Friday, June 5, 2020

DIY Sewing Table

With everyone rediscovering sewing right now, this former post on my DIY sewing table made from an Ikea Ingo table, is just as timely now as it was when first posted in 2013. With a few extra nuts, bolts, and wood plus the necessary tools, the instructions below make it an inexpensive and easy way to have a sewing machine seated in a table, making the bed flush with the table surface - every quilter's dream!

Ikea Ingo table for a sewing machine

The original source for the sewing table construction was from a site called From Marta With Love, but with added tweaks and additions along the way. Follow along for instructions to make an inexpensive sewing table, complete with knee lift!


  • Ikea Ingo table or other table with edge support rails under the top
  • 3/4" plywood support board, 2" wider and longer than the sewing machine
  • a 2x2, at least 56" long
  • jigsaw
  • miter or hand saw
  • jig kit
  • medium grit sandpaper 
  • drill with a 1/4" bit and a countersink bit
  • clamps
  • (4)  1 1/4" wood screws
  • (4) 4" long 1/4" diameter bolts with threads at least halfway up the bolt
  • (8) washers and nuts to fit the bolts
  • (4) bolt caps

Placement and Cutting

Assemble the Ikea Ingo table, but don't fully attach the table top. 

Ikea Ingo table unfinished

Measure in from the table top edge to the support rails at both the front and the right side. Add the width of the support rails to this measurement. Transfer these measurements to the front right corner of the table top, again from the edge, with several small marks. Also mark where the bracket attaches. These marks will help in machine placement, preventing rail interference.

Place the sewing machine on the table top, avoiding the rail marks. There are no hard and fast rules for sewing machine placement - it's more of a personal preference of what's a comfortable sewing distance. For my table, I marked my Janome 6500 footprint at 3" from the front and 3 5/8" from the right side, leaving 24 3/4" on the left. I want as much room as possible on my left!

Ikea Ingo table showing sewing machine ledge

Note: If you do slide the machine far to the right, the added right support rail underneath will have to be modified as it will probably hit the corner bracket. Do this only if you are comfortable making adjustments to that rail. We made the rail shorter (see the open space in the corner above), then added a third support rail along the back of the opening, putting two bolts there, and only one on the right side. All total, we used five bolts to support the machine.

Once positioning is determined, trace around the footprint of the sewing machine, making sure to leave enough space to accommodate the cords. My 'opening' is approximately 1/4" bigger than my machine, which also helps getting the machine in and out.

sewing machine tracing and hole cutting

Remove the table top from the legs, placing it on a supporting surface to cut the hole. Drill a large starter hole inside the tracing, near an edge for easy insertion of the jigsaw blade. Then cut, using a wood blade, carefully following the drawn line and going slowly around any curves.

After cutting, check the machine's fit in the hole and make any adjustments. Sand the edges, and use wood filler if necessary on any mistakes or wood chips. Reassemble the table, but don't tighten anything yet.


Flip the table onto it's top, with legs in the air. Measure between the front and back rails - for the Ikea Ingo table, it should be 26". Cut the 2x2 at this measurement for 2 pieces.

On the back of the table top, measure 2" over from each short side of the hole, marking a line from the front rail to the back rail. These are guides for attaching the 2x2x26 pieces.

support rail placement and bolt placement for the sewing table

Using a jig kit, drill 4 pocket holes (one on each end of each 2x2x26) for the 1 1/4" wood screws.

drilled pocket holes

Place the outer edge of these pieces on the drawn lines (they are placed between the hole and the line) and screw in place to the rails. 

Mark the bolt positions on the new support rails, approximately 1" down from each long hole edge, avoiding the wood screws on the ends. (Refer to drawing above).

Remove the table top from the table frame, and legs still in the air, drill 1/4" holes all the way through the 2x2's. Flip the table frame over, and countersink the tops of the holes. Test that the bolts fit in the holes, and that they don't stick out on top. 

Remove the bolts, and turn the table frame over again. Place the 3/4" plywood support board under the frame, centering it within the hole/bolt/support framework, with equal amounts of overhang. Using the drilled holes as a guide, drill small pilot holes into the support board - don't drill all the way through! Remove the support board and continue drilling the holes through the board.


Place the table on it's legs, and put the bolts through the holes, checking again that they are countersunk enough. Place the table top on top, and reattach the top to the frame per the Ikea instructions. The bolts should be hanging through the support rails.

Attach the 3/4" plywood support board underneath, using the following hardware sequence:

                   nut  --  washer  --  SHELF  --  washer  --  nut

Ikea Ingo sewing table with knee lift hole

Tighten both nuts, and use them to adjust for level of the support board after inserting the sewing machine. Tighten/loosen until the machine bed is level with the table. When all's good, add the bolt covers to lessen injuries. Bring the cords up through the hole, attach, and done!

DIY Ikea sewing machine table

To make this extra special, drill a hole for a knee lift.

DIY Ikea sewing table knee lift hole

Unfortunately, I can't tell the exact spot for that, but I recommend measuring from different areas on both the machine and the table to determine where the knee lift hole is. Then drill a 5/8" hole, bigger than needed, in the front support rail to insert the knee lift bar.

DIY Ikea sewing table with knee lift hole

And for added table stability, since sewing machines produce a lot of vibration, use a few more 2x2's as support bars between the legs. Check them out in the picture below.

DIY Ikea Ingo sewing table with extra leg support

So with a bit of extra wood and some time, I've now got myself a sewing table with a set in machine, for under $125.  Awesome! 

Happy Quilting!

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This post has been updated from it's 7-2013 original.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Midweek Makers #230

Welcome to the Midweek Makers linky party! The heat and the blog update sapped my sewing energy last week, but I hope to start in on the Zen Garden quilt from the Patchwork and Quilting Basics (affiliate link) book by Jo Avery very soon. That pile of fabric is just begging me to cut into it!

Zen Garden fabric choices

Patchwork and Quilting Basics by Jo Avery

And did you see these projects last week? Everyone is just sewing up a storm!

                               gretchens little corner

                                           scrapbox quilts

                                the colorful fabriholic

                                          melva loves scraps

Now it's your turn - come share what you're working on!
  • Please link directly to your specific post..
  • Visit the other guests, and leave comments.
  • Use the Midweek Makers badge or link to in your post.
Have fun at the party!

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Monday, June 1, 2020

Seafarer - Bon Voyage!

After 10 weeks in port, replenishing, rejuvenating, and charting his next expedition, Seafarer has set sail on another voyage.

Seafarer quilt pattern by QuiltFabrication
Seafarer's last journey was a year's long exploration of the southern Atlantic Ocean, specifically spending his days in South America's only land locked country, Paraguay. Somehow, the Seafarer sailboat managed to travel inland, magically making it there and back from that little country, shown in red on the map.
map of Seafarer's journey to Paraguay
Due to both hot weather, and the lack of open water, instead of further exploration, Seafarer spent his time educating the local population about diabetes and hypertension. Unfortunately, his work was cut short due to the world wide pandemic.

Seafarer quilt pattern from QuiltFabrication

Seafarer's return trip from Paraguay was fraught with numerous perils, as his new Paraguayan companion, Po, required special paperwork to come to the USA. Being an incredibly adorable 3 month old puppy worked in his favor, as he charmed all he came in contact with.

Po the Paraguayan puppy

Now at 6 months, he's joined the neutered club, and is not letting that cone distract him from a new escapade. Full of adventurous spirits and the willingness to explore, the forever companions Seafarer and Po have set off and are eager to start the next chapter in their lives. 

This time, Seafarer's expedition involves the northern portion of the Atlantic Ocean, along the North American coast, with a trip distance far shorter and less fraught with hazards, limitations, and paperwork, than his first. 
Seafarer's North Atlantic adventure
With summer just starting to heat up, and some re-opening of the country from COVID-19 shut-downs, Seafarer's journey should be fairly smooth. Once he arrives in port, his mission is to aid in the fight against COVID-19, researching the virus for the development of a potential vaccine. Let's hope that his work is successful!

If you've followed for awhile, you'll recall Seafarer is a quilt pattern I designed and made for my son before he departed for his Peace Corps assignment. I was so happy when he (and the quilt) came home this March. And now I must say good-bye again to both, though this time his east coast port will make it much easier to visit. I'm sad to see him (and the quilt) go, but I know that this is a fantastic opportunity for him, and I wish him all the best.

I'll sign off with my usual,
but in my heart, it's really
love you, mom

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Friday, May 29, 2020

Binding a Quilt - Tips and Tricks

Last week, I had the opportunity to give a binding tutorial over Zoom, and thought I would go over 3 of my favorite binding tutorials. 

The first one, joining binding in 3 easy steps

was an absolute game changer for me! Years ago, I struggled with the angles, the right sides of the fabric, where to cut, etc, and spending waaaay too much time joining binding. 

But then, an ah-ha moment, and my binding woes were over! A simple fold of 2.5" was all I needed - pop over to the joining binding tutorial to see the whole process.

The next big game changer was reducing bulky corners. 

All that requires is sewing the binding at a right angle in the corner instead of the traditional angle. 

Just this one simple change allows for a triangle of fabric to be trimmed out of the corner, leaving four less layers of fabric. For more details on this technique, check out the reducing bulky corners tutorial.

And the last binding technique that saves a ton of time - a machine stitched binding

Now, I know that there are those out there who are purists and want to stitch the binding by hand. And, yes, I used to do that, so I get it. But it took forever, eating up time that I could better spend elsewhere. Then glue came into my life. 

At first I resisted, trying to stay with the purist group, worrying about fabric degradation. But I wash my quilts, and I don't intend for my quilts to stay around for 100 years, so why not use glue? For me, it's old fashioned washable school glue.

I'm very happy to say I've been using glue and a machine stitched binding for several years now, with the whole process taking me a lot less time than hand stitching would. Check out the machine binding tutorial for a ton of up-close pictures on perfecting this technique.

Both my Zoom buddies, and guild members have thanked me for these binding tutorials - they've been game changers for them too. Give them a try, and see what you think!

Happy Quilting!

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