DIY – Summer Quilt . . . how to convert a down throw

Many have heard of the down throws sold by Costco and other vendors (Amazon link). I used one to convert my zpacks down sleeping back into a quilt and another to make a skirt, slipper, leggings and mittens (blog link). Finding my three-season quilt too warm for the hottest summer months, I decided to use another to make a summer-weight quilt. I’ve heard these are comfortable to 45-50F. I’m a warm sleeper so I’ll amend with my experience after some use.

Materials Needed

  • Down Throws (60″x70″), most will need to use two. You can also use a down sleeping bag or blanket, etc.
  • Flat Buckles (sourced from Enlightened Equipment, Zpacks, Ripstock by the Roll, or Katabatic Gear)
  • Webbing or elastic to use with buckles

Step 1 – Calculate Dimensions

Length – Add 10″ to your height to determine length

The quilt is 70″ long. I’m 64″ tall and found 72″ finished product length to be just right for me when I made my 3-season quilt. Mine is long enough I can throw over my face occasionally. For this project I decided to leave it 2″ short initially. I can add extra later if I find I want to option in the summer.

Top Width – Add 10″ to your shoulder girth measurement to determine top width

The quilt is 60″ wide. I’m have a loose shoulder girth measurement of about 45″. Adding 10″ makes my final top width 55″.

Footbox Width – Reduce 10″ from the top width.

For me that made it a 45″ width footbox.

Step 2 – Add Length and/or Width

Use the second quilt to add length or width to the base quilt. I included tips on a previous post when I added length to my zpacks bag before I converted it to a quilt (blog link). I still need to write my sleeping bag conversion post; maybe this will motivate me.

Step 3 – Measure Twice (at least), Cut Once

  1. Use a straight edge to create width angle. A sturdy tape measure worked for me. Mark the line. I use chalk.
  2. Sew on both sides of the chalk line leaving about 1/2″ in between.
  3. Cut between the sewn lines (this helps contain the down).
  4. Repeat for opposite edge using the initial cut as a template.
  5. Finish the edge. I zigzag and then roll and straight stitch to make a clean edge.

Step 4 – Create Footbox (optional)

I tried several methods when I created my 3-season quilt. I found I preferred a sewn footbox to a snapped or tied version.

  1. Verify you are working on the narrow end.
  2. Connect the sides by zigzagging together the lower 4-6″.
  3. Match the bottom edge, right sides together, placing your connected seam in the middle.
  4. Sew together the bottom edge. To eliminate air entry you want to have a good seal. I used a tight zigzag stitch, repeating a second time. I put the seam on the inside of my footbox.

Step 5 – Add Hardware

You’ll want to review quilt designs to determine which system you think might work best for you. I started with the idea of attaching my quilt to the pad but found I didn’t need or like it. A few systems to review include Enlightened Equipment, Zpacks, and Katabatic Gear. My preference is four flat buckles attached to the long edges with webbing. My placement is one at the top, another about 14″ below. Then one about 14″ up from the bottom and another 10″ higher. Most often I sleep with the lowest and highest buckled and only use the others on colder or breezy nights.

Final Weight: 14 ounces.

Ready to test! It should be good for temperatures around 45-50F. I’ll update post once I have more experience using it.

Link to More DIY Projects

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4 thoughts on “DIY – Summer Quilt . . . how to convert a down throw

    • I loved this two pack. One was this color and the other a dark teal. It took a few hours but I’d say it could be done in 1-2. It took me a while to find components and take time to document for blog. For $20 it’s a time efficient project. I travel with it also so double duty is even better.

  1. Thanks for this. Yummy.

    I was thinking of doing something similar, cutting bits off one quilt to add to the other, and finishing with a full-length zipper, mimicking the Feathered Friends style.

    Their Flicker series can be used, fully unzipped, as a blanket, partly zipped as a quilt, and fully zipped up as a sleeping bag. Clever design, though super snug if fully zipped up, though this makes it as warm as it can get.

    Right now I’m using safety pins on a Costco quilt to shape it up a little for my nightly indoor bedding. Works just about OK for temps ~ 60-65 degrees. (I’m not a warm sleeper.) Have been using two quilts the last few weeks, but the weather here is warming toward spring (Ecuador), and one is enough now.

    Anyway, nice work.

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