Recently, I was so stressed out trying to machine quilt on my domestic machine that I got hives! I needed to quilt a 40” square quilt for my work at Connecting Threads. As usual, I didn’t have the time or money to have it quilted professionally. Considering my machine quilting challenges, sewing machine setup, and limited budget, the best option seemed to be a sewing table makeover. It was definitely time for some DIY creativity!
Since it is important to evaluate what works well in a space before redesigning it, let me give you a quick tour of my sewing room to show you what I do like. My sewing space is located in the bonus room of our house. At one end are two 2’ x 6′ solid wood folding tables elevated on bed risers to hide fabric bins and to raise the height for comfortable ironing. They are covered with two white cloth tablecloths I bought, slightly damaged, from a party supply store. On top is a large piece of clear vinyl. The light over my sewing machine is a full-spectrum lamp that doesn’t give off heat and can easily swivel from my machine to ironing board as I need it.
I love my oversized ironing board! It is definitely a worthwhile investment (or you can make your own). In the far left corner is a cutting table I have had for years. My Omnigrip rulers, Olfa rotary cutters and Omnigrid cutting mat are always handy.
My design wall, also a DIY project, consists of a queen-size piece of batting secured to the wall at the top with hook & loop tape. On the bottom, the batting is attached to a large wooden curtain rod with more hook & loop tape. The design wall can be rolled up on the rod and hung from nails near the ceiling if I need to get it out of the way.
To the right of the tables are two back-to-back cabinets for storing fabric. I love them! They are the perfect depth for stacks of yardage folded around 6” rulers (every three folds is ½ yard). The drawers hold folded FQs. I covered sheets of foam core board with batting and adhered them the cabinet doors for additional design wall space. The cabinet shown holds fabrics grouped for quilts.The other cabinet holds my “color wall”.
Yes, I have a lot of fabric! There is more in both closets, and under the tables, as a result of 23 years of quilting and ongoing (addictive?) fabric aquisition. Logic states I would have more money for a new sewing table or professional machine quilting if I bought less fabric…What a silly thought!
Okay, back to my problem. Since my machine sits on the table, I use an acrylic table for more sewing surface and can utilize the workspace on top and under the table. This setup works great for piecing, but for machine quilting, the table can interfere with my ability to move the quilt easily if it gets caught on the edges.
I also struggle because the machine is too close to the left edge of the table. The quilt falls off instead of being supported by the table for easier maneuverability. In the past, machine quilting seemed easier when my machine lowered into a cabinet (now sold) flush to the surface.
Tomorrow I will blog about my DIY solution!