A quick look at how I stuff down
garments. Today I’m going to stuff this down shorts and a core warmer, they
already prepared: down compartments are stitched, there are
openings left for stuffing. Recently I started using the open construction of down
compartments, so that I can stuff the whole garment through one hole. See, the
lines they’re all not finished, all of the compartments are connected and down can go and
just enter from one channel. The tools I use for stuffing is a drumstick, a chopstick
and a fine set of paper funnels and a main one is the box that contains down
inside and that is a working spot in itself for stuffing the garments. Let’s
open the box and take a look at how do you do that. Here is how regular set up
looks like: all the things are inside bag with down is inside, few pins are
here to close the opening through which I stuffed and few clips to
hold the part that’s being stuffed on the box So in this design we’ve got
just one opening and so I will clip here I’ll find the funnel that is close
by the diameter or I will choose a long one and actually I’ll be able to transfer
the down deeper right away so the main technique that I devised five years ago
and since then nothing has changed in my stuffing routine is the following: you
put your hand in a bag of down you form kind of more dense of a ball that will
fit in the opening of the funnel take it to the funnel and then you push
it through with a drumstick if it’s a big object or if it’s a smaller opening
I use a chopstick and drumstick is quite handy to actually transfer the down to
another chambers but what I do is I stuff a lot, trying to distribute
down at the same time but not too thoroughly because I distribute it later
on once more or less the amount of down as it is needed for the garment is
stuffed I’ll show it to you in a sec I don’t really measure amount
of down by weight that is needed to be stuffed because my garments are
relatively small, unlike sleeping bags, and I go by eye, let’s say, or by my
feeling when the object is stuffed I see if I like the amount of fluffiness and
loft in the garment – I just stop stuffing so when some down is getting accumulated
in one part because I have the connected set of down compartments I just kind of
flap it so it finds naturally its way through and fills whole garment it’s a
little bit of a … tedious process but I find it still a little bit faster than
just having separate chambers and stuff in each one first of all because to
stuff each chamber you need to live opening in each chamber that will be closed in
the end and sometimes is not convenient to live so many openings especially for
this garment, for the core warmer, because it doesn’t have any seams, it’s just one
big down panel unlike let’s say down jacket you would have a front panel and
back panel and then all the openings could be in the side seam so it’s not so
inconvenient but with these garments the stuffing is
the last stage and there is no other panels it is connected to so I found
this method of ‘one big chamber’ more appropriate for this kind of design and
as well I like that down can migrate and find its way and distribute and re- distribute
evenly so when I stuff I stuff one amount let’s say 10 grams of down and I
don’t need to think about each chamber and eye each chamber to have them evenly
stuffed that is the second advantage I wish there would be small down
stuffing machines but unfortunately the only mechanized way that is used in the
industry, as far as I know is quite a big down stuffing machine that will take
half of the room and it’s to industrial and too expensive for a small operation
like mine So now I will check if I’m happy with the amount of down stuffed for
that I will close the opening with few pins so that while I’m redistributing
down manually in the chambers it doesn’t fly away through the openings mmm, maybe even a little bit overstuffed Sometimes I let it sit for a couple of minutes so that down has time to a little bit open up after being compressed but it seems with this one that I’m quite happy with
amount of stuff in it’s pretty fluffy and no particular part feels flat or
overstuffed now let’s stuff the shorts the shores do have two different
compartments that are completely separate which is a back and front and
as well the back panel and the front panel both has openings on both sides just to make it easier to stuff this is the first funnel that I’ve made
five years ago and I use it since then see there’s some folds and it can open
or close more it’s very versatile piece of paper let me explain why I use those funnels
because maybe it’s not obvious so the funnels help to keep the down
together one when being stuffed in the opening whereas and let me show it to
you first finish it it’s not impossible to stuff
without the funnels but we see the opening in itself without the finally is
not stable and it’s as well some fabrics might fray from and they get a little
bit destroyed from too much of stuffing in one hole so fun also prevents and
protects the edges from fraying I mean yeah it’s possible it’s totally possible
to do this but yeah you see already some phrase I start to coming out and it
would not be very easy to do it with a much smaller size of the down chambers I
used to have it on smaller garments like neck warmer there is to be smaller
channels like for this diameter and with your hands it’s like it’s impossible to
do and since then I actually abandoned you making such a tiny down channels but
I keep using funnels and I find that they’re useful and it does take zero
time or effort to make some this manual start and of course is
tedious process but at the same time it allows me to catch some of the feathers
that I don’t want to stuff in of course I don’t know how many percentage of
those I can catch but still some and I feel good about it it’s like a manual
control of what I put inside my garments and what are advantages of using the Box
first is that down does not fly absolutely everywhere of course some of
it goes away as you can see but because from the movement of the air it rises up
and if there is no wind and or draft in your room it just will naturally go down
again so quite a bit of dung clusters are actually landing back to where they
started from and it also helps to contain all the instruments that are
always slightly covered and down and down itself initially I devised this box
method because I was making smaller garments and it was actually stuffing
them inside the box so I would put whole panel stacked with the clips like this
inside the box and this was allowing for less of a Down flying around because
everyone was contained so instead of having the whole room I will eliminate
the deliberation to a box but once I started making bigger things I have to
stop them on outside so more feathers fly out but it still you so when the damn chamber is filled I
close it with a pin that is pinned in in the width in the seam allowance not to
create any hole for potential down leakage you let’s check the back panel for amount of
Dow and their staffing as well as over Stefan none of it is bad wait both
understaffing and over Stefan it’s quite bad understaffing is obviously cold over
staffing you just use down and it’s not working optimally because it’s just
they’re too compressed to open up its air little stems and to keep warm air so
it’s quite important to to evaluate properly amount of down in your garment
also when it’s flat is not actually how it would be worn so you might feel for a
flat compartment is good amount of down but maybe it fits sleeve or more
circular more tubular thing to do overstuffed yeah I feel it’s a little over stuff to
remove a little bit of down you – drumstick is for much longer
chambers that need distribution chopstick is for shorter and more narrow
ones for many years and thinking of making one mechanism that will blow all
the down and would be relatively small but I’m still in the stage of thinking
of how it could work something was blowing something with leaf blowers with
reversible current could be solution but there are always some cabbage that I
haven’t found my way around and since I’m not an engineer
such systems it’s not so easy the shorts and the core warmer already to be
finished here are stuffed and finished garments so this was a quick look at my
down stuffing routine leave the comments below with questions or suggestions on
how to improve my routine or if you want to collaborate on making a special home
down stuffing machine that would be absolutely great to not have to do it
with the box methods that I just shown you you


  1. great to see your process on this! did not get my hands on using down yet, will start with the 5 m of thinsulate i got in February from 3M for free, though to get my first experience in quilting. as soon as I use down, your experiences and insights will help me a great deal, though. never change a running system – when your process works for you its great. hope you get some interesting thoughts about this topic from this video and the arising conversations!

    you might want to talk to alasdair crawford from cimoro – he has shown me his way of filling his down pieces (from gloves to sleeping bags). He uses a hair dryer, if i recall correctly, to suck the down out of its compartment through a tube (with the chmney effect) and then pushes it into the piece with the wind from the dryer … all confined in tubings and stuff. seems a bit messy, but he was fond of the fluffyness the down had when stuffed with this method. he only showed me pictures of it though, so you might want to write him on instagram or via email – he is a nice guy, friendly and helpful.

    you also might checkout the company thindown. they make down fleece – so they combine the features of a nonwoven material (like not needing quilting and a well adjustable fluffyness) with the down material. so you can use a sheet of down just sewing into two layers of other fabrics, creating a kind of insulation you normally only get with climashield apex or other specialised synthetic materials. will try to get some samples from them in February.

  2. Just one note. Smaller size funnels might be a noticeably longer with much wider fill-in hole diameter. Narrow funnel is PITA to work with.

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