I don’t have the room or the money for a huge expensive sewing cabinet, and being the innovative person that I am, I created my own design for a sewing table and because I work hard at my craft, I call it my Quilting Desk.
I started with 2 relatively inexpensive height adjustable folding tables from SAM’S Club (MODEL #4435) that measure 2′ wide x 4′ long, some rigid foam insulation and clear vinyl – 54″ wide and on a roll, in the fabric section of WalMart (JoAnn’s probably has it too) $2-3 per yard. I use 2 tables because I quilt large quilts and I cannot have any drag on the fabrics as I am quilting them – I need a perfectly flat surface for several feet, all around the sewing machine.
After setting the height of the tables to just clear the tops of my thighs as I sit in my most comfortable chair at the table, I put my sewing machine on the table top and measured the height from the top of the table to the top of the stitch plate. It measured at 3½” and I purchased 2 pieces of rigid foam insulation – 1 piece of 2″ thick x 8′ long x 2′ wide and 1 piece 0f 1½” thick x 8′ long x 2′ wide.
I cut the length of each piece in half, to make 4′ sections, and then lay each 2″ x 4′ onto each table, then put the 1½” x 4′ sections on top. Then I made the cut out for the sewing machine to fit in. I set the sewing machine on top of the foam insulation and positioned it as far away from me as I could comfortably sew and quilt. I like a lot of support space in front of the needle, to support a heavy quilt as I am quilting it.
I used a pen to mark a space around the sewing machine and set the machine aside. Using a serrated knife to cut the foam, I cut out the space for the sewing machine from both layers of foam. I started with a cut to just fit the sewing machine, but then went back and made it bigger because I wanted space to access the front loading bobbin area easily. I then made 1 straight cut through the top layer of foam only, to create even easier access to the bobbin. When I need to change bobbins, I just slid this piece out a few inches, giving my hand access to the bobbin area.
Lastly, I lay the clear vinyl over the top of the foam and around the sewing machine. This vinyl is so slick that everything including heavy quilts just glides right over it – sweeter than sweet! I put it in place and then cut out an area just larger than the feed dogs, and taped all 4 sides of the cut opening to the sewing machine. Because I have bad eyes and am a poor ¼” seamstress, I put a strip of black electrical tape (you can use masking tape or anything else you want) to mark the ¼” edge for quilting.
For inspiration and for fun, I slide photos, magazine pages and quilt patterns under the clear vinyl so that I don’t always have to look at the blue foam. In the photo you can see that I also use the table top for my pressing surface (try not to notice how dirty my pressing pad is!).
In about an hour I had a custom Quilting Desk that is completely portable and stores easily. The tables have folding legs and they can fit in a closet and so can the blue foam insulation.
This video shows the basics …
This video shows how I convert the set up to support big quilts for machine quilting …..
Here are a few more notes and a mistake I made:
There are other posts on my blog here about other quilters who have used these tutes to create their own tables or even make adaptations that worked for them, posted under “The Frugal Quilter” catagory.