    -Dan Zadra

  10. #10
    Senior Member Resqsarge03's Avatar
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    By the way, the down is now rebagged in 1 oz portions...that was fun, and ready to go. Ill start sewing tonight.
    "Live your life so that your children can tell their children that you not only stood for something wonderful- you acted on it"
    -Dan Zadra

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