Looking for some DIY sewing table ideas?
Let’s face it, every sewing enthusiast knows that sewing is one of those hobbies that takes up some real estate. From cutting to ironing to stitching, there can be a lot of equipment you need to spread out to get your sewing projects finished.
But don’t despair, dear reader; you need not have a giant dedicated sewing space to find a great sewing table that’ll fit your needs.
In this post, I’m going to share some of my best ideas for good sewing tables no matter the size of your sewing space. And don’t worry, I’m not here to tell you to buy some sewing closet system that’s the price of a car.
I’m going to give you some easy DIY sewing table options that rely on a little time and some fun thrift store finds. My hope is that this gives you some inspiration to create your own sewing solution with unique pieces of furniture that fit your personality. I’m here to show you that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a beautiful table!
So dust off an vintage sewing machine table, and let’s make it awesome.
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Considerations for the best sewing table
I always think it’s best to evaluate your own sewing habits and sewing needs before you start buying lots of stuff. That’s especially true with sewing tables since they can be both heavy and take up a lot of space.
Here’s some questions to ask yourself before you get started:
What kinds of sewing projects do you do?
The more yardage of fabric you plow through, the more surface area you’ll want to have in a sewing table. That’s true of cutting tables too.
I make a lot of curtains, and I used to measure them on the floor. Seriously, don’t do this! Once my husband installed my big cut table, wrangling all of those long curtain panels became so much easier.
Garment sewing is nice to do with a good flat squarish table top with a large surface for cutting big pieces.
Quilters can often cut their fabric in small spaces, but they may need more space when it comes to laying out a quilt. High five to the smart people that figured out you can do this vertically on a wall!
On the other hand, if most of your sewing consists of smaller projects like bags or mending, you might be able to get away with a small sewing machine desk with a foldable cutting mat.
What kind of space do you have?
Think about the space that you have available to you when you sew. As nice as it is to have a dedicated sewing room, that’s not always possible. Read on for a small table solution you’ll love!
If you have a shared space like a dining room, think about how you can use your table to store your sewing stuff but also be easily converted for eating.
There’s lots of creative people out there who have built tidy sewing stations inside a closet to great effect. I love this idea from the Bernina blog about turning a wardrobe into a sewing closet complete with lighting, built-in drawers in one piece of furniture that can be closed up in a guest room no time as needed. If you’re working with a small space, you’ll want to incorporate all the built in storage you can into your sewing table.
How many machines do you need?
Think about how many sewing machines you need to have on hand. I sew a lot of knits, so in addition to my serger and regular sewing machine, I also have a coverstitch.
This large conference room table I found at a thrift store is perfect for my sewing table needs. It allows me to have all 3 machines set up at all times for easy access. Also, because it’s fairly deep, there’s a good bit of space behind my machine that allows for the fabric to rest as it goes through the machine.
Create sewing zones
The last thing you want to think about when you’re thinking about sewing tables or just furniture for your sewing space in general is creating sewing zones for the different operations you need to do.
Note that you can accomplish all of these tasks in a small footprint. Here’s the different areas you need to have together in however many tables you have available to you:
- Sewing: a spot for your sewing machine
- Ironing: Can be a separate ironing board or cart, or something as simple as a wool ironing mat.
- Cutting: Can be a separate cutting table or any flat surface you can add a cutting mat to. Cutting mats can be stored vertically and take up almost no space.
- Storage: Always be thinking of ways to incorporate storage into your sewing table solutions. This is especially important if you need to put away your tools or switch out your sewing areas. I’ve spilled a lot of ink talking about sewing storage solutions, so go get some awesome sewing storage ideas!
With those considerations in mind, here are some different DIY sewing table ideas you can try for your own sewing space.
Best for small sized spaces: how to revamp a mid-century modern sewing desk
If you have a small sewing space such as a corner or a room, vintage sewing machine tables are amazing things. I see them every single time I’m at an antique store or a thrift store. You may have to do some modification to fit a modern sewing machine so that it mounts into the table, but it’s a doable fix.
I love this Singer sewing desk. It stores flat inside of a tiny space, yet you can open it up, have enough room to add a cutting mat, have room for your fabric to hang off the edge as you sew. The machine folds down or up as you need, and there’s even a pop out drawer so you can have a couple tools at hand.
Put a basket under it, and maybe find a vintage sewing chair with built-in storage, and you can everything you need to sew in a couple square feet of space.
Easy DIY sewing table
I use this desk primarily to write my blog posts and stage photographs. Here’s how I changed this mid century sewing desk into an easy sewing desk with a little DIY muscle.
- Sanding: Use 60 grit sandpaper to rough up the surfaces. Clean off all the dust.
- Painting: I used Debi’s Design Diary DIY paint in Liquid Sunshine to paint everything. This Dixie Belle Daisy is similar, and I used a Dixie Belle chalk paint brush.
- Transfers: I rubbed on Prima Redesign transfers to add the flowers. (Similar)
- Sealing: To finish everything, I added a layer of Minwax polycrylic to protect the wood (and allow me to put on my cup of tea without fear of rings since I forget coasters most of the time!)
Best for medium to large sized spaces: Hack an old dining table to hold all your sewing gear
This is a great solution for a sewing table or even a DIY craft table if you have a little extra space.
All you really need for a good sewing space is an old dining table. They have tons of surface area, and a sturdy table is a must-have. You can also find them for free or very cheaply at garage sales, thrift stores and the like. Best of all, with a little modification, you can turn an old dining table into a multi-purpose wonder.
First look for a rectangular table. For a reasonable priced Ikea hack, the Ikea Ingo table will work well for this. The Ekadalen is a much bigger Ikea dining table, though at $249, I’d check thrift stores first.
Next, measure the height of your table. Decide how high you want the table to be. For a cutting table*, it’s nice for the table to be counter height. This will be about even with your hip height measured vertically to the floor.
*Notice I say cut table here. Working at a cut table that’s about hip height is much easier on your back. To make a table like this multipurpose, all you’d need to do is find a tall barstool for your machine.
Once you have the total height that you want, place the legs of the table in a set of bed risers.
Add-ons to make your dining table sewing table more functional
After this, measure the top of your table. I would suggest buying the maximum size cutting mat you can fit in this available space.
If you want to be able to store your mats not on the table top, these connecting mats by Olfa (70”x35” total size) are really nice.
On the underside of the table, add bookcases, rolling carts like the Ikea Raskog or storage cubes.
To finish off your dining table into a sewing table hack, add on a barstool and your sewing machine. Be sure the table is near a wall for safety and so you can access the outlet.
For ironing, you can put a traditional ironing board off of the end of your table, or use a portable wool ironing mat.
If you’d like, you can add a table skirt around the perimeter of the table. To make mine, I made 4 curtains that hang around the table with deep pleats at the corners. They open at the center of each side. Follow the basic curtain tutorial and simply sew on a strip of snap tape instead of the header tape. Staple the female side of the snap tape to the table itself.
What if I don’t have a rectangular table? (Oval dining table into a DIY sewing table)
I threw this in here because this was our original problem. My current cut table is an oval kitchen table my husband had before we were married. As we moved, we needed a new table for our family, so the oval table became mine.
To make it a rectangular table, my husband built a box out of melamine boards and 2x4s that fits snugly over the oval table. There was no need to screw it in place because he measured it snugly.
My table also doesn’t have traditional bed risers at the corners because he wanted to make his own. For that, he used 4x4s and made a deep hole to sink the leg into. It’s like a cup. You could use bed risers instead easily!
Need more sewing storage? Make this ironing board cart
I’ve got one more DIY sewing table idea for you. It’s always bothered me how there’s wasted space underneath a traditional ironing board.
When I found myself last year in a new sewing spot, I got some inspiration. Why not turn my ironing board into a cart complete with lots of storage?
To do this, I first painted some basic bookshelves in Gallery Green enamel from Sherwin Williams (leftover from another project). I added some peel and stick wallpaper to the back of the shelves to match the wall that the cart sits on.
Next, my husband connected the two shelves together with wood across the bottom and short screws between the shelves vertically. On the bottom of the shelves he attached casters. This is my favorite feature being able to glide my table or lock it in place as needed.
We tried to salvage my old ironing board, but we had no way of detaching the metal top. Instead, my husband traced around the ironing board onto 1/2” plywood and cut it out using a jigsaw.
The new board is attached to the top on drawer slides. The drawer slides may or may not be helpful, but it was an idea I had to pull the board out if I ever needed to.
The finished board is slightly longer than my original board, so I added a new section to my ironing board cover. Learn how to make an ironing board cover here.
For more storage, I have some antique apothecary drawers fromVintique Farmhouse as well as the basket I’ve always used for my tailoring supplies.
If you have a smaller space, definitely check out this post fromWith My Hands Dream for a smaller ironing cart made from a rolling Ikea cart.
I hope these DIY sewing table ideas will get your creativity working so you can start putting together a sewing room that works the best for you!
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Elizabeth Farr is the writer behind the Elizabeth Made This blog where she shares helpful sewing tips, step by step sewing tutorials and videos to help you explore your creativity through sewing. She has written sewing Eguides and patterns, been a featured teacher at Rebecca Page’s Sewing Summit and Jennifer Maker’s Holiday Maker Fest and her work has appeared in Seamwork and Altered Couture magazines. She also created a line of refashioned garments for SEWN Denver. When her sewing machine isn’t humming, she’s playing and teaching violin, and hanging around a good strategic board game with her husband and 4 kids.