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Thread: Ideas for covering a tabletop with some sort of film?

  1. #1
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    Question Ideas for covering a tabletop with some sort of film?

    I have a new sit-down LA that comes built-in to a table, and while I'm seriously in love with the machine itself I'm not thrilled with the table top. It's the only table available for this particular machine, so getting a different table isn't in the cards.

    The top has leaves to expand the size, and I plan on keeping it expanded to it's full size (36x77) but I hate the gaps and ridges left by the leaves. The table is not manufactured very precisely, so there are gaps that tend to catch on my rulers. I've adjusted it as best I can and it still bothers me.

    I'd like to cover the entire table top with some sort of thin film that would help cover up and handle those gaps and ridges and give me one solid smooth surface. On Amazon I've been able to find automobile vinyl wrap sheets that would be big enough, but I have no idea how slippy or grippy that surface might be, and that's obviously pretty important that it be slippy. I'm also not sure I want to permanently adhere anything to the surface, in case I either don't like it or decide to sell the machine someday.

    The film has to be thin as possible - there's already a ridge around the stitch plate and I don't want to make that worse, so ideas like putting a melamine veneer on it are out. Covering up the stitch plate isn't an option either - I have to open it to oil the machine every time I use it, and that's also where the stitch regulator sensors are.

    My best idea so far is to use regular ol' contact paper - the texture would be fine and the thinness and the way it'll come off later are perfect, but I've done that before and I know it shrinks with time, leaving sticky gaps between rows and I know that'll drive me crazy. I really prefer one BIG sheet to cover the whole table top, and I can cut out a rectangle for the stitch plate.

    Anybody have any brilliant ideas for me?

    I'm tempted to have someone custom-build a whole new table for me, but that'll cost a lot more than I have to spend on this right now. It's just too bad, the machine is so brilliant and the table is just not up to the same standard.

  2. #2
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    I would look into the clear table top plastic that comes on a roll. I have a store that carries all different thicknesses for going over fabric table cloths. I would get a piece big enough to go over the whole thing and under about 3 inches and tape it under the table. You could cut a hole where you need it and maybe put painters tape around the opening so nothing catches. Some Walmarts also carry it on a roll but you could check Joann's or similar as well.

    p.s. A plastic shower curtain might work as well?

  3. #3
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
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    I purchased clear plastic from a roll at JoAnn's to cover the table cloth on my table so newsprint doesn't get dirty.

  4. #4
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    I thought about the clear vinyl but I think it's too grippy for what I need. I do ruler work on this machine, which means I'm pressing down on the ruler to keep it in place, so the surface has to be as slippy as possible to help make up for all that friction caused by downward pressure.

    I probably have enough at home I could try it for part of the table and see, but I feel like it's going to be too rubbery.

    Shower curtain might work though....I hadn't thought of that.... Some of those are pretty slick feeling...

  5. #5
    Super Member gramajo's Avatar
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    The vinyl I use on my table is pretty sticky. Nothing slides on it easily.
    Last edited by gramajo; 08-25-2017 at 12:43 PM. Reason: spelling

  6. #6
    Super Member wesing's Avatar
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    I've seen fabric that was recommended for raincoats that might work. I think Connecting Threads has carried it in the past, but I didn't find it on their website just now. Maybe I'm using the wrong search term. I think its some kind of laminate.

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    Tartan read my mind...I was going to suggest that also. You could wrap the edges and staple it underneath the table.

  8. #8
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    Would a plastic table cloth with felt backing work for you? You can get a cheap one from Dollar General or buy it by the yard at JoAnn's. Inexpensive to replace when needed also.

  9. #9
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    [QUOTE=Sewnoma;7893952]I thought about the clear vinyl but I think it's too grippy for what I need. I do ruler work on this machine, which means I'm pressing down on the ruler to keep it in place, so the surface has to be as slippy as possible to help make up for all that friction caused by downward pressure.

    I probably have enough at home I could try it for part of the table and see, but I feel like it's going to be too rubbery.

    If you have some spray furniture polish, do a test spot to see if it might make the vinyl slippery.

  10. #10
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    The clear plastic is a good idea. I use the thickest one to cover a styrofoam machine bed I had DH make so my material would glide over it easier. I also have a machine bed made from a rigid plastic sheet you can find at the home inprovement stores but you'll need to have someone cut it for you and since it will be higher than your machine you will have to either cut small pieces to put under your machine to raise it up or use cardboard to raise it up.

  11. #11
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    First of all ... should you be reporting this back to the dealer?
    Did you see the table set up before you bought?
    Was that table acceptable?
    It's a pricey machine, to have a table that is going to cause problems for you.

    Because of the size of the extended table, I am guessing that you bought the Bernina sit-down.

    There are different tables available for it ... but your dealer may not be selling them.
    The dealership near me has a beautiful table ... solid and very much like a dining room table!
    Everything is very straight and smooth, that I would not foresee the problems that you have noted.

    I would be very hesitant with any sort of a plastic film/sheeting.
    It would be too easy for it to come free as you are FMQing and then you would have a mess!
    Agree too, that contact plastic is probably not a good solution.
    Within time it does wear out, and over those humps and hollows,
    the plastic would crack/break and create roughness.

    S16 sells a thin sheet (plastic? silicone?, at first glance like arborite, but not).
    It fits over the top of your table to allow your quilt to slide, while filling in the gap where the machine is inserted in the table, with an opening at the needle area.
    You might want to inquire what it is and perhaps you could buy the same at a home-supply store.


    However, I still think you should be going back to your dealer and get them to solve the problem.
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  12. #12
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    I too have a sit-down machine. To make the table top more slippery I purchased a large silicone pad that is used for baking and used cream made for the clear machine extensions to increase the slippery factor. I would suggest that you look for silicone material that comes on a roll, in order to achieve the effect you are looking for.

  13. #13
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    Go to Lowes or Home Depot and look at their plexiglass (MS). It comes in all thickness and they can cut it to any size and design you would like.

  14. #14
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    Why not cover it with a thin sheet of Masonite, counter-sink the screws. That would give you a smooth surface.

  15. #15
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    If all else fails,use Gorilla tape to cover the gaps. I have just covered the small space between the stove and cabinet lip with Gorilla tape. I know that it will stay put and keep crumbs out of the space.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    First of all ... should you be reporting this back to the dealer?
    Did you see the table set up before you bought?
    Was that table acceptable?
    I did see this same table set up at the dealership, and it seemed fine playing with it there. I noticed the gaps but didn't think anything of it. I think it's one of those things were I just wasn't focusing on it very clearly; 90% of my attention was on the machine itself. But now that I'm living with it, I'm noticing things I didn't notice any of the times I played with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    Because of the size of the extended table, I am guessing that you bought the Bernina sit-down.

    There are different tables available for it ... but your dealer may not be selling them.
    The dealership near me has a beautiful table ... solid and very much like a dining room table!
    Everything is very straight and smooth, that I would not foresee the problems that you have noted.
    I did get the Bernina Q20 - and I have been under the impression that this is the ONLY style of table available! I know it comes in different colors/finishes, but not a single dealer I've talked to about this machine has ever indicated there were options in table style as well, and I "shopped" this machine at expos for 2 years and have probably talked to at least 5 different dealers!! But I never specifically asked, either.

    I don't suppose you know the name of the "other" table, or the model number or anything like that? Are you sure it's not the same table but without the leaves? Without the leaves there's just one seam down the middle and it's not nearly as gappy as when the leaves get added. I also can't find any reference to another type of table on any of the Bernina sites...could it be a custom build of some kind??

    A different (better) table would be the ideal solution. I like the large size of this one, but those gaps drive me a bit bonkers.

    I shopped around online all weekend and did find some "instant granite" self-adhesive "countertop" that sounds a lot like super thick contact paper, designed for budget kitchen makeovers. The reviews make it sound like it's pretty durable stuff and it's supposed to come off cleanly. And it's much wider so I could cover the entire top with just one strip. But I'm still holding out for a better solution, if I can find one.

  17. #17
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Sewnoma ... Today, I had to go to my Bernina dealer and they had the Q20 set up in a white table. All seemed to be pretty smooth where the leaves joined. Yes, there was somewhat of a gap, but no worse than I see with my dining room table. Definitely there was not a change of levels between the seams that would cause any issues with rulers being moved around. The table I referenced earlier was at a different B dealership, and in looking at the one today, I would say they were the same, just different finishes, as you suggested.

    I took a look around to see if the tables are the same as what I have seen. From the not-so-great quality pictures, I would say they are, but with some uncertainty. (Note: I am in Canada, and sometimes we get different spins on the same products)

    Here's someone who bought the Q20 back in 2015
    http://bbquiltmaker.blogspot.ca/2015...-quilting.html
    It might be worth your time to email her to see if her table has the same issues as yours.
    If so, she might have some solutions .... or if hers is smooth, then, you have something for comparison before discussing further with your dealer.

    I would be sure to exhaust all possibilities with Bernina before looking for alternatives.
    Generally, they are good with their customer service, as they know how bad news spreads.
    If you are not getting satisfaction/cooperation from your local dealer, move on up the ladder!

    Good Luck! ...
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Irishrose2's Avatar
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    My sheet of heavy vinyl sold by the yard at JoAnn's is very smooth and 'slippy.' I just use painter's tape to keep it in place. Not a very high tech solution, but it works.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by QuiltE View Post
    Definitely there was not a change of levels between the seams that would cause any issues with rulers being moved around.
    Sorry, I either misspoke or wasn't clear - what catches the ruler is the slight difference in height between the stitch plate and the table, not where the seams between leaves are. The stitch plate is recessed slightly, about 1/8" or so. That I HAVE checked and the other table at the dealer has the same build - just something I never noticed until I got mine home and tried using smaller rulers with it. Looking at the machine and the table, I don't think there's really a good way around it without changing out the top entirely. The leaves are flush, just gappy in a way that bothers me...I guess just aesthetically. I keep pulling on the leaves because they LOOK like they're not shut all the way, but they are. (I might just be a little twitchy/OCD-ish about it!) The dealer's table has gaps too, I feel like mine are gappier but could be coloring and pattern fooling my eyes. (My table is fake wood, the one at the shop is white.)

    I'm thinking maybe a contact-paper-ish covering would help make little "ramps" to help make up for that little height difference around the plate. There's enough space that I think I can stick the paper down to the machine itself around the stitch plate and still be able to remove the plate easily.

    I think I've talked myself into trying that extra-wide countertop covering stuff. It's relatively inexpensive and should come off cleanly if it doesn't work out. It's exactly as wide (deep-wise) as the table, but almost long enough to cover it twice so I can wrap the edges on two sides to secure it pretty well. (The roll is 36x144; the table is 36x77)

    Someone else suggested oilcloth too (the laminated cotton) - I think that could work too, but would be more difficult to attach since it's not self-adhesive. That might be option #2 though, if the contact paper stuff isn't tough enough to stand up to the wear & tear. I imagine the fabric backing would help make it durable.

    The clear vinyl, I think will not work. I played with some last night and it seems slippy until pressure is applied, then it gets pretty grippy, which is what I was afraid of. At least that's how the clear vinyl I have on hand behaves.

    I also found rolls of teflon on Amazon that could be another option - definitely slippery and durable! But none I found were wide enough to cover the table in one piece and it's not self-adhesive either, so I worry about sticky gaps. Maybe that's option #3 even though it's probably the best surface as far as "slip" goes.

    I feel like some day I might just have a custom top built for this table. The base is VERY sturdy (I think an elephant could dance on it) but the top just makes me twitchy. It's probably (almost certainly) just me being fussy....

    And still no buyer's remorse, by the way. It's not perfect but it's very good and the machine itself is wonderful. I'm just picky and weird about gaps.

  20. #20
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sewnoma View Post
    ....The stitch plate is recessed slightly, about 1/8" or so. That I HAVE checked and the other table at the dealer has the same build - just something I never noticed until I got mine home and tried using smaller rulers with it. Looking at the machine and the table, I don't think there's really a good way around it without changing out the top entirely. ..................
    An additional thought ..... I am wondering, could you put something under the machine to raise it that slight wee bit, to level the stitch plate to the table?

    That could be done for my S16, but I am not sure if it is do-able for your Q20, as I haven't really paid attention as to how the Q20 sits into the table.

    Don't beat yourself up over being fussy or OCD'ish, as you suggested ..... we pay a lot for these set-ups and want them to be perfect! Just like when we bought our first new cars ...........

    The important part is to get using the machine and discovering how wonderful it is.
    Perhaps bargains with yourself that you will not do any adjustments until
    you have given it all a fair chance. It could be that what you are perceiving
    as causing problems, may not be an issue, once you are more familiar with operating the machine.

    Good Luck!
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  21. #21
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    I looked at trying to raise the machine up a bit but the top has to overlap the rest of the arm and the way it's built I don't think that overlapping piece is quite thin enough - I think if the machine was any higher that part would rub/catch on the machine itself and I don't want that. I can't really tell without trying it, though, and I'm kind of hesitant to fuss with it, after seeing how much work it took two guys to get the machine properly bolted in when they delivered it. It's bolted down to the table from underneath, and I have a bad back and an artificial hip so not really easy for me to climb down under there and fuss with it. I could ask DH but he's been having back trouble lately too! (Getting old...it's not for the faint of heart!)

    I guess if my sticky countertop solution isn't working and it keeps driving me nuts, I can ask the dealer to send their "grunts" (their description!) back to try and adjust it. Or maybe I can point out the same issue on the one they have in their shop and see if they can adjust theirs.

    Fortunately, I prefer larger rulers anyway - larger rulers don't catch, it's just the little guys that are small enough to have more than one corner within that space. But it'd be nice if it were perfect. I was able to fuss with my Janome and its table and get everything precisely flush, so maybe I'm just a little bit spoiled.

    (What am I thinking...I have a Q20. I'm completely spoiled!!)

  22. #22
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sewnoma View Post
    ..............(What am I thinking...I have a Q20. I'm completely spoiled!!)
    ENJOY that spoiled feeling ..... and get using it, so you can show us the fruits of your labour!!!!!

    I have a feeling that once you get going, you will be so focused on the results,
    and the other will somewhat fade into the background.
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  23. #23
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    I've been churning out samplers and practice pieces like mad. I'm trying to practice at least every other day but it doesn't always happen since I work full time and then some. I'm also holding off on buying a lot of LA rulers because I will be going to a big quilt festival in October and I know there are a couple vendors selling them there so I'll get to check them out in person and maybe even wheedle a deal if I buy several. (Which I probably will, as I've been saving up for that and have a list of shapes I want!)

    I love, love, love ruler work. It comes out so good! Makes me feel like I know what I'm doing, LOL. My free-hand FMQ is so wobbly and awful by comparison but I can already see a little improvement, I think. Practice, practice, practice! Now what to do with all these practice sandwiches!? (Dog mats, I'm thinking...)

  24. #24
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sewnoma View Post
    I've been churning out samplers and practice pieces like mad. ................
    Yea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Now we need some show and tell!!

    Great to get some good practice in before you head to the show ..... the experience will set you up well, to talk to folks there and ask any questions you have.

    Some other ideas for your practice pieces .....
    * retirement or nursing home as placemats? or clothing protectors?
    * lap quilts for those in wheelchairs?
    * eventually put them together into a QAYG quilt?
    * make tote bags?
    * table toppers for yourself?
    * finish them off for Meals on Wheels to give to their clients at Christmas time?
    * make a pouch with pockets for your rulers?
    * quilts for NICU wards at the hospital?
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  25. #25
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    Oh, no, I think you are seriously over-estimating how attractive these samplers are! It's the ugliest/cheapest/worst fabric from my scrap bin, and I've gone mad on some of these things, layering patterns on top of patterns on top of patterns because I'm being "thrifty" and not using a fresh sandwich when I want to try something else.

    Some of them I've just plunked fresh scraps on top and roughly topstitched it down and then added more quilting on top. We're talking weird shapes, exposed edges...just awful.

    I would feel bad to donate these to anybody. Terribly ugly things. "Great to stick under the cat's face when he starts to hwarf up a hairball" kind of ugly!

    I will find uses for them around the house, though. I collect and fix up old sewing machines - these will be good for catching excess oil and kerosene as I work on them, and for protecting my bookshelf when I'm storing them as they wait for their turn in the "hospital". And some of the larger samplers I'll probably make into a sleeve and stuff with scraps for the cat. He won't know it's not a real quilt!

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