Sewing Tables

dee_can1January 21, 2010

I'm thinking about buying a sewing table, but wow, they can be expensive. Right now I'm using the dining room table, which I'm sure a lot of you do as well. I'm curious what you all use for a sewing table. Photos would be appreciated, too, if you'd like. : ) Thanks!

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I have a sewing table that I got at a garage sale for $8.00 (with a machine which I gave away) but I usually use a heavy metal table (about 48" x 36") that I also bought at a garage sale for $5.00. I like the table. Very sturdy and the legs can be removed if you move it to a different location. Lynn

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 8:37AM
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Yup, Dining room table. It can be back-breaking to bend over so long when you're cutting a lot. When I worked in the high school library, I'd take my stuff to the library and cut on the tops of the reference stacks after school. Perfect height for the job.

I wonder if cutting tables are higher than regular height. I'd just as soon use the dining room table if a cutting table isn't any higher.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 10:27AM
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I use my sewing table I bought years ago when I started sewing. It went through a couple of machines. My sewing machine was screwed to the drop down shelf and used to just hang there. Then a few years ago I bought a computerized machine. They can't just hang or be screwed into the shelf. I could still use the cabinet but I missed the ease of just lifting my machine a foot or so and snapping it in to place and I found it awkward to store the machine.

Well after much thought I hit on the perfect--for me--solution. I had a storage box sewing bench made at our local seniors workshop. It is a rectangular bench on casters so it rolls. In side it has 3- 14 x 9 inch storage boxes 7 inches down and they rest on 2- 1 inch cleats. 2 of the boxes are almost 2 inches deep and 1 is almost 4 inches deep. I got them at Walmarts fishing section. These boxes hold thread, bias tape, zippers, elastic and almost everything I need for sewing. Under the boxes is a good deep cavity for storing material, interfacing and lining.

My cushion for the bench sits on top of the boxes and it closes on a piano hinge. When I'm finished sewing I can pack everything away in the bench, lift my machine onto the top leaf drop the shelf then push the bench under the cabinet and drop my machine through the hole, a few inches, on to the top of the bench and close it up.

I just got my bench but I think it is going to work wonderfully well. Total cost for it was $130 and that's only because I insisted they take more for their labour.

I was turned off buying one of those air lift cabinets. They are cheaply made with manufactured lumber and not worth the price in my opinion.

They still sell cabinets somewhat like mine.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 12:44PM
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I use the table I bought back in the 80s along with my Singer machine. The machine I have now fits in it, but just barely. If I didn't have it, I would be looking for an old/used one(with or without a machine)at thrift stores, garage sales, etc. I like having the sewing area flush around the machine.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 12:44PM
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Would like to suggest whatever you decide to get make sure it is a sturdy work surface, whether it is a regular sewing table, desk etc. Doesnt have to cost a mint.
When operating your machines, embroidery, sewing, sergers if the surface is not solid it could throw them out of time.
Those folding tables with the polyethylene tops are not a good choice. My dealer says he makes a great deal of repairs by those who use them.
I have a Koalo Outback, but it was given to me by my aunt.
It is very nice but expensive, IMHO not worth the price.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 1:37PM
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Are you asking about a table for cutting or something for your machine to sit on?
I currently use two 6' banquet tables with risers (like they use for beds). It's not quite high enough, but it's all I have room for now. When I had a seperate studio I had a 6' x 8' table that was waist high perfect for cutting.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 4:46PM
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For my machines i have a very heavy old office desk that i got at the Goodwill for 35.00.For my cutting table,it's an 8' conference table from office depot.Dh put risers on it for me.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 5:56PM
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Interesting ideas - thank you! I was thinking about having something built, and then I was thinking about ordering the Kenmore sewing machine table from Sears, and then I was thinking about maybe ordering one of the (less expensive) desks and converting it into a sewing machine table.

Yes, msmarion, I actually meant sewing machine table, which I later thought that I should have specified. But, then again, I would need a table for cutting. Which makes me think the dining room table set up is working... But, I would like to have a machine table where I could do my sewing in a room other than the dining room.

I'll put in some links for what I'm looking at so far (I don't know how to put in a hyperlink in the body of a message at this forum, however):

I don't know if this sewing machine table is big enough - but it's kind of cute:

Hmmm... but like with the sewing machine table above, there isn't any cutting space:

Now this looks like a neat setup where I could put the sewing machine on the smaller end, and maybe have an area for cutting on the other part. But, I'm not sure if it would be sturdy enough, and it's glass:

Then again, I could always look at the surplus store where I got an old desk for my computer desk a long time ago...

Then again, I could stay in the dining room. lol

    Bookmark   January 21, 2010 at 7:40PM
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There is no sewing cabinet that is ideal for cutting. A cutting table is higher than a sewing cabinet so you don't have to bend over to cut. Cutting on a sewing cabinet would be more awkward than using your dining table to cut. The nice thing about a sewing cabinet is that your machine sits lower than it does when sitting on a table, so it is easier to use and you can leave things set up when you leave it for the day.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 5:50AM
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I think I've gotten used to cutting and sewing at the same level on the dining room table. But, I definitely wouldn't want to cut at a lower level than I'm doing now at the dining room table. It seems to be a good height.

Thanks for the info, oilpainter. It'll help me decide.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 11:40AM
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I have my machine & serger on an old office desk, they are at chair height so its easy to sit and sew.

My cutting table is an old dining table that I put carpet padding on then covered with 60" canvas. After the canvas went on, I steamed it like crazy & the canvas shrunk to fit, tight as a drum. I can cut large pattern pieces on it, pin into it, and press on it. I'm tall, so I had DH build a base to raise it up. I love it, and it was cheap. I've heard of other people using thrift store blankets as the padding and any variety of flat surface for the table itself (old door, plywood, etc), it could even be portable then, just lay over another table, bookshelves, etc.

The only thing I've never gotten around to doing is marking some lines on it with a Sharpie so I have some nice straight square lines to work off of occasionally. Maybe I'll get to it one of these days.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 12:48PM
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That sounds like a great idea. I've never heard of a surface like that for a cutting table, but it sounds perfect since you can do practically everything in one spot. Hmm...

    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 4:34PM
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I have computer desks for my sewing machines. They work out well. For cutting, I bought a nice dining room table at a garage sale, works out really well too.


    Bookmark   January 22, 2010 at 6:18PM
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Another idea for a machine table is a length of formica counter top set on top 2 two drawer file cabinets. Mine is 6' long DH built, out of wood, a lip on the back and sides so tools don't fall off but fabric easily flows and can fall to the floor, if needed, while sewing. He also built a frame underneath so it won't slide off the file cabinets. The drawers are great for pattern storage etc.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 7:07AM
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I'm thinking a DH might come in handy... ; ) You guys must have rooms (large spaces) dedicated to sewing to be able to have large cutting tables like you do.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 8:01AM
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I'm in a small apartment. My cutting 'table' is a 2'x 4' piece of 1/4" sanded plywood, which I lay on top of my ironing board and keep behind the bedroom door when not in use.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 1:16PM
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Before we moved to FL I had a HUGE studio. Now I have 1/2 of a small that I share with the computer table. I set my cutting tables up in the living room. When I first started sewing all my cutting was done on the floor. Not going there now. I might not get up! LOL

    Bookmark   January 23, 2010 at 8:18PM
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I could have sworn I just replied to this topic (but my response is missing...) noinwi, I think that's a great idea. Shows you don't need that much space. : )

lol msmarion, I don't think I'd be able to do my cutting on the floor, either, so don't feel bad. : D

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 9:34AM
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This is a post that is "good reading". It is interesting to see how we need to compromise sometimes in our ideas. One bad experience that I had, however. I wanted to cut a small article and thought I would just use the top of my bed. To my dismay, when I had finished, I found that I had cut the top of my new bedspread along with the pattern. Needless to say, I'll never do that again. - Barb

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 8:16PM
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Hi dee_can ........a fellow Canadian
I can't seem to send you an e-mail on your page.
Would you send me an e-mail so I can answer your question.
My e-mail addy is on my page.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 10:55PM
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I used to sew on a small wooden table my dad shortened for me. It was low enough that the machine bed was at the right height for no bending.

Cutting? That should be high enough so you don't have to bend over. I use the dining table when possible, and the thought of putting it on risers is tempting.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 10:58AM
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Barb, om(goodness) : O I did something similar - but not quite so drastic : ( The other day I cut out some pattern pieces and was thinking at the time how 'tough' the material seemed to be. Turns out I was cutting it over (and into) the other pieces I had already cut.

Dolly, I didn't realize I hadn't allowed emails, so I updated my page. So, feel free to send me an email. : )

lazyg ; ) I have to admit I was wondering why sewing tables seem to be lower in height. Your chair must be lower, too, then? I have noticed I'm hunching over a bit more lately since I took up sewing. Maybe a sewing table will help with that.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 7:34PM
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dee can:

Sewing tables are not at a lower height than your table. Both are roughly 30 inches. What is different about a sewing table is that your machine sits lower, inside the sewing table.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 8:23PM
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Oh... *blush* I'm learning so much from you guys - thanks oilpainter.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 7:38PM
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A good option for a cutting table in small spaces is an old drop leaf or gateleg table. With the leaves down, they don't take up much room at all. You can get one cheap at garage sales, flea markets, craig's list, etc, since for a cutting table, you don't care what the finish looks like.

You can put castors on the legs to make it higher and easier to move around. If you're like me, though, consider locking castors. I tend to lean. Adds a whole new meaning to the phrase 'running with scissors'.

Also, with the leaves down, there's 18 cubic feet or more of hidden storage under there. One of those plastic rolling drawer units, sewing machine, cutting matt, all kinds of stuff could live there, ready and waiting for action.

Just remember, if you put your sewing machine on a drop leaf table, put it on the center (main) section only. Most types of leaf support mechanisms won't take the weight of a sewing machine. A gateleg table will, since it has that swing out leg.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 8:42AM
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If you MUST cut on your bed or dining room table, you need a
Dritz Superboard. I've used one for years on top of the dining room table.

Joann Fabrics also has one (different brand).

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 6:50PM
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My sewing machine is on a very old, very sturdy formica-topped student desk/table (20" x 48"). My brother bought it for me at a yard sale many years ago. :)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2010 at 7:01PM
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I use this old antique for the actual sewing machine.

I cut out fabric on the dinningroom table, 90" long & use a cardboard, fold-up, cutting board to lay on top.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2010 at 1:19PM
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My wife just uses one of our event tables from Mity Lite. It's super easy to move around due to it's lightweight and is very durable too. She just throws a nice table cloth on it and it's good to go.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lightweight Tables

    Bookmark   August 8, 2013 at 12:48PM
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I have found this out about sewing tables. When you use the decorative or zig-zag stitches your table needs to be very sturdy. A light-weight table may vibrate badly when you sew. I would be careful if you use a computerized machine. Servicing can be very expensive. I bought a 12 ft. run of formica countertop from the thrift store. I had my sons mount it on 3 double base cabinets, leaving a gap about midway so I can push my chair up close to sew. I like the easy clean-up surface. Since this counter came from an office it has pre-cut holes for computer hook ups. This worked out great for my overhead lights and additional machines. I used one of those computer multi hook up bases (not sure what you call them) It has 6 outlet plug-ins on it, I have all my lights and machines plugged into them. Whenever I want to "close up shop" I just hit the master switch and everything goes off at once. I enjoy all the feedback on here. It's nice to see how everyone works out their issues so it works well for them.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 10:36PM
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