DIY – Down Skirt, Leg Warmers, Socks, Mittens

This project was made from a down throw I purchased from CostCo for $20. The throw’s construction was 5″ squares with dimensions of 12 squares by 14 squares (about 60″ x 70″).

The goal was to keep it simple. There are much more tailored options but my goal was simply to have an additional layer when camping in frigid conditions, and potentially for use when snowshoeing in cold but not wet weather. I also have an older style sewing machine with limited stitches.

The CostCo throw came with a nice stuff sack. Filled with my new down wear, total weight is 15.7 ounces or nearly a pound. How often will I carry an extra pound in my pack? Better to be pound foolish than cold. (Update: I’ve since revised the skirt and the total package now weighs 12.5 ounces)


Blue was used for mittens


  1. Using the measurements as specified in each section, determine your layout for the desired pieces.
  2. Mark that layout on the reverse side of the quilt. I used chalk.
  3. Sew parallel straight lines on both side of the chalk line. If you use the squares on the CostCo quilt, one line is already sewn. #11 needle worked for my machine and this fabric.
  4. Cut between the sewn lines. This will help manage the loose down. Keep vacuum handy!
  5. Finish the edges. I used a zigzag stitch.


Materials: 12 squares (60″) x 7 squares (35″)

My objective was a long skirt I could wear in combo with my leg warmers around camp or in bed on especially cold trips. I also wanted the option to wear it occasionally for cold hiking or snowshoeing. I elected to keep it simple by making it a straight skirt with an adjustable elastic waistband. I wanted the width sufficient to tuck around me when sitting around and wide enough for my hiking stride. Weight 8.85 ounces. (Update: I’ve since shortened the skirt significantly by removing two rows at the bottom, and also removed about 18″ from waist by making two long darts and turning the skirt into more of an A-line pattern. The revised weight is 5.6 ounces.)


  1. Measure for length and width. Add 1-2″ for seams. Size over your clothing with adequate room to pull up over your hips.
  2. Cut using the factory finished edge as hem and side seams (depending on your personal dimensions).
  3. Sew side seam and top stitch to make a flat seam. Use french seam if you want to hide raw edges if you didn’t use factory finished ends.
  4. Make a casing for the elastic at the unfinished edge. Leave 1/2″ opening to thread elastic.
  5. I used round cord elastic with a toggle to adjust waistband.
  6. Pockets:
    1. Use the leftover fabric from making the diagonal cut for the leg warmers.
    2. Select your size preference. I used the angled 2×2 squares.
    3. Finish the edges.
    4. Decide where to place on skirt. I placed on sides one square down from waist.
    5. Top stitch pocket in place.

Leg Warmer/Sock Combo:

Materials: 10 squares (50″) x 14 squares (70″)

My objectives were slippers/socks and leg warmers to wear in bed or around camp in cold conditions. I wanted the ability to get up in the middle of the night without removing socks or having to put on overshoes. I also wanted something I could wear over my tights when hiking if it was really cold but dry. These are designed with an open toe that tucks under the foot for socks or slides up to the ankle when used with shoes. If I want to wear them walking on snow, I can use a shower cap or bread bags as moisture barriers. Weight 5.25 ounces.


  1. Measure for the largest circumference area of your lower leg/calf over whatever you’ll be wearing. I measured over my jeans just to ensure I had plenty of space.. Add about 5-7″. For me that was about 25″. Finished width is 23″.
  2. Measure length from below knee to floor and from heel to toes. Add another 5-7″. For me that was about 35″. Finished length is 33″.
  3. Measure largest circumference area of your foot between arch to toes. Add another 5-7″. For me that was about 15″. Finished width is 14″.
  4. Fold the fabric inside out for each leg.
  5. Starting at the finished edge end, draw a diagonal line from the smallest width to the largest width. In my case from the 15″ (3 squares) to the 25″ (5 squares).
  6. Pin on the discard fabric area, otherwise down may leak through the pin hole.
  7. Sew along the diagonal line (start at the factory finished end).
  8. Cut about 1/4 – 1/2″ from the sewn line. (Keep the piece you cut off if you’d like a pocket on your skirt)
  9. Finish the cut edge. I used the zigzag stitch.
  10. Flip the leg warmer, finished side out, and complete a modified french seam if you’d like to hide the raw edges.
  11. Make a 1/2″ casing on the largest width end for the elastic. I double rolled to hide the raw edge. Begin and end on both sides of the seamed section leaving about 1/2″ to pull through the elastic. I used round cord elastic. Package doesn’t indicate diameter.
  12. Test fit and either finish with a toggle adjustment or fixed length by tying knot.
  13. Measure from the floor over the top of your foot (at your arch). For me that was 8″. Cut a section of the round cord elastic. Attach to each side of the toe end of legging. Looks like a stirrup. I knotted each end of the elastic and attached with a zigzag stitch (stitching over vs through so I could adjust).
  14. Test fit by tucking the last section (about 5″) under your foot. Place elastic over your foot to hold it loosely in place. Adjust knot/length as necessary.


My objective was a warm-up around camp mitten, definitely not intended to hike in. I wanted them to be roomy enough I could hold a cup. The design is a lopsided balloon. Weight 1.2 ounces

Materials: 2 squares (10″) x 7 squares (35″)  NOTE: If I had more fabric, I would extend the 10″ length.


  1. Along the 7 square factory finished edge, about 1″ from the edge, attach elastic cord leaving about 1″ on each end. I used a wide and long zigzag stitch.
  2. Bring the ends of the long piece to the center creating essentially two sections 3.5 squares each. You should be looking at the inside of the mitten fabric.
  3. Create a pattern with plenty of room for seam allowance and down puff. I used about 1″.
  4. Trace onto the folded sections. I use chalk. Place the baby finger side of pattern on the fold. This will not be cut nor sewed.
  5. Pin the pieces together outside the pattern area. Otherwise, the pins will create holes in the fabric allowing down to escape.
  6. Test that you can easily insert hand through the opening.
  7. Starting about 1/4″ away from the elastic cording, stitch around the hand shape.
  8. Leaving about 1/2″ margin, cut around the shape being careful not to cut tail of elastic.
  9. Finish the cut edge. You can finish all the way to cuff. Just don’t catch the elastic cord.
  10. Pull the elastic cord on both ends exposing about 2-4″ length. Finish the straight stitch from the 1/4″ above cord to the cuff. Be careful to go over the cord but not through it.
  11. Put hand in glove and adjust elastic to desired fit. Tie a square knot. Turn glove to finished side and refit hand/wrist. Adjust elastic as needed. Tie several knots leaving about 1″ tails for future adjustment.

Function is more important than fashion!

Hard to tell in photo, but I have a leg warmer on my left leg with the the sock portion pulled up into walking position.


23 thoughts on “DIY – Down Skirt, Leg Warmers, Socks, Mittens

  1. Very fun! Love your creative side.

    On Thu, Jan 21, 2016 at 7:38 AM, Jans Jaunts and Jabberings wrote:

    > BeeKeeper posted: “This project was made from a down throw I purchased > from CostCo for $20. The throw’s construction was 5″ squares with > dimensions of 12 squares by 14 squares (about 60″ x 70″). The goal was to > keep it simple. There are much more tailored options but my ” >

  2. OMG I almost spit my coffee out at that last pic, You deff have some crazy mad skills 😀 and looks like another BeeKeeper blog post I need to archive for future ref 😀 😀

    • I love that I saved probably $200-300 also. Plus fun to create and customize. Down socks are $65-$100. I’m so glad I was taught how to sew in 4-H when I was young. I entered lots of garments in the fair and won lots of $$ which encouraged more creativity. I made a down vest from a kit when I was in high school. Just recently got rid of that treasure.

    • LOL . . . since something along the MacGyver lines has been tried, a Michelin reference would be well earned wearing this get up, but I bet I’d have lots of jealous friends.

  3. That’s impressive. Years ago (ahead of a hike on the CDT) I sewed a down parka/sleeping bag combo with down from Stephensons Warmlite. It was the most challenging sewing project EVER but the results have been a huge blessing.

    • One of the reasons I selected this option is I knew I’d never have the patience to deal with loose down. I’d heard those stories 🙂 I’m so glad your project has worked out!

  4. What a great idea! I’ve got two of these throws and the everyday-use one gets stuffed in the bottom of my pack next to my bivy on cool weather day hikes. More than once I’ve wrapped it around myself sarong style and secured it with a long scarf I always carry/wear. This leaves a sort of fluffy peplum of excess quilt hanging down around my hips, but if it’s really cold that is no bad thing. Definitely a Michelin look. I can see that your set up has advantages in freedom of movement. I’m loath to give up the quilt-in-the-bivy option in case of being stuck out overnight, but since I do have a second quilt stored away I may be tempted yet!

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  11. Love this! Searching for a tutorial for a hanging-out-with-my-friends-outdoors-in-the-cold-because-of-covid skirt and found yours. I’m thinking of upcycling a down coat. Or I might go with a fleece wrap skirt. Anyways, this is fantastic!

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