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August 20, 2012

After seeing a few sewing machines with very large platforms surrounding them, and seeing them in use, I had a major case of extension table envy.  Everything's so neat and flat and glides so smoothly!  I wanted one, but talking to the Husqvarna rep (did you know certain types of sewing machines have dealers?) revealed a price range of over $100 for varying sizes.  Nope.  Couldn't justify it.  Want.  Too expensive  Want.  It's just a flat piece of plexiglass with some markings on it!  Whine.  Wait, does it HAVE to be plexiglass?

My special stash of super-nice cardboard from Brian's diploma frame packaging slips into the front of my brain.  "Makkkeee onnnneee" that increasingly large, encouraging, DIY portion of my mind whispers.


It's exactly what you think it is.  Super dense, durable cardboard, Dollar Tree contact paper, and some temporary drafting tape with lines drawn on it until I can come up with a better idea.  I used glue, a pencil, a metal ruler, and a boxcutter.  

The complicated part was sizing it to the machine, but I was able to pull off the surround (I don't know its technical name, but it includes the compartment where you stash the extra bobbins and feet), and turned it upside down and drew around the hole on a piece of paper.  

View of the underside.
On the underside, I made an L shape with cardboard cut to the necessary height, and included a square of foamcore to stabilize the corners.  I was fortunate to have a spare box that was the perfect height and width for underneath the table. (it's that green box, I haven't covered it yet.)  That box fills up most of the rest of the space underneath and supports it quite nicely.  It feels very secure to me, but I haven't tried sewing with it yet.  For all I know it's going to bounce and vibrate all around when the machine starts.  Still, it'd be perfectly adequate for the amount of sewing I do, and it doesn't need to support a lot of weight.  It will do until I can justify the cost of the company-made table.

Update: 1/25/2013 - This has proven to be quite sturdy for sewing.  Sometimes it slides a bit out of place but that is easily remedied.  I also have developed the bad habit of using it as a temporary storage space, and it can hold quite a bit of weight!  Just make sure you use something really sturdy!

Update 2:  5/16/2013 - I've just discovered illustration board, and think it might be a good recommendation in place of my cardboard.  It's 1/16" thick, and can be cut with an Xacto knife.  I found it at Michaels in the art supplies.