Free tutorial on how to make a multi-use flatbed sewing machine table that can hold treadle and drop in machines via special inserts.
This sewing machine table tutorial will use my treadle, and machines as an example. View the video to see the table in action.
Save and print the above image to record the measurements of all your machines.
Draw a few crosses on the back of the chart.
Put the treadle in the center of your space. Measure the outside (23") and inside width of the treadle (21"). The maximum sewing machine length is the width of the inside treadle (21") less two inches (19"). Any sewing machines larger than this length (19") will have to sit on top of the table instead of using a drop in box.
Note these measures at the bottom of the chart.
File off any nubs (meant to stack drawer sets) on wire drawer set to get a flat surface.
Place the drawer set to the right. Place the treadles next to the drawer.
Place a 24 x 48 board (or foam board if making a mockup) on top. If possible, place a bit of the drawer under any adjoining desk.
Adjust the leveling screws on the bottom of the drawer to bring it level to the irons.
Add the drawers. Consider leaving out the bottom drawer because it's a great place to store sewing machines. Sorry, Ikea discontinued those fabric drawers.
List all your machines.
Gather all your sewing machines.
Needle: Measure from the needle to the edge of the machine.
Length: Measure from edge to edge. ADD any plugs or motors on electrical machines. Use a small plastic bin, or cardboard, to help find this measure.
Width: Surround the machine with the 24 x 12 pieces of laminate to help find the width of the machine.
Height: Measure from the table to the top of the bed. No height? Then it's probably a cutout.
Record measures in chart. Add another 1 1/2" to any treadle machines to clear the belt on the right side.
Base Cutout: Circle the largest measure in each column. Add 2" to the largest length (16 + 2 = 18), and 2" to the largest width (7+ 2 = 9) to get the base cutout measurement.
Using a t-square and a black marker, draw a line across the table 12" in from the left.
Draw another line across the entire table 9" in from the edge. The needle of any machine will be placed where the two lines intersect. Feel free to move this line for your comfort.
Draw a diagram of the base cutout using the circled measures in the chart. My final measures were 3 3/4" to needle, and 4 1/2" on either side of the needle (total 9" width). Write “Base" over the diagram.
Draw the same diagram on the table. Take the board to the cutting area.
Here's a video showing how I used a circular saw, and a jabsaw, to cut out the many rectangles in this tutorial. A big thank you to the See Jane Drill Youtube channel. Minimize chipping by scoring all the lines with a hobby knife. I didn't bother because I wrapped all the pieces with white adhesive contact paper.
Place the second 24 x 48 board on top of the first. Line up all the edges.
Trace the rectangle onto the second board from underneath.
Flip the second board over, then spin it around so the 9" spacing end is towards you. Mark it with an X for easy reference later. Remove the bottom board so you only have this board on the cutting table.
Measure the entire board, then draw a line down the center.
Grab one of the 24 x 18 inserts. Measure the board, then draw a line down the center.
Match up the center lines.
Bring the insert down flush to the edge of the other board. Make sure the lines remain centered.
Trace all around the insert.
Cut out the insert (the outermost rectangle).
Put the first board back on the cutting table.
Place the second board on top of it. You can see where this is going, right?
Try one of the precut inserts. Make any adjustments.
Iron on tape to the raw edges of the table. Chipped laminate edges: Use iron-on tape to cover them, or cover the entire board with adhesive shelf paper.
Assemble the table. Add a table leg, or shelf bracket, to the back left of the table. Add another to the front, if desired. You may need to shim up the table leg with grip shelf liner (between the leg and the table) before attaching it to the table. Use grip shelf liner to shim up any other uneven areas.
Using a black marker, carry the needle line up the side of the top board on the right.
The table is done! This is a good stopping point for the day. Tomorrow? Custom inserts!
Insert for treadle sewing machines
Remove the blank insert. Keep this insert uncut. I keep mine behind the treadle.
Measure the machine under the needle plate. Look for the part is closest to the outside edge of the machine. Measure to the edge of machine. (1 1/4""). This is the edge of the machine that will lie on top of the insert.
Subtract from the original measure to get a new needle measure (3 1/4" - 1 1/4" = 2"). The amount of the offset should be enough space to allow for the belt on the right side.
Measure the top edge of the machine (3/4"). This is the part that lies on top of the insert.
Subtract from the original width to get the insert width size (7 – 3/4" = 6 1/4""). Copy the original length of machine as the insert length (14 1/2"")
Figure out the length and width starting from the needle position. My final measures were 2" to needle on the left, 3 1/8" on top and bottom (total 6 1/4" width).
Grab another insert from your stash, and place it in the table. Mark and draw the needle line on a insert.
Find the needle line at the front of the table. Carry the line through to the top of the insert.
Draw lines at the marks across the insert.
Draw the cutout area on the insert starting at the needle position. Cut out the rectangle.
Place hinges on machine. Place machine in insert. Attach belt.
Look underneath. Notice the The belt may rub against the insert.
Make a couple of cuts with the jabsaw to allow for the belt. I cut 1/2"" in on both sides.
Place machine back in insert. Reattach the belt.
Success! Now for the hinges.
Trace the hinges.
Measure horizontally, and vertically, to find the center at 9/16"
Drill using a 1 1/8" spade drill bit. Thanks to the Project Lady for that tip.
Drill down about 3/16" or so.
Cut the rest of the hinge open using a hobby or utility knife.
Screw in the hinge.
Slide the machine back on. Your custom vintage sewing machine table is done!
Insert for drop in sewing machines
The machine with the largest height measure is the first machine to get a box insert. This way you can still use it for smaller machines after you're done with the tutorial.
The base will be (length + 1/4"") x (width + 1/4""). My box base is 7 1/4"" x 16 1/4"".
The two long sides of the box will be (height – 1/8") by length. My Singer Sonata requires two 3 1/8" x 16 1/4"" pieces.
The two short sides will be (height – 1/8") by (width + 1 1/2""). My Singer Sonata requires two 3 1/8" x 8 3/4" pieces.
Measure the laminate using the same ruler you used to measure the machines. Cut the five pieces out of the laminate.
Place the machine on the box insert base, then surround the largest machine with the laminate pieces. Make sure everything lines up square. My tabletop is now covered with pretty adhesive shelf paper I got at the Dollar Store.
Use a scrap piece of laminate on edge to draw in the 3/4" wide line on the small and long pieces as shown. Drill a countersink hole at the center of the board, center of the 3/4" wide line. Drill six more 1 1/2"" in from each corner. I covered all five laminate pieces with more fancy paper after drilling the holes.
Fit the box together to continue the pilot hole into the adjoining piece of laminate.
Screw the box together using wood screws.
Check the fit with the base cutout.
Place a blank insert on the base. Trace out the opening from underneath the table with a pencil. Mark the left and bottom sides.
Flip the insert over.
Center the box inside the drawn lines. Mark the left and bottom outside the lines.
Use a scrap piece of laminate draw in the 3/4" thickness of the laminate inside the box outline.
Take the board to the cutting area, and cut out the innermost (in pink) rectangle.
Place the insert on the box. Retrace and recut to adjust the opening.
Use a scrap piece of laminate to mark 3/4" out all around the opening. Mark 2" in on either corner. Mark the halfway point on long ends.
Drill holes through the insert at marks. Make sure they are center of the 3/4" spacing.
Countersink all holes.
Place the insert on box again. Drill through holes to reach the box. Add wood screws to centers, then to alternating corners.
Measure the plug where it meets the machine, and at the socket end. Cut a hole using a spade bit, or hole saw, at the underside back right of the machine. Steer clear of the screws. The 1 1/8" bit is the perfect size for standard US plugs.
Wrap the insert in white contact paper, or finish raw edges with iron-on tape. Place box insert in table. Add one or two layers of grip shelf paper to bottom of box.
The flatbed sewing machine table is done! Not quite ready to make another box insert for your other machines? Use 3/4" scrap laminate inside the box to bring up the height to fit.
Lowes will cut the melamine to these dimensions for you for free. They will disclaim that the measures may not come out to a perfect 24" width. That's fine – as long as they stack the pieces together to make sure the widths are all equal.
Did you make a sewing machine table using this tutorial? I'd really love to see it! Post a picture of it on Instagram with #costumingdiary, or to my Facebook page.