Saturday, August 20, 2011

OK the legs need some work

Did the title catch your eye?? Well, this is not your average sewing blog post although it's sewing related. I made something related to sewing and didn't use my machine, a needle or thread. Instead I broke out the power tools!!! The other day, the extension "table" on my sewing machine decided that it just didn't like my heavy (I guess) quilt and a small plastic (oh when will they learn), piece that levels the table against the free arm broke off. Glueing was unsuccessful. So I began a search on line for one of those nice acrylic extension tables, something slightly larger than the one that came with my machine. I have seen them at the sewing expos, but they are so expensive ($100.00 and more for an 18" x 24"), so I did a little DIY search and came across several interesting websites and youtube videos for building one yourself. Not one to shy away from something I've never done before I stopped by my local Home Depot  to check out the plexiglass. Given this was not a project with a 100% chance of success,  and due to space limitations, I opted for the smaller of the 2 thick plexiglass sheets, 18 x 24" pricing in at about $19.00.
The starting plexiglass. Protective sheet still on.

 I also grabbed some 1.5" round wooden doweling, about $4.00 and a few pieces of sandpaper, $couple a bucks- and went home at least primed for success.
I used my current extension to trace the opening for the free arm onto the plexiglass with a sharpie.
took two tries to get the opening in the right place and the right size

 I left the plastic coating on the plexiglass to protect it from scratching. I used a spool of thread (but not the thread) to trace around the corners. My next decision was what to cut it with?? I started with a fine wood blase on my skill saw. It worked great for the corners and for one side of the cut-out piece. However, when it came to cutting the second side- the one that runs parallel to the first cut side, the plexiglass wiggled and vibrated so much it actually cracked. LUCKILY, the crack was in the piece that eventually would get cut out, but alas, I needed to come up with another cutting option. I pulled out a small pipe saw with a stainless steel blade and set about making the second parallel cut. It went slowly but successfully. Now, the perpendicular cut- after saying a few words no one should repeat, I was able to connect a series of small drill holes, and insert the stainless steel blade into the slot. By cutting in two directions I was able to remove a piece of plexiglass  in the shape of my free-arm. I then used a 220 and 150 grit sandpaper to smooth the edges. I used a regular hand saw to cut the "legs" - wooded dowel, the sandpaper again to smooth edges and since I'm still not sure how to attach them to the plexiglass, just slid them under with a small felt top for scratch protection.
New larger table (protective coating removed) all shiny and new

old extension table overlay. I have at least 3x more sewing space now

So, for about $25.00 I now have a pretty nice, serviceable sewing table that gives m e at least double the surface space of my original extension arm. You can make these out of wood too, but my bobbin loads under and not on top so I need to be able to see what I'm doing. It took me about 1.5 hours start to finish.  Do you think I should paint the legs??? or how should I attach them?? I'm open to any and all suggestions.
oh,  and that's a quilt I'm working on…...


  1. Fantastic! I am very impressed with your ingenuity. I guess I would try attaching the legs with super glue, but I don't really know how well that would hold and I don't think it would look really good from the top. You could use a screw of some type with a flat head to go through the plexi into the wood. I think a power drill would make that fairly easy, especially if you put tape on the plexi first. Or, you could just leave it the way it is if it is working for you.

  2. Great job...the plexiglass is a great idea.
    My husband made mine, so it's wood and I have to slide the machine out to change the bobbin...but the extra space to sew on is great.

    I think if you find out how to screw them on like Miki Willa suggested would work the best...or there's always the sticky velcro circles :)

    Here's the post about my extention if you're interested...

  3. Fab idea. I've DIYed a number of things, but thought I would have to buy one of these things for my machine. I think I actually have a fair sized piece of plexiglass left over from a previous project, must go and hunt it down...

  4. If you decide to use glue to attach the legs it is going to visible from the top. If that doesn't bother you just make sure your glue says it works with plastic. If not, then try drilling a hole in your plexi and sinking a small screw into the wood (so that the head doesn't stick up on top of your table). The part that bothers me about this is getting the top smooth enough. I think I would rather see glue.

  5. Well done, I am very impressed. Maybe you could use clear silicone could be used for the legs but you would still see it.

  6. Good work! I am impressed with the cutting the plexiglass part - I have never tried to do that. I would ask the sales people at the hardware store which glue to use for the legs and then apply it carefully so it did not look bad.

  7. Velcro or double stick tape will work, but why not just drill holes and attach with screws -- unless you're worried about storage, and in that case, velcro would definitely work better. :)

  8. Wow, that's pretty cool! I would think the double sided tape would work. That stuff is usually pretty sticky, plus if you needed to store it or something you could just pull them off.

  9. Awesome...I really want one of these tables but finances are tight so this will be perfect..
    thanks ever so much for sharing


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