Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: DIY warm suit for hunting

  1. #1
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    363

    Default DIY warm suit for hunting

    Right now its -15 F with a -45 F windchill here in WI so I think this thread is fitting for the weather.

    I have a growing interest in staying warm on stand so Iíve looked into the heater body suit and the warmbag and the IWOM. After looking at them all I think I want to make my own and combine some of the features I think I want. The WI gun opener was very cold (single digits) with wind chills below zero. The bow season was also cold and windy and now that I am down to 185 pounds, I struggle more with keeping warm.

    Here are the 3 products I looked into when considering making my own. I like features of each so I am combining.



    Itís the off season and it gets dark at 4:30 pm so itís time for winter projects so Iím firing up the sewing machine and thought Iíd share this project with those interested in constructing their own cold weather gear. This will be a work in progress and a sort of ďlearn as you goĒ since I have never made something like this before.

    Step one is making a pattern. It would really be easy if I skipped the legs/feet such as the Heater body suit employs but I like that feature so pattern making gets a bit more difficult, not because of the feet or the legs but the gathering of the panels that meet at the crotch. 4 panels all have to meet in the same place and must be sewn inside out and with multiple layers of material so spending time up front getting the pattern right will pay off when I get to the sewing machine (and because I expect to make a couple of these suits for family members and donít want to have to figure it out over and over.)

    I sketched out a few patterns and then transferred the patterns to old bed sheets to see if I got it correct. On a side note, it appears that one king sized top sheet is large enough to cut all the pieces from.

    **TIP** King sized top sheets are easy to find while your wife is gone Christmas shopping. They are in the closet at the end of the hall. ;-)

    Here are the pattern pieces that make up the panels to sew the suit. Note! Two of the foot panels are required.







    Then I traced the pattern pieces onto the bed sheet to make the prototype.



    I like the big main zipper of the HBS but I want the flexibility of also having arm zippers if I want to use binos or make/take a phone call or other reasons to have my arms outside the bag without losing all the warmth by getting out of the bag so my bag will have 3 zippers.

    The flap is 1 3/4" wide to make sure to protect the zipper from wind/rain/icing up. Both arm zippers will also have protective flaps.


    Here is prototype #3. I think I have the pattern figured out without having to test my work on the expensive material. (plus now I have an idea of what to get the wife for Christmas........... New king sized bed sheets)



    All the layers of the bag will be polyester so it makes sense to sew the bag with polyester thread. Coats makes a thread for outdoor projects. Itís very strong. I canít break one strand when wrapped around my hands so I think it will hold up well.



    Something we take for granted but is paramount to the design of such a hunting garment is the zipper. In this case the ability to get out quickly and quietly. You may not have noticed that most zippers donít just fall open and must be activated by pulling on the toggle to move the closure. That is except for a double pull sleeping bag zipper. For safety reasons it has to open even on falt and from both sides. If you were to grab and pull a regular zipper by the ends of the fabric wings used to sew it to the project you will find the zipper will not open meaning you wonít be able to get the toggle and closure to fall simply by pulling the two halves apart.
    A sleeping bad zipper is different in that you can separate the zipper without touching the toggle and closure by simply pulling the two halves of the sleeping bag apart. For that reason the HBS offers a snap on the front of the suit just below the waste so that when you begin opening the suit, the zipper does not go all the way to your feet. You want to be able to slide out of the bag just by bringing both hands through the zipper opening without actually having to fumble for the zipper toggle.

    Using a regular zipper for this task will leave you disappointed in the ability to get out of the suit with the least amount of motion, noise and effort.



    More on locking and non-locking zippers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCh3DfyEUVM

    Here are the layers of construction Iím using for this project. As the video I created states, Iím considering an additional layer of Polartec fleece. I just need to test the sewability of this many layers. When I join the two sides of the suit I would be sewing through 12 layers of fabric and insulation.



    Video I created showing the layers.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ap6LDNM_mU">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ap6LDNM_mU" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="350">

    If you havenít used a roll cutter you really need to. You wont use a scissors again.



    There is no turning back now. The good stuff has been cut. ;-)



    I dont think its possible to cut out polartec (or any stretchy fabric) in an elaborate pattern without using a roller cutter. A scissors just moves the material too much to make everything line up from the start of the cut to the end. A roller cutter is a close as one can get to using a cookie cutter with the least disturbance to the material being cut out.



    For info on this material click the link.

    http://polartec.com/warmth/

    You can buy it at Joann fabric stores now. They just started carrying it but other outlets also carry it.
    Joann had it for $9 a yard but seems to have lots of 50% coupons that you can print out from their website.
    Good Lord did that last part sound geeky or what? Hopefully that feeling wears off when I am on my manly bow stand with my manly bow killing big game animals in a manly manner. ;-)

    With all the many pieces of all the layers cut out I had to do a process check trying to sew through this many layers. As stated, the suit is made up of 6 layers but joining the panels together requires sewing through two panels or 12 layers of fabric. Thatís a lot to ask of this old Singer so I need to test it on a scrap piece.

    The data sheet on the 3M Thinsulate web site says that Thinsulate needs to be quilted into the garment and that too much sewing compresses the loft causing a loss in insulation efficacy so they state that quilts ought not be closer than 4 inches but can be as much as 10 inches apart. (too far apart and the Thinsulate in not supported enough and will come apart during machine washing. Thinsulate needs support but not so much you lose the air trapping loft that makes it so effective.

    I cut a 1 foot by 1 foot square of the 6 layers and set on a quilting distance of 5 inches apart in a square pattern. The Singer had no problems sewing the 6 layers.



    Then I cut the test piece in half and stacked them to test sewing through 12 layers. It was slow going and I had to make some adjustments but I was able to sew through all of it. So far so good. Im pleased with the results.
    Again the layers in order are

    Camo polyester tricot

    Polartec fleece

    Ripstop polyester

    3M Thinsulate 150

    Ripstop polyester

    Polartec fleece



    Its clear that there is no way the wind is going to be able to cut through this stack of fabric. I then bent, folded and manipulated the stack while holding near my ear and it is as quiet as a bed quilt. Then I threw the test piece in the freezer for an hour and tested it for noise again. Still its very quiet. All systems are go.







    I started assembling the suit at the feet. None of the brands/versions of the suites that I have seen offer a thinker and more durable fabric as the sole of the suit. My ladder stands and chain on have expanded metal that is rough with sometimes weld spatter that I fear will tear the out camo fabric so Im adding a layer of PU coated 500 denier Cordura to the bottoms of the feet. I sewed the Cordura to the outer fabric prior to attaching the outer fabric to the quilted foot panel. U ran 3 stiches around to reinforce the Cordura patch. The PU (Polyurethane ) coating on the back side of the Cordua offers a bit of water resistance.



    The next step was to quilt together all the many layers for the boot panel prior to attaching the outer fabric. Then the outer fabric is attached to the quilting only around the seam. This does two things. It keeps the quilting stitches from being seen (important if I didnít want the fashion fabric to show the quilting stitches) but it also reduces the number of needle holes through the outer fabric from wind and water standpoint and it keeps the quilting threads from being abraded through wear or snagging on anything. THe outer fabric and quilting are folded in half inside out and then sewn.



    After sewing this is what it looks like when turned right side out.



    I used one of my size 13 Extra wide boots to see how it fit in the foot portion. There is room to spare.



    I have come to the conclusion that quilting large panels is a pain in the ass and time consuming. But I have one side of the suit quilted anyway. One down one more to go. If I do this again Im switching from 5 x 5 quilts to 7 by 7.



    The suit will be held up on the shoulders by crossing elastic straps. It will be easier to sew the straps in before the bag is assembled. There will be a strap on each half of the suit.



    The top strap is 36 inches long and the bottom is 6 inches. A buckle allows for adjustment.



    Next, this bag will have both a main zipper and additional zipper for each arm like they have on the warm bag suit. I didnít pin the zipper in place since the suit it getting thick/bulky for pinning so I used painters tape to position it .It does a good job and does not leave any sticky goo on the fabric. You can sew right through the tape and then peel it off, then open the zipper and use the rolling cutter.





    Then the suit is flipped over and the outer material is resewn to the zipper. Then I made a zipper cover/flap to keep the warm in and wind and rain out. Itís two layers of the camo fabric and two layers of the polartec fleece stitched together. The flap is then sewn over the zipper opening.


  2. #2
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    363

    Default

    I took a break from sewing on Sunday to get together with my brothers and dad to move my dadís tower/gun stand to my sisterís farm. My uncle sold the family farm so the stand needed moving. It was only 5F with a wind so it was pretty cold for this kind of work. My dad (78 years old) could only watch from the cab of my truck. A few years ago he had a heart attack and 5 stints installed and last fall, 80% blockage in his carotid artery and about a month ago carpal tunnel surgery. The meds he is on means he canít tolerate the cold. He told me that he wished he had a hat that kept him warm and had ear flaps that also keeps his cheeks warm. He likes to ice fish but its been a very windy fall/winter and the wind on his ears/face make it too uncomfortable for him. I told him I would make him an insulated hat with ear and cheek flaps even though I have never sewn a hat before. So I put the warm suit on hold for a day to make him a hat.

    Im making the hat out of an army surplus wool blanket, Polartec fleece, ripstop polyester (to block the wind) and polyfill batting/insulation for warmth.



    Step one is to make a pattern for the lower part of the hat.



    The material is sewn inside out so I stacked it with the fuzzy side of the fleece and the wool next to one another and then layered the ripstop and polyfill on top. Once sewn it will be turned inside out . Here is what it looks like from both sides after sewing. Its sewn on all sides EXCEPT the top of the headband portion so I can turn it right-side-out.



    Here is what it looks like when stitched .



    Then all the layers except the wool are cut away and the wool is folded back on the headband portion.



    After wrapping it around my head and testing the fit in the mirror I decided to remove the bill/brim. I thought it would fold up/down but I think I would need to make it bigger for that to work so I just removed it.



    Then I made a pattern for the beanie portion of the hat.



    The 4 panels of the beanie wont be turned inside out so I sewed them in the order I want them to appear on the finished hat.



    This is what the two sides look like after stitching. I quilted it in the center of each panel.



    Then the 4 panels are sewn together to form the top of the hat.



    Then the bottom portion and beanie are pinned together for sewing.



    And after stitching with the addition of a black fleece headband sewn on.



    Then Velcro closures.



    And proper labeling



    My youngest was not really excited about being my hat model but he did it for grampa anyway. I gave it to him for Christmas.





    OK, Enough with the hat. Time to get back to the suit.

    I completed both sides and then joined the two sides together. The most difficult area is the crotch as there is the most material to sew through. It worked out well and the pattern is sound.



    Then I added the first foot to the bottom of one of the legs. That too worked out well.



    The pieces are coming together well. Another foot to add and the main zipper and the collar to go yet.



    With both feet attached I turned to the main zipper and the flap on the suit that covers it. The flap is finished with what is called Bias tape with is just a folded piece of fabric to dress up and finish the cut edge of the layers of material on the main zipper flap.



    Then I sewed the main zipper to one side of the suit. The other half of the zipper gets sewn to the flap about 2 inches inside from the edge of the protective flap.



    The hat works! He opened it for Christmas and put it to use right away.



    The suit is near completion. After joining the two halves I added a stand up collar made of Polartec Fleece and elastic.





    I added an outside pocket for a range finder or Camera or Binos as having any sort of ďlensedĒ item inside the suit would no doubt fog up upon taking it out of the suit.





    To each of the 3 zippers I braided a long pull since I donít want to be fumbling around trying to locate the toggle when time is of the essence.



    The suit needs an easy and convenient way to transport it in and out of the woods and since I am prone to leaving things up in the tree overnight and I like to take things for gun hunting into the stand the day before, I want a bag for the suit to protect the suit from the elements. The bag has a few requirements.

    The inside needs to be slippery material making it easy to get the suit in and out.

    It needs to be waterproof.

    It needs to have back pack straps sewn in.

    I found some heavy Twill fabric with the same camo pattern as the suit at Joann fabrics. I will line the bag with ripstop nylon since its slippery and water resistant. When finished the bag will get a durable waterproof coating sprayed on the outside.







    The bag is then turned inside out and double stitched for strength. Afer sewing I turned the bag right side out and I put the suit in the bag to test for fit and to address the bottom of the bag. Since the bag is round when the rolled up suit is placed inside but the bag is a flat envelope, you get corners that stand out. This is fine if you are making batmanís head piece and want bat ears. I donít want that so with the suit in the bag I pined the ears down, removed the suit and sewed the ears flat.







    Here is the finished bag with the suit inside. The backpack straps are adjustable as are the cinch straps.




  3. #3
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    363

    Default

    This yearís gun deer season was pretty cold and windy and what drove me to the construction of this suit in the first place so the suit needs a blaze orange shell . Obviously the shell needs to be removable with as little hassle as possible so I repurposed a 3XL light weight orange shell I used to wear when I was much bigger. (being a lot smaller is another reason I needed the warm suit since I get colder now that there is less of me)

    I cut the arms off the old orange jacket and sewed them shut. Then removed the zipper and placed one half of it in a new location on the jacket and sewed the other half of the zipper to the suit. I had to buy another zipper for the other side of the jacket and again sewed one half to the jacket and the other half to the suit.

    I also had to cut and hem openings in the jacket that line up with the arm openings in the suit. Not having to construct an entire orange shell saved a bit of time.







    I have the option of using Ozone (O3) scent removal technology within this suit. I have a few of these units that I use in my homemade wardrobe to deodorize all my gear but since this suit in itself is a contained enclosure, I have the ability to use the O3 unit to kill my scent within the suit meaning my head would be the only thing outside the bag giving off scent.

    The unit runs on 4 AAA batteries and is small and light enough to hang within the suit without any bother. The heater body suits that are purchased all come with the same O3 unit. (See link)



    http://www.heaterbodysuit.com/Seriou...tionVideo.html

    The suit needs a hood since most of our heat is lost out of the top of our heads. Tthe hood cant be attached to the suit since you cant turn your head and even if you did the hood would remain stationary so when you turn you would see only the inside of the hood.

    I also wanted a separate liner/balaclava made form Polaratec Fleece that would be worn under the hood.

    Polartec fleece stretches in one direction so the pattern has to patch the stretch. I pinned the two layers together with the soft fleece facing inwards. Then sewed it, trimmed it and experimented with the opening until I got what I wanted.



    The hood itself is made like the suit with one exception. I added another layer of 3M Thinsulate insulation. It made the layers a bit more bulky to sew but the machine handled it. The 6 layers are sewn inside out around the face and neck opening but not across the head seam. The hood will be turned right side out and the two halves will be joined together. Then the entire hood is turned right side out.





    Next I added a bit of webbing and some Velcro for the closure.



    The finished hood and balaclava worn by a handsome hood model. ;-) During firearms seasons an orange knit cap can be worn over the top.



    The suit and all the accessories are complete. Final weight is 8 Ĺ pounds. Here are some pictures.









    I probably should not have worn black to show the black suspenders holding the suit up in this pic.



    The pocket is well out of the way of the bow string.















    I tested out my suit today. The air temp was -15F with a windchill around -45F. The plan was to sit out for a couple hours. I put a remote temp probe inside the suit with me in the air space between my outermost layer of clothing and the inside of the suit. It never got below 48 degrees but got as warm as 50 degrees. An hour and 10 minutes into the test, Josh tried to start my wifeís car and it would not start so I had to stop the test to address getting his car out of the garage and her car in and some heaters set up to warm the car.

    I donít think I would ever hunt in such dangerously cold weather but this was an extreme test of the suit and it passed with flying colors. I never felt any wind and I stayed nice and warm.






  4. #4
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks Area
    Posts
    7,272

    Default

    Thanks for sharing,, you have motivated me to try a few projects. I bought that sewing machine, so now I just have to get at it.

    Thanks.

    Steve
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  5. #5
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    363

    Default

    That machine was an exampe of the machine I use. I saw it was missing the surface plate. Did you buy that exact macing missing the part or did you buy another that was more complete?

  6. #6
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks Area
    Posts
    7,272

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rancid Crabtree View Post
    That machine was an exampe of the machine I use. I saw it was missing the surface plate. Did you buy that exact macing missing the part or did you buy another that was more complete?
    Bought that one.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  7. #7
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    363

    Default

    You will need to get the missing part before you can use it.

  8. #8
    Moderator stid2677's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Fairbanks Area
    Posts
    7,272

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rancid Crabtree View Post
    You will need to get the missing part before you can use it.
    Yes Sir, was able to get the cover for 10 bucks as well.

    Sorry for the high jack.

    Thanks again and great suit.
    "I refuse to let the things I can't do stop me from doing the things I can"
    Founding Member
    http://www.residenthuntersofalaska.org/

  9. #9
    Member Rancid Crabtree's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    363

    Default

    There is no hijack. Its all good. Your gonna like that machine. I have been using mine for about 15 years now. I can't stall it with as much denim as you can fit under the presser foot or as much seat belt material as I can get under the foot. I sew tow straps with mine rated for 5,000 lbs. (you just need to use a denim needle and extra heavy thread.)

  10. #10
    New member
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Location
    California
    Posts
    12

    Default

    Great project. Keeps the wind off ya and keeps heat in. I guess ya got ability to do some movement in there without being noticed. Nice job.

  11. #11
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1

    Default

    Crabtree, I sent you a message will you please respond. Thank you!

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •