It's been a busy week or two with the sewing machine. This was my first sewing project, not up to production standards yet... :( However, it is pretty cool-er, I mean warm.
I made this vest from scratch--design concept, pattern-making, the works. The things I wanted:
100% natural fiber downproof shell
Huge sweatshirt hoody pocket
1.5-2.0 inches of loft
It's basically an expedition parka minus the arms, I guess, which works pretty well for my metabolism, intended use, and needs.
I shot tons of photos throughout the process, and could easily write a MYOG article on this, let me know if any interest. For now, I'll just say that this was a colossal PITA, in places I hadn't considered. Baffling it was easy. Filling it was easy. Patterning was easy (though time consuming). The absolute bear of it was getting all the pieces sewed together--and then having to bias tape all the exposed-edge seams on the vest. These seams add up to a lot more than you might think. And I had to cut, fold and iron the raw fabric into tape, trying to keep even edges, length, etc. Areas like the zipper are also no fun, trying to get the trim, the zipper, and the draft tube all in place, with two inches of down in the adjacent baffle...
One potential improvement to make is adding elastic around the armholes. Frankly, I haven't been able to wrap my head around that, and excellent range of motion is important to me.
Oh. Yeah. Vital stats, heavy by many standards, but remember "expedition" warmth: 12 ounces of down and total weight of just under 23 ounces. Yes, lots of down. If I removed any down, though, I lost loft--used the least down I could to get consistent 1.75 inch-ish loft.