After making a third practice lunch bag I decided that maybe I knew what I was doing, so I gathered my materials, my patterns, and started cutting out the insulation pieces.
That’s almost enough for 24 lunch bags. I’m waiting for more ultra firm stabilizer to show up in the mailbox, and I used a few pieces on another project. I only ran into one problem when cutting out the pieces from the InsulBright. I had used an air-erasing marking pen, but you usually get three or four hours before it starts disappearing. And some pens don’t disappear at all. Well, I spent an hour and a half tracing out all of the patterns. As I started to cut them out I noticed my lines were beginning to disappear. YIKES!
Luckily, Jay came in the room at that point and I asked him if he could please help me because I had a “beat the clock situation” happening. I could hear the Mission Impossible theme playing. Thank goodness for Jay because we managed to get them all cut out just in time!
You would think that 24 lunch bags would be plenty to keep me busy. Nope. Saturday morning as I was sitting with my crochet it suddenly hit me that I could probably modify the pattern to be tall enough to fit a six pack of beer bottles. Not only that, but I could personalize it for Jay by cutting a piece of New England Patriots quilting cotton fabric to cover the front panel. I ran the numbers, I used my slide rule, and then I double checked on my scientific calculator. Yep, I was pretty sure it would work.
I cut out my pieces and started sewing with the 403A.
I managed to get most of it sewn together by Saturday evening. I decided to finish it up after I detailed Jay’s car on Sunday. It was very hot and humid, so I also showered and napped, too.
After my nap I sat down to sew. I figured it should only take me a few hours. Then the machine started to irritate me (which really wasn’t difficult that day). I couldn’t get it to sew at a slow pace! I would slowly press on the pedal, but instead of the usual motor engagement and then needle movement it would just suddenly take off on me. This is not good if you’re traying to manhandle a large piece of insulated cooler, plus keep your fabric edges together. After several tries I turned everything off and walked away.
Jay happened to be coming upstairs and he saw my irritated face. “Uh-oh,” he said. When he asked what happened I told him that my machine was being stupid. One of the many great things about Jay, though, is he KNOWS electric motors. Actually, he knows a lot of stuff, but he really understands motors. I told him what was happening and he said it wasn’t the motor, it was the pedal. I demonstrated it for him so that he could see what was happening and then we took the pedal down to his workshop so that he could open it up.
The Singer 403A is a mechanical machine. There aren’t any circuit boards on it so I didn’t really know what to expect when he opened up the pedal. I definitely was not expecting what I saw.
I spent four years looking at drawings of all different kinds of electronics, but I’d never seen anything like this little item. I had no idea what I was even looking at, but Jay started removing screws and taking it apart. I don’t have any pictures of that because I was so irritated. I only took these pictures after he had reassembled it (without any extra parts).
Keep in mind that prior to opening this pedal up there wasn’t any research done at all. Jay didn’t go to the computer and do any troubleshooting. His technique is to take a look and see if he can figure it out. I thought that this was stumping him a little at first.
When he managed to get the big white square out of the frame he tipped it and all of these round black wafers came out one end of a tunnel that was in this block. Jay looked at it for a second and then started laughing. I had no idea what was so funny. I was still trying to figure out how it worked.
See that long yellow lever at the top of the white block? When you press down on the pedal it pulls the strip of metal on the left toward the block. Let’s take a look at this from another angle.
See the silver protuberance under the strip of metal? That sits on top of the pile of discs that fell out of the block when Jay tilted it. Do you know how it works just by that description? Jay had to explain it to me. This pedal allows variable speed, but it does it by using those carbon discs as conductors. As the metal piece touches and then begins to compress the discs they are able to better conduct the electrons, which is what determines the speed. If the discs have more space between them then the electrons aren’t conducted as easily and it creates a slow speed.
This is the point where I tell you how lucky I am to have a husband like Jay. Looking at the discs he realized that two of them really weren’t in good shape. That’s what was causing the pedal to have to move farther to get any kind of decent contact, but by then the discs would be compressed so that’s why I couldn’t get it to sew slowly. Jay found some bar stock that he machined down to the right size and inserted them among the discs. Voila! My machine was fixed. He did suggest that this is just a temporary fix and we really should get a new pedal for my machine. It is on order, but in the meantime….
I finished the beer cooler!
I had quite a few difficulties with this, so I don’t think it turned out great. Jay is very happy with it, though.
The original lunch bag size is big enough to allow a six pack to be slid into it, but it just wasn’t tall enough to accommodate the bottles. Adding a few inches made this possible.
I put one of my labels on it. Poor Jay now has a beer cooler with a cat on it. lol
This turned out okay, especially since I remembered to install the zipper going in the right direction. Jay is happy with it, so that’s all that matters. I am happy because I am able to go slow with my machine. Now, back to the 24 lunch bags…