25 Jun 2016

Down Top Quilt

Project goal:

  • Don’t mess up down project
  • Really light (less than 1 lb)
  • Good for 3 season/warmer weather

Final specs (click here to go to finished pics):

  • Total weight: 427 grams, 15.06 oz, .94 lbs
  • 66″ long, 44″ wide, 15″ wide footbox, 20″ sewn-in footbox


  • 9 oz HyperDRY 850 FP Goose Down
  • 3 yards 1.0 oz HyperD diamond ripstop nylon – Royal Blue / Calendered
  • 3 yards 0.66 oz MEMBRANE 10 taffeta nylon – Spectra Yellow
  • ~20 ft 0.67 oz Noseeum Baffle material – 1.5″
  • Gutermann MARA 70 thread – Royal Blue


1. Draw detailed plan. I used the Karo Step method of baffling. Karo Step has open channels… for a better explanation, search on the internet. I made a grid pattern of 14″ boxes to plan the Karo Step.


My initial goal was to have the quilt 70″ long, 46″ wide, and a tapered design. I wanted to sew the 6″ Karo baffles on with 8″ gaps.

2. Cut the main layers of fabric to size according to plans. The outside layer is the blue Diamond ripstop, inside is yellow taffeta. Hem every edge.


3. The next step is to draw the grid pattern on each layer of fabric. I used a magic marker to mark on the ‘wrong side’ of the fabric. Online, many people tape down each layer on a flat piece of floor. I noticed carpet was not a very effective surface to do this, so got creative and taped the fabric to the wall, which worked great.

According to the plan, draw a grid pattern of 14″ squares. I started by drawing the mid-line lengthwise and measuring 14″ on either side from there for the vertical lines. I measured down a bit from the top, perhaps 6″, and then measured 14″ down for each horizontal (width-wise) line.

4. Mark where to sew the baffles. This is a bit complicated. Essentially, there should be open areas (no baffles) where the grid lines intersect. It almost looks like small 8×8″ squares all said and done. Again, the pattern is 6″ baffle, 8″ space, 6″ baffle, 8″ space, etc…, etc… I think the easiest way to mark the baffles is to measure 4″ from each intersection, mark 6″, and ensure it’s 4″ to the next intersection. If you measured correctly, it should line up perfectly. I freestyled the edges of the fabric and just decided where would make sense to have an additional baffle.

5. When you have the first layer of fabric done, it is IMPERATIVE to follow the exact measurements so the baffle lines match up. If you sew one side of the baffle, then connect to the other side of fabric and it doesn’t match up exactly, you have irreversible problems. The grid pattern and baffle markings must match up perfectly.

6. Tape baffles in place onto one layer.



**Note**: The above picture has just the vertical (length-wise) baffles taped on. It was at this point that I realized my calculations were incorrect. Luckily, the two layers matched. My mistake was that the horizontal (width-wise) baffles were measured with only 6″ gaps in between. It ended up to be no issue, but a mistake nonetheless.

7. Sew baffles onto first layer. This is very straightforward, especially with the markings. Just follow the line and make them as straight as possible. Again, these MUST match up when you attach the other layer. To be clear, sew these on the ‘wrong side’ of the fabric.


8. When all of the baffles are sewn into place, it is time to sew the baffles onto the other piece of fabric. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of this, and there is no good explanation how to do this. Line it up, think it through, and take your time. This takes a fair amount of readjusting the fabric, and there is a high chance of sewing folds every which way. Think it through, be diligent with where you are sewing, and it will go smoothly.

9. Sew edges. Quality check the baffles, and then line up each edge and simply sew ’em together. Make sure to keep one piece open to stuff the down in. I chose to leave a ~16″ section near the top corner open. It doesn’t really matter, but think of a place where you can easily push the down feathers deep into the quilt without being obstructed by a baffle. I sewed the edges twice for twice the reinforcement.

10. Connect lower part of quilt for sewn-in footbox. I chose to have a 20″ seam for the footbox area, so I measured up and sewed the two edges to create the tube shape. I spent extra time really reinforcing the ‘split’, as this is a high-stress area.

11. Make footbox. First, measure the circumference of the bottom of the quilt. Without doing too much math, I just laid the quilt flat on the ground, measured the length of the bottom and multiplied by two. Then, add up the four sides of the rectangular footbox to equal the sketchy measure of circumference. Cut squares of fabric, hem the edges, sew three edges, and stuff with a handful of down. Then, sew the last open edge up and you have the footbox.

12. Sew the footbox onto the quilt. Pins help tremendously on this part. I did this part inside-out to improve the look of the outside of the quilt.

13. Stuff with down. I used the Fronkey technique of stuffing down by going in my bathtub, and it worked great. I debated leaving some down for a different project, but figured what the heck, might as well use it all!

14. Sew last 16″ open section closed.





Comments: Notice the rectangular shape of the Karo Step, this is because of the mistake with the horizontal baffle spacing at 6″ instead of 8″ as the vertical (length-wise) baffle spacing.

Project goal:

  • Easy to make
  • Covers the whole hammock and pulls taut
  • Lightweight (under 10 oz)
  • Can be set up as a ground tarp with trekking poles
  • Looks super cool with the dual-color design

Final specs (click here to go to finished pics):

  • Total weight (with string up kit): 262 grams, 9.24 oz, 0.58 lbs
  • 10′ 3″ long ridgeline by 7′ 97″ wide at the widest


  • 7 yards 1.1 oz Silnylon (3 yards Robin Egg Blue, 4 yards Real Teal)
  • 1 yard 2.2 oz HEX70 ripstop nylon (Vader Blue)
  • 25′ 1.75mm Zing-it
  • 1 yard- 5/8″ Grosgrain ribbon
  • 1 yard- 1 3/8″ Grosgrain ribbon
  • Black 100% polyester thread


Lay out and cut fabric:

Cut the Real Teal Silnylon to 10′ 4″ long and lay it out. Cut 2- 20″ wide sections of Robin Egg Blue Silnylon all 3 yards long. Align the Robin Egg strips on each long side of the Real Teal section in the center. That is, leave approximately 1/2 yard of Real Teal on each short side. Stack and pin them so the outside sides are touching.

Stitch fabric together with flat felled seam:

Use a flat felled seam to connect the three pieces of fabric. If you want a better description of this type of sewing technique, go to Google and/or YouTube. To start, run a straight stitch on each side with about 1/2″ seam allowance. Try to keep the layers lined up as best as possible. With the lightweight and waterproof Silnylon, it’s pretty difficult to keep things together. The fabric is super slippery and it takes patience to keep everything lined up.



Then, pull apart the layers, fold the longer layer (in my case it was the Real Teal) over the shorter layer (Robin Egg Blue), and then fold once more so no rough edges are exposed (essentially a rolled hem… look that up on YouTube if you need to know).



Cut to shape:

Following a cat-cut design on the Ripstop By The Roll website (click here and look under the Instructions tab), mark out the corners at 2′ in from the very end. This should leave 6′ between each corner tieout. At the middle of the tarp, measure 6″ up. This will be the highest point of the curved cut. Then, stretch a long and flexible PVC pipe along the marks to trace the curve with a marker. Make a mark in the exact middle of the short sides of the rectangle for the end tieouts/ridgeline. For the side curves, just freestyle it! After the cuts, the tarp should be in its final shape.

Sew a rolled hem around the entire perimeter:

Start sewing a rolled hem. If you need to know what that is, Google or Youtube is a great source. Don’t sew the corners or the end without adding the reinforcement corners!

Sew in corner reinforcement corners:

Custom cut triangles of HEX70 ripstop to fit each of the four corners, and rectangles for each long end. When sewing the rolled hem around the perimeter, slide the reinforcement patch under the fold and sew it in.




It helps tremendously to pin the corners as you sew the reinforcement patches in. This is definitely not the spot that you want a sloppy stitch, and a clean fold will make things much easier!

Cut Grosgrain ribbons:

By now, the tarp has taken shape and is pretty much done. This is the last sewing step. Cut the wide Grosgrain into 12- 2″ (?????) strips. Use two for each corner, and two for each end. Cut the skinnier Grosgrain into 6- 4″ strips for the tie-down loops.

Sew ends:

To make the loops, simply fold the skinny Grosgrain into a loop with and make the same side up.


With the tarp’s outside layer down, stack a loop and a strip of wide Grosgrain on top. Tack this on, then sew the perimeter, then add a few more stitches for extra reinforcement. Then, sew the second wide Grosgrain right below, with a slight overlap. Be sure to only sew three sides, allowing for a ‘pocket’ for a trekking pole or stick for use as a ground tarp. Repeat for the other end.





Sew corners:

Use the same loop technique, but sew the wide Grosgrain ribbons to make an L shape/right angle. Make sure to use plenty of reinforcement stitches!



Tie Zing-it tieouts:

The tarp is essentially done! All that’s left is to attach the tieouts. I used two half-hitches on the loop side, then a taut line hitch to form another loop for the stake side.






Project goal:

  • Good to around 20 degrees in the hammock.
  • Around 1 lb, give or take a few ounces
  • Bungee cinches at the end
  • A channel running the entire length, making it easier to string up and adjust
  • 6ft long, 4 ft wide
  • ~$75 in materials

Final specs (click here to go to finished pics):

  • Total weight: 895 grams, 31.57 oz, 1.97 lbs
    • Without hangup kit: 835 grams, 29.45 oz, 1.84 lbs
  • 69″ long by 43″ wide (5.75′ x 3.58′)


  • 2 yards 7.5 oz/yard Climashield Apex
  • 2 yards 1.0 oz/yard calendared HyperD Diamond Ripstop – red
  • 2 yards 1.1 oz/yard calendared Ripstop Nylon – grey
  • Gutermann MARA 70 thread
  • 5 yards Paracord – white
  • 90″ tiny Bungee cord


Cut Fabric:

Cut one section of Diamond Ripstop and one section of grey Ripstop to 50 inches wide by 78 inches long. Cut two sections of grey Ripstop 5 inches wide by 78 inches long. The two big pieces are the top and bottom of the quilt, and the two skinny pieces make the long channels for paracord for stringing.


Sew hems:

Sew a rolled hem along all edges of all four sections.





Cut insulation:

Lay the two large sections on the ground, match the corners as best as possible. Then, lay the insulation on top and cut any large sections off. Ideally, insulation will stick out 1/4″ from every side.

Layer and pin:

In the sewing machine, the insulation is against the machine. With calendared fabric, the outside side is the matte side, the inside side is the shinier side. Place the matte sides together. The 5″ channel is to be folded in half, with the fold towards the inside. Then layer, from bottom to top: insulation, red Diamond Ripstop (inside layer), folded channel, and grey Ripstop (outer layer). Line all fabric layers as close as possible without bunching up. Pin the two long sides first. Be careful to pin with enough room for the channel. If the channel is out of line, there will not be enough room for the paracord or it will simply miss the stitch.




Sew long sides:

Run a straight stitch along both long sides, trying to get as close to the rolled hem stitch as possible, but without going over (keep the rolled hem stitch towards the outside). Fold the channel in so there is a 2″ gap between the ends.


Sew one short side (foot side):

Run a straight stitch along one small side, careful to sew outside of the 2″ where the channel stops. If you accidentally sew the channel shut, the paracord will not be able to pass through!

Sew 15″ in from each side of the other short side (head side):

Starting from the top of the other shorter side, sew in 15″, leaving a break to flip the whole quilt right-side out. Then, starting 15″ from the bottom, sew down.


Stitch the perimeter:

Once every side has been stitched (except the one short side, where there is a gap to flip the whole quilt right-side out), do another straight stitch to reinforce the previous stitching. Aim to sew just inside the previous stitching.

Flip the quilt:

Make sure that the stitching looks nice and consistent, and that there are no big problem spots. Then, shove the entire quilt through the hole on the one short side to flip the quilt right-side out. Then, inspect the channel to make sure there are no major issues.


String paracord through the channel:

This was tedious at best… In hindsight,I’d make the channel, much bigger. At spots, the channel was no more than 1/8″ tall pulled taut–just wide enough to fiddle the paracord through. Also, when I flipped the ends of the channel back, I didn’t sew it to the sides, so there was open fabric that got caught on the paracord as I tried to get it through the other side of the tunnel. Eventually, I got both sides through and tied a quick stopper overhand knot to ensure it wouldn’t slip back through!


Sew the open end shut:

Mash the ends together and sew them closed. Make sure there are no gaps or holes and you can no longer see any insulation. I didn’t use any sort of special technique here, just try to match the sides so there is no bunching.

Prepare material for bungee cord enclosure:

Measure and cut 2 strips of grey Ripstop Nylon 6″ wide by 44″ long. Measure 2- 45″ lengths of bungee cord. Sew a rolled hem on every side.


Sew in the bungee cords:

Fold the enclosure strip in half and place the bungee at pit of the fold, like a taco fold. Stitch as close to the outside of the fold as possible without going completely on top of the bungee cord.


Make grommets at the ends, then scrap ’em:

Hammer in four grommets to the end of the enclosure so the cord can pass through. Prepare to pin the cinch cord enclosure on to the quilt. Here is where I realized the grommets were not the right way, so I scrapped ’em! The bungee cord runs by the grommet on its way out, hence, no use for the grommets at all.

Pin and sew cinch cord enclosure on the quilt:

Wrap the enclosure strip stitching down, around the short ends of the quilt. Aim for the direct center, where the bungee cord is sewn in, to be directly on top of the quilt seam. Then, sew it on!











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