How To Improvise A Sewing Machine Extension Table?

La Mesa, California, experienced a day filled with excitement. I was able to go to my local JoAnn’s, which has practically everything else, as well as my local Sew and Vac, which should have everything that goes with a brand new sewing machine. In addition, I was able to go to my local quilt store, which typically has everything.

But there I was, it was 5:00 on a Saturday afternoon, and I didn’t have an extension table for my new sewing machine. I looked about, but there wasn’t a single one in sight, and all of the places that were likely to have had it had already closed.  My ignorance led me to believe that all versions of each machine would have the same extension table requirements.  Having said that, when I really think about it, it does make logic.

Still, as you all know, quilters are very resourceful, and I had boxes — lots of boxes, all sizes and shapes of boxes. All I needed to do was find one that had a big, flat bottom that could be cut up and used for an extension table. So, that turned into my Saturday night project. And, I’m happy to say, it turned out pretty good, which is why I am glad to share it with you.

Here goes: Pick a box that is fairly large. Mine is approximately 20 inches by 20 1/2 inches. It really doesn’t matter how high it is, although it needs to be at least as high as your sewing machine throat plate. The excess will be cut off.

You will need to measure the height of your sewing machine — the distance from the table it sits on to the throat plate (where your fabric rests as it is going through the machine). Mine is 3 1/4 inches. Next, make two marks on the side of the box that are the same as the distance from the table to your throat plate (3 1/4 inches in my case).

You will cut all 4 sides of your box to the height of your sewing machine. By making 2 marks on each side, you will be better assured that your cuts will be straight. 

You can use your rotary cutter, mat and ruler to cut the box (believe it or not). Frankly, it was easier and better than using a box cutter or knife. Next measure the distance from the outside of the throat plate to the upper arm of your machine. The point of this is that you will cut an opening in the box that size so the box will surround the throat plate of your machine.

Now measure the width of the throat plate.

With those measurements, mark the flaps on your box. This is somewhat tricky because they are not attached to much of anything stable. But, if you fold them closed and tape them to the sides of your box in their final position, it may be more difficult to cut the opening. You will need to cut an opening for your machine which means that one side and the flaps will need to be cut.

After you have cut the opening, tape the flaps closed, and position your new extension table around your machine.  (See photo at top of screen.) I am certain this is not a permanent solution, but it was a great Saturday night solution and got me through the next step in The Machine Quilting Adventure, which was to begin to practice machine quilting.

In retrospect, maybe I should have made the opening smaller and the box higher, so it would be a little more snug with the throat plate of the machine. Ah, something to ponder on another day.

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