Spectacular Fail

Winston Churchill said, "Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm."

I like to think that I embrace that. When I fail, I don't give up. I try again. I also try not to repeat the same action over and over again, expecting different results (and no, Einstein did not say that).

My Garage Door Bug Screen required an overhaul. On Monday, after the sun spent some time heating up my garage door, that sticky back velcro I had applied lost its stick. Upon further inspection, the same thing was happening to all of the velcro I had applied around the garage door frame. 

A potential solution would be to glue it, but that seemed so permanent and irreversible. I decided to chart a different course and implement my original desire for something retractable.

The good news is that the original screen panel I made was larger than the opening of the door itself, so that meant I could adapt what I had already made into something a little different.

Taking velcro out of the equation meant finding a different way to secure the screen when it's down. Snaps were an option, but because the netting is so fine, I didn't want to wind up ruining the screen with the pressure of snapping/unsnapping over and over again. Instead, I settled on twist locks.

My family's old summer home had a screened-in porch with clear vinyl curtains that could be lowered for the winter and raised in the summer. I was often tasked with the job of lowering the curtains for winter and remembered that they had these type of twist locks, which consist of an eyelet that goes through the fabric, and the actual twist lock is mounted to the surface. Rather than snapping, you simply place the eyelet over the lock, and then twist it to secure it.


No, this will not be as "airtight" as the velcro, but dammit, this will stay in place. If a bug gets through this, then they have earned the right to bite me.

Because each of the twist locks will be screwed into the frame of the door, this means that it will be a less destructive yet semi-permanent solution. If desired, the locks can be removed, throw a little putty in the holes and repaint, and it's like they were never there.

My new mechanism consists of the twist locks spaced about 10" apart around the external trim of the door (except for the bottom). Along the top of the frame I will have a few eyelets that serve as guides for the cording that raises and lowers the screen. I considered pulleys but this is so light, pulleys really weren't warranted.

Twist locks installed along the top frame of the garage door

Twist locks installed along the top frame of the garage door

To modify my screen, I needed to sew on a new binding around the sides and top edges to provide better reinforcement for the eyelets that would be needed for the twist locks. The video I've been using to make the Bimini Top features a special guide attached to the sewing machine for the binding. For the amount of binding I was going to need to be doing for this project and the Bimini Top, I determined that a $10 investment in a special binding foot was worth it. I wanted to use the one from Sailrite but determined that it wouldn't fit on my machine, so I ordered a couple from Amazon to see which worked best. Typically binding would be cut on the bias (diagonal), but since I wasn't going to be going around curves or corners, I just cut the pieces (with my hot knife) from the fabric in straight lines.

Before sewing on the binding, I measured out the expected placement for the eyelets. I then put a pin through the marks and flipped it over and made a mark on the right side of the binding so I would be able to see it once it was sewn on. 


Turns out the binding foot was kind of a bust. The binding I used on the top and sides was 1.5" wide, which was too wide for the foot, and I was able to get a good hold on it without requiring a special foot.


Late on Friday night, I ran some test pieces through my machine (including for the bimini top binding) and wouldn't you know it, my machine was not having it. I needed a heavy duty machine to get through this fabric and binding. This project is suddenly getting more expensive...

Joann's had a Singer 4411 on sale for $129 and that felt reasonable to me, especially given that I feel like I will get my money's worth in a short time. I also watched a video review on YouTube where some dude in a NASCAR jacket used this particular machine to sew through 10 layers of canvas binding at once. The machine handled it well. I will not be going through 10 layers of canvas, so I figured it was worth a try. This bad boy moves through canvas like buttah. 

And, anytime I think the words Heavy Duty, I immediately hear Spinal Tap's Heavy (heavy) Duty (duty), rock n' roll... And then I wish I had an amp that went up to 11. Because it's one louder. Duh.

As of Saturday night, I have the screen bound on the top and sides, ready to place the eyelets. But it's after 11pm and I don't think my neighbors would enjoy me hammering in eyelets, so I'm going to hold off on that until tomorrow!