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DIY Sewing Table Plans

 Here’s my sewing table plans, made to adapt to an existing table.  This sewing table tutorial uses the IKEA INGO table as it’s base, but you can use most any table you have, or even DIY the entire table!  If you use these plans on your blog, feel free to link back or even send me an email and I’ll link to you.

sewing table plans

Given that every sewing machine is different and every table will be different, I can’t give any set dimensions, or even a concrete cut list for this plan….  But I can provide a basic list.  It’ll cost about $5-$15 in materials to convert a table, but this project can be great for using up plywood scraps.  This is a fairly simple project, that beginners can complete.  You can see my blog post here for more pictures, or scroll down for more links to other completed tables.

 

 

 

 

 

Materials
(1) 2″x2″ board , 8′ long
(1) 3/4″ thick x 8″ wide board. The length depends on your machine and you’ll need about 6″ longer than your sewing machine (6″ is generous and you may cut that down more later).  FYI Home depot sells some boards by the foot.  Scrap plywood at least 3/4″ thick would also work.
(4) 5/16″ – 24 bolts, About 4″ long (choose about the 1/2″ larger than the height from the surface of your sewing machine to the bottom)
(4) Washers, at least 3/8″ inner diameter
(4) 5/16″ – 24 Nuts (Flange Locknuts with a nylon insert would be best, so the machine vibrations don’t slowly unscrew the nuts)
1 3/4″ long Drywall/or Wood Screws
(Optional) Coarse Pocket screws
(Optional) Plastic bolt caps

A Table – If you don’t have one already, I like this cheap INGO table from IKEA.  Also, you could try building your own sewing table.  I think adapting this plan from Ana White would work excellently. (EDIT: See below for images of a sewing table made from that plan.)

Tools
Jigsaw
Handsaw
Sandpaper (course and fine grit)
Drill (with a 5/8″ Bit & 3/8″ Bit)
(Optional Pocket Hole Jig)

sewing table tutorial

1) Pencil the shape of your sewing machine on top, I would say about a 1/8″ wider than your sewing machine on all sides.  It’s personal preference how far back you put the machine, but I like to have the needle 8.5″ from the front edge.

Note:  Make sure you leave enough room to the right about to fit the support board (about 2.75″ from the edge).  Also leave enough room from the side if your cords are going to be sitting below the table.  It  might be worth cutting out a small area to the side to reach your cords from the top of the table, as you can see my friend did in the image at the bottom of this page.

2)  Before cutting the hole with a jigsaw, first drill a pilot hole on the inside of your soon-to-be hole.  Then place the jigsaw bit in the hole and start cutting from there.  Gently curve onto the line you traced and continue until you finish cutting out the hole.  Then use sandpaper to sand the edges smooth. Using sandpaper around a large dowel/pipe help smooth out the corner radius.  Test with your sewing machine to make sure it fits in and out (it should be snug, but you shouldn’t have to fight to get it out). Keep sanding with coarse paper at until you get it to size, then smooth it down with fine sandpaper.  If you accidentally cut it too wide, gluing a a craft foam strip along the edges will help keep it in place and dampen any vibrations.


sewing table tutorial

3) Cut the 2″x2″ board into two pieces, each to the distance between the supports of your table.  (You could optionally have cut them shorter and attach to the right side or top only… it all depends on your materials, table and machine.)  At this point, if your tabletop is already off, you could attach the 2″x2″s with a pocket screw to the front and back, but it’s not necessary.  Mark the 4 bolt holes  (used to support the machine) just to the inside of the width of the machine as shown in the image below.  Then drill 3/8″ through-holes at your marks and countersink with a 5/8″ inch bit, down to about 3/8″ deep.

4) Place the bolts in the countersunk holes and with the table flipped upside down, set the supports into place (if you haven’t done so already with pocket screws).  They should be within an inch of the cutout for your machine, but don’t have to be flush with it (but make sure you don’t space them wider than the length of your platform board!!).  Once positioned, screw the 2″x2″ supports to the top of the table.  The number of screws you use to attach it to the tabletop depends on the weight of the machine.  My sewing machine is solid metal and weighs 25+ lbs, so I compensated for my heavy machine and used several (5) screws fastening securely to the top.

5)  Cut the long side of the 8″ wide platform board about 1″ bigger than the distance between the bolts.  Optionally, you can also rip the short side to about the width of your sewing machine (or plan ahead and buy a narrower board in the first place) .  Sand down the edges of the platform well, as your legs (and kids) will likely be under there. Drill 3/8″ holes in the platform matching the spacing of the bolts. Remember, measure twice, cut drill once!  Then raise the platform on the bolts and secure with the washer and nuts.

6) Place your sewing machine on the platform and twist the locknuts until the machine is flush with the table top. It’s a good idea to put some duct tape or bolt caps on the bottom of the bolts if ever think your legs (or kids) will ever accidentally hit it.

The table at the top of the post is mine.  Check out more real life pictures of the underside of my table on my blog.

 

This is the table my friend made following my blog post.  It was the first time she ever used a jigsaw.  Didn’t she do a great job?

Jean, at The Quilted Cupcake  made a “happy accident” and ended up with a shelf under her table for support.  Although it’s not adjustable, the height of the sides worked great for her machine. She also drilled a hole in the front for the foot lever (…. and maybe someday I’ll get around to doing that for mine.) She also added a sheet of vinyl on the top to keep it slick- check hers out here!

This entire sewing table was DIYed by Tina using this plan.  Materials were around $125 for the whole table and it’s super roomy!

DIY sewing table

 

Marta also used the IKEA INGO table to make her sewing table.  Check out her INGO specific tutorial here and the IKEA hack here.  Lots of pictures!

Sewing Table Tutorial

44 Responses to DIY Sewing Table Plans

  1. nellie says:

    oh that is a nice looking table ,and you make it look easy to make

  2. Cheryl says:

    That is so neat have a table now I know what to do with it

    thanks

  3. Arlene Oldfield says:

    Thanks for sharing it looks so simple,but sew necessary.I just love the DIY stuff.You get to personalize it and be proud of yourself for making great things.

  4. C. says:

    Wonderful….great directions too. This sewing machine table is great…..

  5. Cassie says:

    Thanks guys! I’m hoping these plans help get others motivated. I’d love to add more pictures of other people’s completed tables on here too, so feel free to send pictures!

  6. Pam says:

    Perfect! I have this exact table — I guess Ikea’s been selling them for 30+ years because it was my desk at college (don’t start calculating to see how old I am ….. please). And I was just talking to my husband yesterday about making myself an acrylic insert for each of my machines, my plan being to inset them into THIS table. I found I can buy 1/4″ thick pieces of acrylic at Home Depot, and apparently it’s easy to cut and sand. Then, my hole will be big enough for my largest machine (and all the acrylic inserts will be the same outside size). I hope the top of the table is thick enough that I can cut a ledge for the acrylic insert. But I hadn’t figured out how to support the machine yet … so your timing is perfect! Oh, I’m so excited! And I love my Ikea table because it doesn’t vibrate like the plastic ones do when I get going really fast ;) . Thank you!
    PS. Please don’t think I’m bragging about having multiple machines – I just don’t want to wreck my sort-of good machine with the heavy duty stuff like fixing the tent that my hubby gets me to do. So I bought a cheap ‘supposedly heavy duty’ machine.

    • Cassie says:

      I actually had thought about making a removable insert as well, so I could use the same table for both my serger and regular machine. I was planning on cutting out a larger square in the table, and using two plexiglass (or wood) inserts, just like like you said. Since I don’t have a router, I was just planning on screwing a 4 small 1/4″ x 1″ boards around the outside of the square. and building up the extra 3/4″ to the inside with craft wood squares.

      However, I realized I didn’t want to have to pull out the serger everytime I wanted to make an adjustment to the bottom blade and I didn’t use it enough to justify the extra work. Anyway, I hope yours turns out great!

      • Nancy says:

        For the serger, you could use the Galant legs from Ikea and just adjust the height to were it will be comfortable.
        Then buy an extention table like from Dream World.

  7. Melissa says:

    Oh, man! I’ve been wanting to do something like this FOREVER!! You make it look so simple. If I do it, I’ll definitely link to a picture. :) Thank you!

  8. Marta S says:

    This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! Great illustrations, wonderful application, awesome! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  9. Char says:

    Thank you!! Thank you!! I’ve been wanting to do this forever but never had the guts to just go for it. This tutorial gives me the boost I need to get it done!!

  10. Marta S. says:

    This is a GREAT tutorial! Thank you! I have your exact machine (the Janome MC 6600p) –after a few months of use, have you found this setup to be sturdy and solid? Has the top of your table bowed at all from the weight of your machine? Does it shake at all when you’re sewing at the fastest speed?

    Also, in the supplies section you list 24 bolts and 24 nuts… did you mean 4 of each? I just want to make sure I’m understanding all this before I dive in, and I saw only 4 bolts used :)

    Thanks again!

    • Cassie says:

      Thanks for the compliments, Marta. I haven’t noticed any disturbing shaking, even on higher settings, and I’ve had my table for about 3 years on many different floor types. About once a year I do make sure the all the screws (legs and machine) are tightened, and other than that it’s been maintenance free. As for bowing, I haven’t seen any bowing in my table, but my table is shorter than most tables which helps with bowing, especially with a machine this heavy. I think it depends a lot on the table, but any table that can take a sewing machine sitting on top of it without bowing will do just fine with one sunk in it.

      Actually 5/16 – 24 is the bolt size. 5/16″ is the diameter of the bolt and 24 is the number of threads per inch. Most commonly there are two options for threading, corse and fine. In this case the 24 designates fine.

      Even thought I’ve been DIYing with wood for a long time, I didn’t discover these ‘thread standards’ until a few years ago. Now, that I know, I like to keep a chart on hand to help me figure out what I need to buy at the store before I head there, especially if I’m matching existing hardware. This site is a great resource for printables (I use the bolt chart the most): http://www.boltdepot.com/fastener-information/Printable-Tools/Default.aspx

      HTH! -Cassie

  11. Tina Rose says:

    Thank you for the tute! I used the link to Ana White and made that table. Awesome! And super easy, too. I made mine 8ft long and less than 2 ft wide, perfect for my space. I’d be happy to send you pics, if you’d like them. Thanks again!

  12. I just found your site. I wish we had found it in July when we were making our own sewing table hack1 Using 2×2 boards and sinking the bolts was quite a clever idea! Finding your site would have saved us so many engineering hours.

    Thanks for sharing your tutorial and nice graphics for others.

  13. Deborah McCain says:

    Thank you! This is exactly what I have been looking for. Too many of the plans (and tables) I have found were obviously designed by people who do not sew.

  14. Sondra Gingery says:

    I’m very interested in using your idea. I have a Bernina, and need to access the bobbin area, which is from the lower front. Has anyone come up with a creative way to do this without having to lift the machine each time?

    • Cassie says:

      I think the best option would be to cut a little door out in the front of the table top. After the hole is cut out, cut out a square on the tabletop in front of the bobbin area. The first option would be to create a little ledge underneath that area to support the insert when it is in place. Drill a fingerhole and you can just lift it out. I’m also thinking of another design with special hinge options, but I’ll have to think about that a little more. I’ll see if I can sketch something up to add these options to the plan.

      -Cassie

  15. Andrew says:

    1) Do you have any problems with the bolts turning when you do up the nuts?
    Would it be worth putting some epoxy/glue/auto body filler into the holes around the head of the bolt to stop it turning, as once the tabletop is back on, you have no way of accessing them.

    2) Regarding making different inserts to fill in the gap around different machines, it might be worth googling “zero clearance inserts”.
    “Zero clearance inserts” are what woodworkers use to fill in the gap in their table saws, to fit around different saw blades. A lot of the requirements are the same, and some of the ideas and techniques may be helpful.
    If you were going to do inserts, and didn’t have a router to cut the ledge for them to sit on, it would be good to do them when the sewing table top was off.
    Then, you could place the sewing table top upside down on a flat surface, with the insert in place, and add the ledge on top of the insert, guaranteeing that the insert would be flush with the top of the table when you turn it back over.

    • Cassie says:

      1) No I don’t have problems with the bolts turning. I used a locknut, which does a good job of keeping the nuts in place, and the platform steady… and if it started slipping, I’d notice the drop in machine height :)

      2) Sounds like we’re on the same page for multiple inserts. I think as long as the height of the insert matched the thickness of the tabletop, the ledge could be added at any point… As long as it was kept flush against the tabletop.

    • Jackie says:

      I am having a terrible time trying to get the nuts tightened because the bolt is turning as I turn the nut.
      Also, make sure your bolts have enough threads above the depth of your machine or you won’t be able to raise it high enough. I should have bought 3-1/2″ bolts. Now I have make another narrow shelf to put on top of the first one.

      Jackie

      • Cassie says:

        My bolt heads were ‘press-fit’ in, but I can see how that can vary depending on the bolts/holes you drill. As long as you hold the shaft of the bolt while tightening the nut on, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem. If you have helper they can hold up the platform to free up your hands, or if need be, flipping the table will help simplify the process.

        It shouldn’t be any harder than threading them together by hand, so if it really sticks check to make sure the bolts you bought were actually the size you wanted. HTH!

        -Cassie

  16. Linda says:

    I like this idea a lot, do you have any ideas on how to do this and stil access the sewing machines free arm?

  17. Debbie says:

    Great details! I have been wanting to do something like this for a long while too. I have a Babylock machine with an acrylic work area that slides around the plate. It has to be moved in order to replace the bobbin. I haven’t come up with an easy way to move that surround. Maybe just some finger holes?
    Thanks for posting your directions.

  18. Ilene Atkins says:

    Cassie,

    I did this to my sewing machine table, and followed Marta’s instructions. Mine was a smaller table, and I had a few challenges, but I got everything worked out. It’s not that difficult, and I can’t wait to get back to quilting my quilts, which should now be much much easier. Thanks for starting the whole thing. I’ve been thinking of this for years, and finally did it.

  19. sue says:

    I like the plan and I am going to tryit IF you tell me your sewing machine is an embroidery. Mine is a phaff and attaches on the back. Can I still do it..

  20. Pingback: DIY IKEA Sewing Table Tutorial | from Marta with Love

  21. Jenny merry says:

    I had been looking for a sewing table/cabinet for a while, the sewing cabinets I’d seen just didn’t fit the bill, but then I saw the ikea table ingo make over, fantastic. Went over to ikea, got the table and got started with making my sewing table. The space it will occupy is 123cm 3cm larger, so a good fit. As the alcove it sits in is’nt 75 cm deep, we cut off 30cm, made the base smaller at the sides to fit the 45 cm top and then hinged the 30 cm back on to the top. The pieces cut from the base sides have been hinged onto the back of the base, so in turn become the support for the 30cm hinged drop down leaf when pulled out. Also had to make a series of adjustments for the machines two connections, my janome sits flush with the top, but the power switch etc is in line with the table top, to allow me to access these connections, my husband added a curved cut out on the table top and cut a small section out of the 2×2 baton, this made reaching these connections very easy. Because the 2×2 baton had been cut he drilled two more holes into the table top and cut baton, these holes will house two more bolts. Wood filler will be used to fill the drilled top, the table will be then primed and painted over. Tomorow off to ikea for an office chair to sit at my sewing table. Cost of the table, paint and hardware about £52. So thanks for the inspiration I’m thrilled with the result.

  22. sammie says:

    I love your plans and I love “adapting” an item to be used in a different way. Only thing I would add would be a left side to form an L and it could be put on hinges to get it out of the way when not in use. I do lots of machine quilting on really large quilts and I need the quilt to be supported on the left side as I quilt. I use an old student’s desk I picked up at a thrift shop many years ago (20 probably) and adapted it. One side had a drawer in it and the other side was same thing but no drawer so that side was lower but no front board to restrict access to a front loader. My Bernina 1230 fit perfectly down into that side and I made an acrylic “surround” to go around the machine and under the machine’s removable table for the “free arm”. The surround is easily removable when I want to use it “free arm”. On the left, I pull the drawer out where it is supported by a rolling shelf (thrift shop) that also has my small ironing board & iron on it for when I piece blocks. There is no “front” to the right side to get in my way of accessing the front bobbin case or to restrict my knee lever for the pressure bar. I attached formica covered 2 x 4 fiberboard that I bought at Home Depot plus folding legs to hold the boards up at the far end. ( I put plastic storage units under this table). I attached the other end to the student’s desk so I would have a 4 x 4 table to receive the quilt as I quilted it. It all works very well for me though it is not a thing of beauty. I also added support legs in the middle of the desk to prevent any possible sagging due to the weight of the machine and quilts. I will share pictures but they would have to come from another address.
    Sam I am a quilter from NC.

    • Diane M. says:

      How do you make the “acrylic surround”? I am just building a table with some cool features but I haven’t figured out the acrylic part yet. What material are you using for it? Do you router into the tabletop so it fits flush? I have a machine with a small embroidery attachment arm. I’d love to cut the table top to accommodate it too, but I don’t want a big gap between the table and machine when just I’m just sew. Any suggestions/help will be appreciated.

    • Colleen says:

      Could you link to some photos? I have a Bernina too and would like to see how your table looks. I can’t quite figure it out from the description. Thanks in advance!

  23. Pingback: DIY Sewing Table | The Collective

  24. My brother recommended I might like this blog.
    He was totally right. This post actually made my day.
    You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this
    info! Thanks!

  25. James P Davis III says:

    How did you install the 2x2s ?

  26. James P Davis III says:

    How did you connect the 2x2s?

  27. Maureen says:

    I like your tutorial, drawings and photos!!
    Question: How do you access your shuttle and bobin compartment?
    I have a Bernina and mine opens on the front of the machine below the presser foot.
    Thanks ahead of time if you see this and answer!!
    Maureen

  28. Michael berger says:

    My Daughter and I used your idea and crafted a wonderful table for under $20.00. Thanks for sharing! She did all the work, making it that much more special.

    In our case we used C clamps/glue to attach the boards to the underside of the table. If you have enough C clamps it has the advantage of lowering costs – and there is no risk of screws going through the surface area.

  29. leslie says:

    Heading home with the materials now. Will link some photos. That you for the very clear tutorial.

  30. Leslie says:

    I made mine today, following your plans. It couldn’t have been easier, and I’m very pleased. I used a router for the top edge, to give it a bit of a polished look. Photos can be seen at http://theluckyfox.blogspot.com/2013/12/recessed-sewing-table.html

    It’s very cold where we live, so we will finish it in the spring, when it warms up. For now, it’s completely usable, partially finished.

    Thank you for a wonderful tutorial!

  31. Maisa says:

    I will be trying this project. This seems so easy to do and I love to do wood work and using electric tools. I’ll post when I finally get to this project. Thanks for the guide its great.

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  33. Chris says:

    Thank you for this tutorial. Tonight I successfully completed the project in about 4 hours and am thrilled with the result. I’ll pull out equal height folding tables on the left and rear sides when machine quilting.

  34. Thais says:

    Thanks you for the tutorial.

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