Archive for October 11th, 2009

Extended Sewing Machine Quilting Surface

Extended quilting surface

Extended quilting surface

Mary has been quilting up a storm lately and wanted a larger surface to handle a bed-sized quilt. A table in the basement was big enough, but she wanted a larger flat surface around the sewing machine adjacent to the table.

I converted the typing return (*) from her upstairs desk into a table, then cut a piece of aluminum-clad 1-inch foam insulation board to fit. It’s 4 feet long, a convenient length to cut from the 4×8-foot insulation board, and slightly narrower than the typing return. Cutting it required a long X-Acto knife blade, but a really sharp utility knife would work as well.

Some stainless-steel tape finished off the edges. The tape itself is lethally sharp-edged, but it’s perfectly harmless if you do a good job of smoothing it against the foam board…

A pair of closed-cell rigid foam blocks held one end of the board at the proper height around the sewing machine, while a pair of cutoffs from the wood pile were just the right thickness & length to extend under the other end. It turns out that precise height isn’t nearly as vital as we expected; close enough is fine.

I cannibalized a pair of table-saw feed roller stands for this project; they had just the right height adjustment and shape to support the typing return and the foam board.

The end result aligns the surface of the sewing machine with both the top of the table and the surface of the foam board. The quilt slides easily over the whole affair and doesn’t bunch up like it did before. Success!

Foam support blocks

Foam support blocks

(*) A “typing return” is the little table that sticks out from a desk, upon which you put a typewriter, back in the day when typewriters ruled the land. Nowadays, she uses it for her sewing machine, which normally lives at her desk, because there’s no practical way to type at right angles to one’s desk.

That’s the sort of item you can’t do web searches for, because all the terms are so heavily overloaded. Give it a try; you’ll find one or two useful hits. There’s a difference between syntax and semantics; we’re not in the semantic web yet by long yardage.


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