I’ve been sewing forever…well maybe not THAT long, but long enough to know what’s good and what’s not. I finally got a nice sewing table that allows my machine to be level with the sewing surface. It may not seem like such a big deal, but after you try it, believe me, you’ll like it. For the past 30 plus years I’ve been sewing with my machine on top of the sewing cabinet. I had no idea how much effort that required until I quilted a full sized quilt this way. It’s all uphill. Three inches doesn’t seem like much until you try to push a quilt over that hump, to many times to count.
I started sewing when I was in junior high school. My mother taught me using her old Singer sewing machine mounted in the sewing machine cabinet that came with her machine. My mom started me off making Barbie clothes, thinking there would be very little waste if I turned out to be a quitter. Big mistake. Even those tight little sleeves that got stuck whenever I turned them inside out were easier to sew on a machine that had a flush sewing surface. Little did I know at the time though.
A few short years after I got married, I invested in a brand new Singer sewing machine. It had all kinds of fancy stitches and it was portable! Not that I went anywhere with my machine, other than on and off the dining table that we used every night for dinner. Yes, my afternoons of sewing had to be cleaned up in time for dinner. Which cut into my productive time immensely. Later I moved my sewing into the guest room and sufficient to say, got cleaned up only when we had overnight guests or I was finished with a project…whichever came first. This was the first improvement in my sewing accommodations, but not perfect by any means.
This year, after so many decades of sewing I finally claimed a bedroom of the house as my sewing room. The first order of business was a new sewing table that would give me a flush mounted machine. I went online and started looking for the perfect sewing cabinet until I got sticker shock. Holy guacamole, have you seen the prices on these sewing cabinets? These prices were well out of my budget, so now what?
Time to get creative, which meant doing some research. Well I found two great resources that I combined to create my ultimate sewing table. One is a blog with the supply list and step by step instructions and the other is a video that provides the missing piece, the sewing machine insert. The first, a blog, gave me the basics that I could provide my husband and a woodworking friend an overview of what I was trying to accomplish. How to convert an IKEA dining table into a sewing table. Here’s the gameplan… er, I mean the blog post that got me started. DIY IKEA Sewing Table Tutorial. I needed a little help from my friends…so I printed it out for them. In the meantime I ordered the sewing machine insert that would be explained in the second half of this video, Designing a Sewing Studio, from Eleanor Burns. The first half of the video is how to build a design wall (in case you’re interested).
The table I purchased from IKEA and had it shipped, total with tax and shipping was right around $100 total. If you have an IKEA near you, you can save about $30 on shipping. If you want to recycle a table, make sure the table has an apron underneath so you can mount the supports. Here’s a link to the IKEA table that I purchased for this project.
The first step after ordering the table and the sewing machine insert (specific for my machine) from Sew Steady was to have the hole cut and routed out. The routing provides a lip for the plastic insert to rest on when inserted into the table. I took the table, the insert and my machine to my girlfriend’s husband’s woodworking shop so he could get the right sized hole cut and routed out.
Then two blocks underneath supports the platform that the machine will ultimately sit on. Having your sewing machine at the woodworking shop will insure the right measurement on how deep the platform needs to be for a flush mounted machine.
This project took a little longer than expected, since I had a trip to the hospital that lasted for two surgeries and three weeks. I painted the bottom half of the table with a high gloss white paint. My husband convinced me to keep the top of the table in a natural color, so it got a high gloss poly coat to protect the surface. I had finished the painting of the bottom of the table when I got sick. The top was finished a couple of months later, just in time to move in and start sewing for the holidays.
This year the Christmas gifts will be birthday gifts or whatever occasion comes up next. The health issues put everything on hold for a lot longer than anticipated. But I have a smile on my face when creating these and other gifts from the heart.