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Tutorial – Making an Insert for a Sewing Table

 I have purchased a couple of sewing tables from Arrow – which have an opening so a variety of machines can set down into an adjustable height opening and you can have a flat sewing surface. There are professional inserts available – however sometimes you have to “make do” for a while. This is my “make do”. I hope I can explain this process so that it is understandable to you.


With my NEW Viking Topaz 20 seated in the opening of my sewing table – there is a lot of empty space – to be useful this needs to be “filled” with something. I discovered with my first sewing table that a clear plastic picture frame glazing was thin – yet sturdy enough to fill in the space. Glazing usually refers to the glass that protects the photo or artwork – these days you can get plastic glazing that can easily be cut with scissors and knives.

  1. Tools and Supplies:Plastic Glazing 16” x 20”

    Foam Core Board (about 1/4” thick)


    permanent marker

    rule / straight edge

    box cutter / xacto knife

  1. Plastic GlazingPlace your machine down in the opening, adjust the height to make the machine level with the table surface. Determine where you would like your machine to set within the space.

    Place the clear glazing over the bed of the machine and make sure there is at least an inch overlap on three sides. On some machines you may need to cut into the right side of the glazing to make it curve, so the plastic sheet can move over far enough.

    At this point mark the plate location with the permanent marker. I also need to have access to my bobbin – so I marked around that area.

    I used dots to mark, then lifted the plastic and drew the location with a straight edge to make it neat. Using a knife and the straight edge, carefully slice the plastic – this will take several (5-10) strokes – and you want to take it easy so you do not slip and make a cut in the glazing that you do not want.

    After cutting all four sides you will use the knife and carefully cut out the corners so the plate location will come out easily. If there are ruff edges you can use an emery board and smooth them out.

    Place the glazing back on the bed of the machine to check for fit.

    At this point you can be finished – you have filled in the empty space to make the table useful. Remove the plastic protection film.  I did not like the see-thru bed – just too odd for me – so I took this one step further and used foam core to cover the opening – this also added a sturdy base.

  1. Foam Core BoardI used the leftover cardboard from the plastic glazing and marked and cut the exact location of the machine bed and the outside lip edge.

    The foam core does not go over the arm of the machine – just up to the edge.

    I marked and cut the cardboard, I re-fit this template several times taking small bites out of the cardboard until I got it to fit perfectly.

    After making this template, I marked the foam core board by drawing around the template with a pencil.

    Using the straight edge, I cut and sliced the foam core until it fit correctly. Take your time to make accurate cuts.


  2. Finish
    I placed the foam core into the opening and around my sewing machine. I then placed the glazing on top lining up the opening for the plate and bobbin.

    Then to make sure it stays secure, I used a little masking tape at the front and back of the right most side.

    Voila I have an inexpensive insert custom made for my machine. I spent about $13.00 for supplies. I purchased them at my local Hobby Lobby craft store, you may be able find these items at a hardware store or even your local Walmart. It took about 2 hours to complete (but I was taking pictures along the way.)

Let me know if you have been successful in making your insert. I will try to answer any questions you have, but now I am ready to get sewing!


2 Responses

  1. This is a wonderful tutorial and great idea if you have more than one machine and can’t afford an insert for each machine. Thank you. Bernie

    • I have done this for three of my machines so far – and it works very well, I have marked each of the clear plastic templates with the machine name in permanent marker.

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