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Thread: sewing machine height and chair height

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2018
    Central Illinois

    sewing machine height and chair height

    There might already be a thread on this. Is there a recommended height difference between sewing surface and chair height? I imagine a long torso person wouldn't mind a higher sewing level or lower chair, and a short torso person might want them closer together, but what is the average? I feel the set up I have now is too high and I need a lower table or a higher chair.

  2. #2
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    I like to have my table low enough so that I am not reaching up when I'm quilting---- elbows bent at about 90 degree angle so that I don't raise my shoulders up. You may need to raise your chair a bit to make that work. If raising your chair to the right height causes posture problems-- then you might want to look into a saddle stool-- that's what I use and I find it much more comfortable than a regular chair.

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  3. #3
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    SamMcClintick ... you have the right idea, that it is different according to the person!
    Sometimes one needs to raise the table/machine height to make it work.
    A small rise under the legs of the table can do the job.
    Likewise, you may need to raise/lower your chair accordingly.

    Generally, the ergonomics are ....
    Feet flat on floor
    Knees bent at 90
    Hips 90
    Arms flat on sewing machine table top with elbows bent 90
    Shoulders resting easily, not hunched up, or dropping down.

    Of course, these are generalities.
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Victorian Sweatshop Forum
    I use rolling office chairs in my sewing room. I'm short, 5'2", my sewing tables/cabinets are not all the same height, with the office chairs I can raise or lower the seat so I'm comfortable at all of them.


  5. #5
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2017
    Central Ohio
    I had an old trestle table that was perfect for my Juki so I can FMQ. The problem though, was that it was too high so my husband cut off the legs a few inches. Now it's perfect.
    I have office chairs for both machines that are adjustable.

  6. #6
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    May 2008
    my sewing tables are lower/shorter than "standard" desk or table height. i can "adapt" to the higher heights, but i do not like them.

    i think each person has to find the distance/ ratio that works for him/ her.

  7. #7
    Senior Member janjanq's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Grass Lake, MI and Bradenton, FL
    Blog Entries
    My problem with table height is that it I raise my chair to be at a comfortable height to the sewing machine, I can't reach the floor or the foot pedal! My husband made a platform for the foot pedal, but now I can't get my knees under the desk due to a center drawer. I'm 4' 10" . Next summer we're going to remodel my sewing room and build a custom height table.

  8. #8
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Near Seattle, WA
    I'm a big believer in ergonomics, had to be as a production typist back in the day. QuiltE is correct with the basics. I have a long torso and short little arms and legs, not as bad as the alligator in the Geico ad but close enough For me the typing trays on most office desks are too low, table height is the correct height for me.

    However, I am too used to my machine being on top of a table rather than set in at the correct height in a sewing table. I just feel awkward at that level. I could probably get used to it and maybe enjoy it in time, but so far I am content with a standard height table. I have started looking for a good table at a good deal on Craig's List, but I'm cheap and I might have to be looking for quite awhile.

    I do have an adjustable office chair for my sewing room. Even if I am reaching up a bit with my short little arms, my feet/legs are correct, my foot pedal is at easy reach.

    Another thing to keep in mind is to change your position every half hour or so. For me while quilting that means that I will sew for about half an hour, then I get up and walk to my ironing board and iron while standing for a bit. I actually move my ironing board out of my sewing room and into the living room just for a bit more change/movement. But there is that big part of me that just loves to stay sitting in my chair with my desk behind me, my sewing table in front of me and my ironing board lowered to sitting position...

  9. #9
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Blog Entries
    Those of us who are older probably remember typing class in school. The rule was to have your arms straight forward (a 90 degree bend at elbow). This allowed for the longest period of time without discomfort. I just used this as a guide. I have sewn at classes or retreats at different table set-ups and find that if I don't use this plan, I do get tired faster and my back tends to feel the discomfort.

  10. #10
    Super Member cashs_mom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Houston, TX
    Like Cari, I have an adjustable steno chair which works with all my tables as they are not all the same height. I bought a SewEzi table this fall and I really like it for FMQ. I did FMQ on a fairly large (65 x 90+) quilt on it. With the exercises my chiro gave me, breaks every 1/2 hour or so and this table, I was able to do the whole thing without fatigue. I'm sold on it. I even talked my husband into buying me the extension table that goes with it for Christmas!
    Patrice S

    Bernina Artista 180, Singer 301a, Featherweight Centennial, Rocketeer, Juki 2200 QVP Mini, White 1964 Featherweight

  11. #11
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    dayton OH
    i saw this at a quilt show recently and i can't wait to get one. I tried sewing on it and was amazed at how comfortable it was - and how my bifocals adjusted so well. Truth is one can also put a couple magazines or something else under the back side to raise that up.


    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  12. #12
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Horse Country, FL
    Blog Entries
    There is a thread from long ago on this. It had a whole article that related to how the person's height determined the height of the table and chair. If I remember correctly it was from a government document.
    I have a table that is lower than and when I sew I don't have to stretch to see where the needle is going. My Dad created it. That wouldn't be everyone's answer, but it works for me.
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

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