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Thread: Sewing machine set into or on top of table?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Onetomatoplant's Avatar
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    Sewing machine set into or on top of table?

    Hello, all. We're moving in about six months and, theoretically, I'll have a quilting room. Right now my machine is set up on a 6' folding table and it's fine. I don't have a wheelie chair so I mostly stay where I am, pushing my machine back to pin pieces together and then pulling it toward me again to sew. We were going to sell our office desk until I realized it would be perfect for the sewing machine - it's a lovely, big solid wood desk. The desk has a pull out keyboard drawer that's set at the perfect height that I can cut a hole in the desk and set the sewing machine in the keyboard tray, modifying it to make the drawer secure of course.

    And here's the question. I move my machine around a lot, but I think that's because my chair doesn't have wheels and it's not easy to slide down the table a couple feet to do pinning. Would you prefer your machine inset or on top of your sewing table, and why? I can definitely see how it would help with FMQ. Thoughts?
    thanks!

  2. #2
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    The only time I raise mine up to the top is when I attach the embroidery unit. Otherwise, I always prefer it down so that the needle plate is flush with the table. I have an acrylic plate that fits around my machine so everything is flat and smooth.

  3. #3
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    It's easier on my shoulders when it's inset into a table.

  4. #4
    Super Member redquilter's Avatar
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    I like my inset also for the same reasons as above.

  5. #5
    Super Member amyjo's Avatar
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    setting into the desk flush would be best for your shoulders. I would go to goodwill or thrift store to find a office chair with wheels. would be better than push pull machine.

  6. #6
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    I like it set in it is too high if on top use that only when doing a sleeve or somethin that requires a free arm. You really need it set level if you are quilting

  7. #7
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    I am short and I would prefer to have my machine in a lower position. I think the "rule" would be to sit in the chair that you choose, place your feet on the floor, and they should be flat, then the machine should be in line with your elbows. Put your arms in a position where you are bending the elbow, with your hands reaching out. Now the machine should be the right height so it does not put pressure on your shoulders or back. I believe those doctors who studied this position also
    prefer it. I would recommend an office chair with a good back and seat. Some are less then $50 and you can adjust the height. It is a good investment. Good luck in your move and setting up your room. Send us pics.

  8. #8
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    I would love to have my machine set into my desk, but unfortunately I'm unable to do this, one of the reasons I don't, is because I have several machines, and if I have the opening cut out for my big Elna, then when/if I use one of the other machines, they would rattle around in that big opening. Personally, one of the first things I would do, would be to get a comfortable chair, that you can adjust the height and that is on wheels.

  9. #9
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    I find that I prefer to use my machines that are in cabinets.
    Kitsy

  10. #10
    Senior Member Onetomatoplant's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone! Now where'd I put that jigsaw? IN the desk it is! And believe me, there is definitely a comfy chair with wheels in my future! Thanks!

  11. #11
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    My machine is set in my table and works great. It makes sewing easier, a better level. Buy yourself a chair with wheels.

  12. #12
    Junior Member cbjlinda's Avatar
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    I have a small table right now and used to have the six foot one. I miss it! I do however have a rolly chair. they are very reasonible when you find them at office supply stores on sale or at wallmart. I would go crazzy without it " I used to have a dinning room chair and hated it because I couldn't move from side to side. I am in the process of cleaning my sewing room and having my hubby put together a new cutting table for me. if I knew how to add pictures I would show you where I got my inspiration. ohhhhhh just remembered that I posted a picture of it on my blog so if you to the blog addy at the bottom of my post you can see the one that inspired me. Hers is my ideal but I don;t have a large enough sewing room for that one so am downsizing it to fit my room. can't wait untill its done.
    Quote Originally Posted by Onetomatoplant View Post
    Hello, all. We're moving in about six months and, theoretically, I'll have a quilting room. Right now my machine is set up on a 6' folding table and it's fine. I don't have a wheelie chair so I mostly stay where I am, pushing my machine back to pin pieces together and then pulling it toward me again to sew. We were going to sell our office desk until I realized it would be perfect for the sewing machine - it's a lovely, big solid wood desk. The desk has a pull out keyboard drawer that's set at the perfect height that I can cut a hole in the desk and set the sewing machine in the keyboard tray, modifying it to make the drawer secure of course.

    And here's the question. I move my machine around a lot, but I think that's because my chair doesn't have wheels and it's not easy to slide down the table a couple feet to do pinning. Would you prefer your machine inset or on top of your sewing table, and why? I can definitely see how it would help with FMQ. Thoughts?
    thanks!
    Last edited by cbjlinda; 03-10-2013 at 04:15 AM.
    http://ncfabricjunkie.blogspot.com

  13. #13
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    If you do your own quilting having the machine flush with the table is a must.
    I had one of those extension acylic tables and the quilt kept catching on the edge.
    For piecing it dosnt matter so much.

  14. #14
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    I did exactly what you are doing, and I cut the hole open at the front of the desk so the machine sits completely forward and I can pull it out on the keyboard tray to use the free-arm occasionally. Be sure to leave enough room for the machine's cords so you don't crimp them. I didn't leave quite enough space between the keyboard support and the machine and was crimping my cord badly - had to get a different cord that fit in the space.
    Shirley in Arizona

  15. #15
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    Inset definitely. It makes it so much easier to free motion quilt. One end of my table has room for a small mat for trimming up and I made a pressing station from a TV tray that sits next to me so there's not a lot of need to move. Still check the sales for an office chair with wheels that you can adjust. You'll notice a big change in your comfort level and stamina. Congratulations on your new quilting room.

  16. #16
    Super Member feffertim's Avatar
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    I have both my machines set into the tables, much easier on my neck and shoulders, and I like having even room around the machine. Definitely set in get my vote

  17. #17
    Senior Member Onetomatoplant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbjlinda View Post
    I have a small table right now and used to have the six foot one. I miss it! I do however have a rolly chair. they are very reasonible when you find them at office supply stores on sale or at wallmart. I would go crazzy without it " I used to have a dinning room chair and hated it because I couldn't move from side to side. I am in the process of cleaning my sewing room and having my hubby put together a new cutting table for me. if I knew how to add pictures I would show you where I got my inspiration. ohhhhhh just remembered that I posted a picture of it on my blog so if you to the blog addy at the bottom of my post you can see the one that inspired me. Hers is my ideal but I don;t have a large enough sewing room for that one so am downsizing it to fit my room. can't wait untill its done.
    Went to your blog - love your cutting table! That's another "after we move" project. My husband refurbishes saxaphones, so I'm hoping for a space that can house both of us....you know, so we can see each other sometimes.

  18. #18
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    I have my Janome 6500 set into a table, if I need to use my little pfaff I put some quilting magazines into the cut out area to build up the level, and bring the Pfaff level, as long as the left side of the machine is level with the table top, I don't worry about the gap on the right hand
    side

  19. #19
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    I like them set into the table, definitely. I do a lot of quilting and I need the surface that supports the quilt to be the same height as the bed of the machine. I have a table that allows me to switch machines.

    The only time I'd set a machine on a table is in a class, sewing at a friend's house, or if I was only piecing, and then for a short time due to ergonomic concerns.

  20. #20
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    I like both depending on what i'm doing
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  21. #21
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pocoellie View Post
    I would love to have my machine set into my desk, but unfortunately I'm unable to do this, one of the reasons I don't, is because I have several machines, and if I have the opening cut out for my big Elna, then when/if I use one of the other machines, they would rattle around in that big opening. Personally, one of the first things I would do, would be to get a comfortable chair, that you can adjust the height and that is on wheels.
    The way to get around that would be to make one opening that is big enough for any of them, with room to spare, and then have an insert that custom fits each of the machines. This is the way some sewing tables were designed. There are small metal clips around the edges of the large opening that support the inserts. This is not too hard to do with a scroll saw.

    You will love having your machine flush with the desk top - It's much easier to sew almost anything that way, unless you need the free arm, and even that is fairly workable if you have the removable insert that gives access. If you have a machine that has the bobbin cover below the level of the machine bed, as I do on my 40-yr-old Bernina, then you need easy access to that area. If it's tightly fitted into the desk top, it would have to be lifted out each time you change a bobbin.

    Another advantage to a rolling chair is that you can place a little table or TV tray of some sort at an L to the main table, and you can easily turn to do ironing, trimming or pinning. If your floor has carpet or a delicate floor, you'll need to get a chair mat to roll on. It's probably a good idea even without the rolling chair.
    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

  22. #22
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    I'm all for recessing the machine, but as for the chair with wheels...I do not want one. I WANT to get up occasionally to stretch my old bones. Any anything that uses up calories...even getting up to iron or pin... I am FOR it!

  23. #23
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    I have mine on a table, but if I had the option, I would have it inset. It's just a bit high for me, and insetting would fix that. You seem to be used to the moving the machine method, and if it were inset, you you'll have to relearn the process a bit. Maybe you can try not moving your machine on the surface you have now, and see whether its something you can get use to.

  24. #24
    Super Member coopah's Avatar
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    I bought two tables where the inset can be adjusted for the machine. What I didn't consider was that everytime I have to change the bobbin, I have to lift the machines up and out. So think about that before you buy. The older I get, the more it's like work to change the bobbin!
    "A woman is like a tea bag-you can't tell how strong she is until you put her in hot water." Eleanor Roosevelt

  25. #25
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    Rose Marie,
    I had that problem too with the quilt catching the edge of the plexiglass table. So glad when I could finally afford a cabinet for my machines; 4 machines share the Horn Quiltmate that I bought 10 yrs ago.
    Sharon

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