If you’ve been following along, my summer underquilt has been taking shape nicely. Most of the sewing was done yesterday. The big parts are pretty easy, it’s all the little things that take the most time.
My daughter helped me lay everything out. First I had to fix my pattern.
On the original directions, I couldn’t read the numbers. I made both my foot end and my head end 24″ wide. But while reading the instructions, the writer had mentioned “the foot end is slightly smaller”. I was able to work out that the head was SUPPOSED to be 30 inches wide and the foot 24 inches. So now I had an issue. I added “wings” to my pattern, tapering each end so I had 30″ wide at both the head and feet. I could have redrawn and recut the whole pattern, but I’m only using it three times to cut material. Since I made the head and foot the same, I don’t have to worry about which end is which when I hang it up. It’s completely reversible.
We laid out my fabric, and then my pattern. I’m glad I left a few extra inches, because It seems the tie-dying, washing, and drying process may have shrunk it a little somehow. I left about 5 extra inches when I cut it, and I had barely 2 inches sticking out the top end. In the view below you can also see where I added the tapered side wings.
We cut three pieces, one at a time. Shell, Liner, Insulation. You can’t really draw on the insulation, so I just laid the paper on it and cut. The next issue is what to do with the scraps. Since I had to order 3 yards of Climashield, now I had about a 2 foot section of scrap, 60 inches wide. So I decided to lay it in the middle for extra torso protection.
The B on there is for “bottom”, I labeled all my stuff in case there were pattern errors, everything would still line up later. I liked the extra piece, but decided to throw on my long side scraps as well.
Now these I had to quilt in place. I ran a stitch around the sides of all the pieces, by hand, using an “engineer’s cable tie wrap” (a Marline hitch, with each knot tied off) and a curved needle. That took a long time, maybe 90 minutes.
If you recall, my previous quilt was made with 6 ounce insulation. This one was 2.5, but I doubled it just in the torso area. That makes half the quilt a 5 ounce quilt. So, if my summer night is just a bit cooler than expected, I should be able to weather it just fine.
Now came the hard part. After stitching the scraps in place, stitching the darts closed on the shell and insulation (the side cutouts), It was time to do the major work of this project. The liner has the most “stuff” to do to it. First I had to sew on for corner patches. The corners are where the shock cords attach, and take a lot of stress when hung under the hammock. I also had to cut and sew up the 6 shock cord guides. A length of rubbery cord runs down both sides and across the ends, to hold the thing under the hammock. This cord runs through guides. You can see the end of one below, pinned to the reinforcing patch.
One problem I had was I didn’t have enough material left over for the patches and guides. So – I used a scrap of crimson tie-dye I happened to have from another project. It was a different fabric, however, plain old 1.6 ounce nylon square ripstop. It was MUCH nicer to work with, sewing. The lighter and thinner the fabric, the more it wants to bunch up in the machine. The 1.6 ounce stuff ran right through it, and held its shape well.
By the end of the night I had all six channels pinned, the patches sewn in, and the hang loops in place (you can’t see them because they aren’t on here yet. The toughest part is making sure everything is layered right on the floor, because you have to lay it all out and sew around the entire thing at once. Except a piece of the foot end of course, because you have to turn the whole works inside out so the channels, loops and such stick out, and the insulation winds up on the inside.
I’m glad no one has asked me to make one of these. I have $77 in materials. With as much time and pain as this has caused me, I’d probably make one, but it would run you about $200. I’ll stick to selling the AT shirts my wife makes.