Hello all, I've been lurking here for a long time and really appreciate all the amazing information. I don't really like to write, but I just made a quilt and feel like I have to give back a little of what has been so freely given to me.
I've been backpacking off and on for about twenty years, and since I've been living in Yosemite, I have been able to get out for between 20 and 30 days a year.
I've given this a lot of thought and done a lot of research. I don't have a lot of money and almost zero sewing experience, so I focused on making it like an electrician would make it. By drawings. I ended up with over 9 pages of sketches and drawing.
For this prototype, I was really interested in having draft skirts, keeping the insulation from compressing from inside pressures, quilting PL1, having a very light fleece hood over my head, a footbox and shock cords to suck in the quilt around my body. My calculations indicate that I should be able to use this quilt down to about 0°F, but it seems unlikely. I'll let you guys know.
Since I don't sew so well, I had to even sketch out how the layers could be sewn together and the order I had to sew things.
I sketched out how all the fabric would be cut using the minimum of materials.
Then, I bought nylon 2nds, because I don't care what they really look like, but bought Primaloft One, because it seemed to be the best for this application. I knew it would be difficult to work with, but I wanted to figure it out.
So, I cut everything out, measuring with a tape, squaring my fabrics with the tape. I rolled or folded what I wasn't working on and broke out the machine.
Design elements and learning the machine were more important to me than sewing quality, so I got to sewing right away. I rolled hems and felled seams and pushed my way through, reading up on the net on what I couldn't remember.
I made quick time until we had to quilt the insulation. I worked on scraps and my machine attempts were dismal. I read and asked around and it seemed that we were going have to quilt by hand. So, that's what we did.
It drove us insane. So, we were stalled, but kept thinking and talking to people. We found someone who could tell us how to use the machine better and I worked on more scraps until I got it right.So, Nancy and I set about sewing the baffles on the machine. We quilted one layer of 3oz. PL1 to the outer fabric and one layer of 3oz. PL1 to the inner fabric. We spent a lot of time quilting. A lot. But, we finally got through it. I designed this quilt to have a larger outer layer, so that if I pushed out on the quilt, I could not compress the insulation. I did this by calculating different arc radii for the two layers, then pleating where necessary.
Next, we sewed the completed inner layer and completed outer layer together.
This took some time, and we had to pull out some errant stitches, but got through it. The footbox was tricky and we sewed the inner box closed before the outer, but it only resulted in an aesthetic problem that we decided to correct later. I set in the 1/8" shock cord and we were pretty much done until we can get the hood on.
In a stuffsac we had laying around. This is not tightly compressed.
With the shock cords loose:
With the cords tightened: