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Top stitching quilts
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Philip Marshall
(philthy) - MLife
Top stitching quilts on 05/24/2013 19:24:41 MDT Print View

I want to make a baffled down quilt with a drawcord footbox and have been thinking about how I will finish the edges. I would like to topstitch the sides for the most streamlined appearance but can't get my head around how to do it. Has anyone been able to?

In the past I have just used a rolled hem a la JRB quilts, but while it works well, I much prefer the look of internal seams/top stitching.

I've seen this thread where Tim Marshall (Enlightened Equipment) has described how he finished his edges:

He describes this as "top stitching", but if I understand him correctly it isn't top stitching per se, but is rather what is often referred to as an "edgestitch" (see Tim, please correct me if I'm wrong.

It seems that Tim folds the unfinished edges of the liner and shell into the quilt and then stitches close to the folded edge. While this means less fabric sticks out from the insulation, it isn't as streamlined/hidden as a true top stitch. And I would be worried that there isn't a reinforcing line of stitching as well, and it could be more prone to down leakage than the rolled hem. One workaround could be to sew the unfinished liner and shell edges together, then push them into the interior of the quilt, iron the edge and then sew it like Tim does - that would be reinforced, but still leave overhang.

Different stitching methods

On the other hand, a lot of production baffled quilts/sleeping bags have top stitched/streamlined edges - any idea how it is done? Perhaps it requires a machine/skills the average MYOG'er doesn't have? I just can't get my head around how you could do it because turning the shell inside out is prevented by the horizontal baffles.

Any advice appreciated!

edit: typos

Edited by philthy on 05/26/2013 18:00:14 MDT.

john Tier
(Peter_pan) - M

Locale: Co-Owner Jacks 'R' Better, LLC, VA
Drawing correction on 05/25/2013 05:21:52 MDT Print View

JRB seams have a closing seam and them the rolled hem... There are two not one seam as shown above.


Philip Marshall
(philthy) - MLife
Thanks on 05/25/2013 05:48:17 MDT Print View

Thanks for the clarification

Nathan Hays

Locale: San Francisco
Flat felled on 05/27/2013 15:46:05 MDT Print View

Sew the seam flat felled almost all the way around first, then sew the baffles. It looks really great and doesn't leave a straight path for the down to exit.
A lot easier if you have a free arm, but only for longer runs.

Don't seal the baffle tubes off at the ends where they meet the seams. The down doesn't really move much if at all and you can always 'sweep' it back through the gap.

BTW, that 'sweep-ability' is why I like karo-step - I can put more down around my torso if the temps are well below the rating.

There's another benefit to having those gaps at the ends of the baffles. You can snake a cardboard mailing tube through the gaps down into the furthest tube. Stuff your down in the tube and ream it through with a broom handle into the target tube. Then pull the tube up one and into the next tube and fill that one, etc.. This way the quilt only has a small 5" or so opening before you start filling. Much easier to manage.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
Re: Top stitching quilts on 05/28/2013 04:14:30 MDT Print View

Philip, Here is how I finish my quilt edges. Look down a few posts and you will see pictures. I believe JRB is similar to this, but wider fold.

This works well, looks good and is the easiest way I have found to finish the edge.


Matt Brown

Locale: Lincolnshire, England
Seam design for quilt on 09/29/2013 06:36:19 MDT Print View

HI guys first post, long time reader before joining the other day. Im looking to make a lovely down quilt and am interested in how Tim Marshall does his seams on his quilts. I am looking for the most streamlined and tidy seam. Thanks, Matt :)

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Seam design for quilt on 09/29/2013 08:56:18 MDT Print View

Matt. Reread first post. Then follow the link given. Also look at above diagram. It too shows.

Matt Brown

Locale: Lincolnshire, England
Sewing hidden quilt seams on 09/29/2013 09:46:33 MDT Print View

Hi Ken,

sorry to be an idiot, i just can't fathom how to do it because as the OP says, surely the baffles cause issue with stitching the final edge seam?

I mean, i can see how its possible to fold the two pieces of fabric inwards down one side and maybe the bottom and stitch that then stitch the baffles. The only problem is once the baffles are filled with down, how the heck can that final side be folded in and stitched to match the first side? Surely its impossible or am i being dumb?!


jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Sewing hidden quilt seams on 09/29/2013 10:32:31 MDT Print View

I've sewn a few down garments recently including a quilt

I just take clumps of down and push it into baffle with fingers. The baffle is mostly empty because the down is compressed into a clump. (or, just push the down away from the seam). There's no down next to the edge where you're sewing the seam.

Then sew the edge seam using any of the first three seams in the picture.

If you sew 1/8th inch from edge so there's only a 1/8th inch flap, it won't be noticable. If you were sewing some clothing, this may be objectionable, but since it's a quilt, it doesn't matter. You're going to tuck that edge under you when you're sleeping.

When you're done sewing, fluff the down so it fills the baffle.