Friday, 10 June 2011

MYOG, Hammock Under Quilt, #2

I mentioned recently about trying to make an Under Quilt for my hammock, my 1st attempt was simply converting a small regular shaped sleeping bag which worked ok. The 2nd attempt was making one from scratch using the Kick Ass Quilts Potomac plans but that was designed for a Hennessey hammock which is assymetric while my hammock is a regular gathered end type. The Quilt wasn't too difficult to make although I made a few mistakes, the main one being that I managed to mirror the layout so what was intended as the inside (next to the hammock) became the outside. I didn't realise that until I'd given it to Ralph who'd tried it on his Hennessey hammock.

I still had sufficient fabric left for another try as the intention was always to make 2 quilts. I couldn't find plans for a synthetic quilt for a gathered end hammock so had to come up with a design myself.

Pattern Pinned to Shell Fabric

My hammock when opened out is basically rectangular so the easiest option would have been to make the quilt rectangular, in fact that's how the sleeping bag conversion worked out but I wanted to keep the weight as low as possible so figured there was no point in having a load of quilt gathered up at each end. In the end what I came up with was a tapered shape. As quilt tapered towards the ends I needed to place a dart along each long side so that when attached to the hammock the edge would be horizontal.

The Darts when Sewn Up Create a 'Bucket' Shape and Make the Top Edge Horizontal

Another weight saver was to make it shorter, the KAQ Potomac was about 2.4m while the sleeping bag quilt ended up about 1.8m so I settled on 2m. Another weight saver was more by accident than design, I didn't have enough 4oz insulation so had to use 2oz instead.

Patterns for Reinforing Patches and Draw Cord Tunnels

With the design sorted I made a pattern and cut the 2 pieces of fabric that made the shell together with 4 reinforcment patches for the corners and 4 drawcord tunnels. With all the pieces cut I weighed them and as it looked a bit close to my target weight of 500g I decided to have drawcords only at each and forget about the ones down the side as I found that the KAQ Potomac even though it has shockcords along each side tended to curl over the hammock anyway.

With the pieces cut I started to sew it together, again most of the work is done on the inner shell to which I added the corner reinforcements, draw cord tunnels, cord locks on webbing and webbing loops to suspend the quilt. With that done I sewed up the darts but decided to add 2 webbing loops along each side. The reason for the loops was that in the event that there's insufficient insulation I can make a 3/4 length quilt to attach underneath the main quilt.

Fitting Suspension Loops and Captive Cord Locks

Shell and Insulation Laid up Prior to Being Pinned for Sewing

The last big job was to pin insulation and shell together and sew them up, the head end is left open so that the quilt can be turned right side out and then the seam can be sewn up. To finish it off I simply added shock cord to the ends to gather the quilt in a little at the ends, added suspension shock cords and made up a stuff sack.

End Draw Cords and Suspension Shock Cord

Packed, 508g

Trying the quilt on the hammock the fit is thankfully fine and although I didn't quite manage to meet the 500g target it's very close at 508g in the stuff sack.

Of course there are a few things that could be improved, mainly weight/insulation. The quilt is extends up the sides of the hammock quite a bit and I could easily make it a bit narrower and the draw cord tunnels are too wide so I'd cut them narrower too. Finally the fabric and insulation, I could make the biggest performance difference here, I used shop bought polyester lining for the shell and cheap off the roll insulation. Obviously as it was all a bit experimental I didn't want to spend too much but I'm getting close to a design that I would be 90% satisfied with and that being the case I wouldn't mind spending more. That said the hammock is a bit of a fun thing for fine weather only so the cheap option is more than likely good enough. I probably will get some more of the same fabric/insulation just to make up the 3/4 length add on quilt that I'd though about just to see how it would work out.

I still need to try the hammock though, it will happen but not until the weather improves.


  1. excellent job. I admire your gumption in planning and carrying this project out. I am about to start a hopefully simple bivvy bag MYOG project
    if its half as good as your attempot I will be happy :)

  2. Thanks, my biggest problem is visualising the construction and getting a pattern made and until I manage that I simply can't get started. I want to try to make a lighter inner for my tent, there isn't anything really tricky involved but I just can't seem to get started, the pattern is the problem.

    As far as making a bivvy bag goes if you can use a sewing machine and can get the design figured out I'm sure it'll be fine.