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I have this jacket pattern. In case it's relevant, I'll be making it in a medium weight twill. I'm also adding a lightweight silky lining to give it a nice finish and make it easy to put on.

In planning my jacket, I thought perhaps I could make it warmer by adding some sort of fill in between the outer and lining, but I've never made a puffy jacket like that before and don't know what to use. Most search results just discuss how to select a coat for purchase, not how to make one.

I have some poly fill that I've used in pillows and stuffed animals - is that suitable for apparel also? What about batting, like for quilts? Or is there something else that is typically used?

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    Are you planning to make any other adjustments to the pattern? If I remember correctly, puffy jackets are generally segmented to keep the fill distributed appropriately. Loose batting like that used for pillows would eventually sink to the bottom of the jacket without some help... and I don't think anyone wants a bulky tube around their waist ;) – Catija Oct 20 '16 at 16:43
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    I don't want to have visible stitches on the outside (would ruin my style :P) - I was envisioning something quilted on/in the lining. If necessary I could add another layer of lining to contain the fill ...but since that is 3x the original pattern I might reconsider my plan, ha. Right now I am mostly curious about the materials, to determine if I should even try with this pattern. – user812786 Oct 20 '16 at 16:53
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Self-answering with my solution. After asking around, I had suggestions for:

  • Poly fill
  • Down
  • Flannel
  • Wool
  • Batting

Poly fill and down seem suitable for very puffy jackets (source), but didn't fit my vision of this particular one - might be too puffy, plus the lining would have to be more complicated to keep it distributed evenly. Flannel and wool would be warm, but they have no fluff at all, and I thought they might make the jacket feel too heavy.

That leaves batting, which has both desired properties: fluffy, and can be easily quilted to only the lining.

The particular material I got was Soft n Crafty 80/20 batting, which is advertised as: low-loft, with a soft drape, and specifically mentions garments as an application! It's just a little puffy, and not as heavy as wool.

I originally came across this in a store, so it was sheer luck to find exactly what I was looking for. Now that I know what it is, the key words appear to be "low loft" or even "ultra low loft" - searching on this gives me more product results, as well as some posts about sewing with it.

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    Excellent solution. I use Soft 'n Crafty batting quite a bit, and have experience with loft levels from 2-4. The low-loft would work well for adding warmth and low-bulk. You might consider only adding the batting in the torso, and just your light silky lining in the sleeves, depending on how much warmth you need. This will cut down on bulkiness and is how many commercially made light-warmth jackets are made - the fleece or sherpa or batting only in the torso. – user1798 Mar 21 '17 at 16:28
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Polyfil. If you want puffy filling, go with polyfil. You've already used it; it's a great filling for a puffy jacket. Since you're using a bomber jacket pattern (by the way - the picture makes it look more like a letterman than a bomber?) typically there would be some degree of 'puff' to it.

My grandfather's bomber jacket - an actual bomber jacket, he was a WWII pilot - uses wool. It's also an excellent option, but not quite as easily obtainable. If you have access to a fabric store, there'll be a wealth of options there - but for ease of use, there's nothing wrong with polyfil. Unless that's too puffy.

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I've made historic jackets from warmish climates, but nothing as puffy as what I think you're considering.

I expect you want to plan for the warmth you desire... I found a few sites when googling "jacket filling" that speak to the differences in temperature control that are provided by down vs. various types of synthetic fibers - so my first thought is to research modern jackets and see what level of warmth vs. weight vs. volume you want.

Example:

https://www.outdoorresearch.com/blog/gear-geek/down-vs.-synthetic-whats-the-difference-between-down-and-synthetic-insulati

http://www.sierratradingpost.com/lp2/down-vs-synthetic-guide/

Next, I found that I could find some links to some of those options...for example:

https://www.onlinefabricstore.net/80-20-loose-down-feather-filling-3-lb-.htm?gclid=CO6_28Ho-M8CFY1ahgoduzID6A

https://www.onlinefabricstore.net/kapok-fill-5-lb-.htm

I had less luck getting traction on the brands of synthetic filling, googling for thinsulate filling for example, only got me stuff that has thinsulate in it, rather than access to a place that would ship a bunch of thinsulate in non-clothing form. I didn't try an exhaustive search though.

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Buy a quality fill, used by hiking jacket manufacturers.

I have a RAB jacket with Primaloft: best jacket I have ever owned. It insulates when wet.

You can buy it off the roll.

You can buy it off the roll from this and other stores.

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