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Thread: Sewing table size - Pros and Cons & Configuration

  1. #1
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Hi Everyone,

    I'm struggling to come up with the right size sewing table (on the cheap) and/or configuration for two smaller tables - in a smallish sewing room that's about 10 x 11. I have two sewing tables in here now, one is only 19.5" wide, the other 29.5" wide. I've tried using these tables each on a wall and butted up to each other so as to enlarge my table surface.

    I would like to be able to have at least two sewing machines set up at all times for several reasons. I also have a 2 x 4' cutting table set up as well as my computer desk and 4 bookcases in this room, so space is somewhat limited. I use an over the door ironing board to save space.

    Do you find that you can comfortably sew/quilt on the narrower width tables okay, or should I stick to leaving the tables butted together which leaves me much less room to walk around? It looks/feels cluttered this way, but gives me the larger space to spread out should I need to. Do I really need that space? I hear of folks putting out large quilts on teeny tiny sewing tables if need be - is it really that simple? Often, more table space just translates into more clutter space. Please help! I'd love to know what works for all of you out there. Thanks so much!

    Happy quilting,

  2. #2
    Moderator Up North's Avatar
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    Your room is HUGE compared to mine 8x9' my sewing table is 20x48" I find it works for most things I do. Sometimes I get frustrated but for the most part it works, We do what we have to so I say whatever works for you. And yes table space is clutter space, at least for me. Everything ends up in my little space so I always am clearing off!!LOL

  3. #3
    Senior Member Rachel's Avatar
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    I have a seweasy table. It wasn't cheap, but I really like it. It travels well and folds up for easy storage. They're $250, but I sold a quilt and used some of the profits to purchase it. I'm so glad I did, its perfect for retreats or just to use in my sewing room. I love it.

  4. #4
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    My first table was an old oak dining room table which I loved, but it fell apart. Then I went to two of those 4' white folding tables, which worked pretty good! Then I seen a 'craft table' on freecycle, which we ran up and got. It turned out to be half a pingpong table! lol!! I love the space, although I only actually sit at one end, but have my little tv on the kittycorner from me, and can have my material spread out. Stuff does accumulate, and it takes up almost half my room!

    Sometimes I think about going back to my two 4' tables, just because the room was much more calming to be in, and I had more room to walk around. But the kitties always loved being on it too, which cut down on my space.

    My dream table is a big old rectangular dining table!! And I keep looking on Craig's List, freecycle, etc for one. I think my room might be 12x12?

  5. #5
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with me. :) I agree, we work with what we have, so I'm planning on making what I have work - some way!

  6. #6
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Hi Rachael,

    Do you use this table at home to make your quilts on, or is it just for taking to classes, etc.?

  7. #7
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MollieSue
    Sometimes I think about going back to my two 4' tables, just because the room was much more calming to be in, and I had more room to walk around.
    Wow, you really hit the nail on the head! You said the "room was much more calming to be in.." That's IT, that's probably my biggest problem here. It so amazes me just how we ARE affected by our surroundings, by clutter, by things not being ergonomically friendly, too. By now, my DH and a few friends probably think I'm nuts because I keep moving these little tables around trying to achieve some "balance" - some calm, something that'll work for me. Gosh, is that so much to ask for? LOL

    Hmm, well, I'll continue to weigh in all the responses and see if I can put together a "feel good" sewing room. :) Thanks so much!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Rachel's Avatar
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    I don't use it all the time at home, but I have used it when I want to sew in front of the tv (I don't have a tv in my sewing room yet). I do take it to retreats every time. I have never tried to quilt on it, I think there would be a lot of drag, but its excellent to piece on. I expecially like it when I'm chain piecing because gravity pulls the chain over the edge instead of piling up behind my pressure foot. You can also get a separate insert (I think they're $40) to make it a light table instead of holding your sewing machine.

  9. #9
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    My DB and I are kicking around an idea for a drop leaf table...
    Half will be a regular table with an almost equally sized half that drops down out of the way when I don't need it. I want my sewing room more open until I am ready to need the additional sewing surface. I am thinking about putting countertopping on it, the surface would be nice and slick for moving a quilt around on.

  10. #10
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    [quote=MollieSue]
    But the kitties always loved being on it too, which cut down on my space.quote]
    My table is about 36x60 which allows me to use ready made mats. However as Mollie Sue said, kitties do cut down on the size. My cats, Reggie (17 1/2lbs) and Emmy (14lbs) get on it at the same time and try to lay in the center when I'm trying to cut. They do not like it when I make them move to the off side tables. The are so good at anchoring down my fabric!

  11. #11
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    Sorry I'm still trying how to do the quote thingy.

  12. #12
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    I also have a tiny sewing room(9x15) but I still have room for a small office desk. Of course, not all of my stash is in this room.LOL

  13. #13
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    My DB and I are kicking around an idea for a drop leaf table...
    Half will be a regular table with an almost equally sized half that drops down out of the way when I don't need it. I want my sewing room more open until I am ready to need the additional sewing surface. I am thinking about putting countertopping on it, the surface would be nice and slick for moving a quilt around on.
    Hmm, your idea is intriguing. Thanks for replying. I too, would like the option of having more room as needed, but pretty much want two machines set up at one time. Would your counter top be large enough to cover the whole table when it's opened up? Or, just how do you plan to do this? Will you be sinking your sewing machine into the table? Do take height into consideration; be careful not to end up with something too tall for you - unless you want to use a stool. I'm halfway thinking about using counter top as a table, that's one reason I'm asking folks about their experiences with narrower tables. I suppose we might find a wider chunk of it, tho. We'd get it at a resale place if we use any at all.

  14. #14
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pocoellie
    I also have a tiny sewing room(9x15) but I still have room for a small office desk. Of course, not all of my stash is in this room.LOL
    What size sewing table are you using?

    Guess I'll fess up now; some of my stash is out in the attached garage - in my sewing room "annex". I keep my batting out there, too.

  15. #15
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olivia's Gramy
    My table is about 36x60 which allows me to use ready made mats. However as Mollie Sue said, kitties do cut down on the size. My cats, Reggie (17 1/2lbs) and Emmy (14lbs) get on it at the same time and try to lay in the center when I'm trying to cut. They do not like it when I make them move to the off side tables. The are so good at anchoring down my fabric!
    Oh WOW, you definitely have some competition for your sewing space, don't you? :lol: I don't have that concern, but find many other inanimate objects vying for my space. Funny how that is, huh? :roll:

  16. #16
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    My desk is 30" x 60" (2.5 ft x 5 ft.), my cutting table is 5 ft. x 7.5 ft.

  17. #17
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pocoellie
    My desk is 30" x 60" (2.5 ft x 5 ft.), my cutting table is 5 ft. x 7.5 ft.
    Nice size for sewing and cutting! Thanks for sharing. :)

  18. #18
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quiltgranny
    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    My DB and I are kicking around an idea for a drop leaf table...
    Half will be a regular table with an almost equally sized half that drops down out of the way when I don't need it. I want my sewing room more open until I am ready to need the additional sewing surface. I am thinking about putting countertopping on it, the surface would be nice and slick for moving a quilt around on.
    Hmm, your idea is intriguing. Thanks for replying. I too, would like the option of having more room as needed, but pretty much want two machines set up at one time. Would your counter top be large enough to cover the whole table when it's opened up? Or, just how do you plan to do this? Will you be sinking your sewing machine into the table? Do take height into consideration; be careful not to end up with something too tall for you - unless you want to use a stool. I'm halfway thinking about using counter top as a table, that's one reason I'm asking folks about their experiences with narrower tables. I suppose we might find a wider chunk of it, tho. We'd get it at a resale place if we use any at all.
    We are tossing around the idea of making the table out of pressed board, and applying the counter top to it ourselves. That way we can make it the size I want...as soon as I figure out what that is :roll: :lol: I want atleast one sewing machine sunk down at the table's level and DB said that he can make two or more inserts to go around my machines so that I can put any of them into the inset. He and I will make the tables to "my" height specifications, too. I thought about salvedged cupboard bases, but I would have to set them up off of the floor, so that my feet could get underneath them and I could stand right up/leaning onto the counter...that leaning over kills my back.

  19. #19
    Super Member Quiltgranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amma
    We are tossing around the idea of making the table out of pressed board, and applying the counter top to it ourselves. That way we can make it the size I want...as soon as I figure out what that is :roll: :lol: I want atleast one sewing machine sunk down at the table's level and DB said that he can make two or more inserts to go around my machines so that I can put any of them into the inset. He and I will make the tables to "my" height specifications, too. I thought about salvedged cupboard bases, but I would have to set them up off of the floor, so that my feet could get underneath them and I could stand right up/leaning onto the counter...that leaning over kills my back.
    I'll be interested to hear/see what you come up with. Sounds like you've got a good start on your ideas. Have you seen any pictures of what you're thinking of doing? I belong to the Yahoo Group "Your Sewing Room" and in their Pictures area there are some pretty interesting albums where folks have used countertop for their sewing tables, usually a long stretch of one on one or more walls. I'm even seeing the height come down considerably as some struggle with the height of regular sewing tables that do not adjust.

    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas with me. Good luck to you, hope you will keep us posted. :)

  20. #20
    Super Member Olivia's Grammy's Avatar
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    My sewing studio is about 20x20, but none of my stash is housed in there. It's in my smallest bedroom, which used to be my sewing room. That room is 11x12 and it is full to the brim. I keep garment fabric in the closet and the quilting fabric in clear plastic tubs stack up three to four high. I am very organized and can pretty much tell by looking what is in each tub. Oh and I also like to work with recycled wool so it's lined up against the outside wall. There are 7 tubs of wool.

  21. #21
    sdparent's Avatar
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    I use a counter bar top with bookcases to hold it up. The bookcases do double duty as they are great for fabric & notion storage. A lot of time your local building supply store will have the bar or countertops in their bargain barn and can be purchsed reasonable if you're not picky on colors. I fin they work better than a dropleaf tabe which tends to be shaky. Good luck in your search for the perfect sewing table.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Rachel's Avatar
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    I used to use a cubicle work station (corner and one long side) that was fabulous for tight spaces because I could set my sewing machine at the angle and then I had a ton of space behind the machine for the quilt. My hubby mounted it to the wall, so it didnt' move at all, was great till I wanted to move my sewing room to another area of the house and the table wouldn't fit... This will give you considerably more depth than a standard counter top. Hope this helps.

  23. #23
    Super Member Deb watkins's Avatar
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    I had been placing my machine on an older desk, open where I sat and three drawers to the left. I found as I needed to cut, I was alawys banging my knee on the drawer section. I had a 5 ft. x 2 table in the garage, brought that down and put the older desk on the other side of it. To my left, I have a 4 x 3 ft glass table top on a metal frame that I use as my 'cutting' table. To my right, I have a small table which holds my threads, accessories and such, plus has a 18 x 18 padded space for quick pressing. Since I have a swivel chair on wheels, I can turn around and press as the ironing board - put to chair height, is behind me. This whole area is probably not more than 8 x 12.

  24. #24
    Senior Member kapatt's Avatar
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    Quiltgranny, I really like having calm, balanced rooms too. I can't sew unless the distractions items are put away and just my sewing items are in front of me.
    I try to keep the room balanced but also have it convenient for my needs.

  25. #25
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    I had a HUGE kitchen table in mine and all my goodies fit at once. Of course it was a hot mess on there. Moving around the room was a challenge (due to the improper butt-to-walking space ratio lol)

    So I scaled down and got an IKEA desk top with tri-pod-like feet. It is really a table that can be angled (29x59) and .....it still holds all my stuff and it is a hot mess. As soon as I had the sewing machine on it, I realized that that table was NEVER going to be tilted. The stand are toe killers because they stick out too far and I had a damp towel on it the other day (can't remember why) and the laminate lifted.

    So I am going for plan C - another IKEA desk from the GALANT line with a solid wood top. I think it's 34x63 or thereabouts and it's legs are slightly angled. I'm hoping they won't be toe killers or knee bangers.

    Now I just have to find time and space to clean the mess and exchange.

    amma - I think your idea of a built-to-fit table is fabulous.

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