General Tutorials

Making a Custom Sewing Machine Extension Table {Tutorial}

I recently purchased a Husqvarna Viking Emerald 118 sewing machine, and I knew that I would use the machine for quilting. To help balance the fact that the 118 does not have a huge throat space, I wanted to add an extension table to extend the working surface as much as possible. After looking at the available extension table and price, my husband and I opted to make a custom extension table.

Ready to Quilt

This tutorial shows our process for making the extension table for my Emerald 118, but you could use the same generic steps to make your own custom extension table for any sewing machine.

Acquire Materials

Acquire Materials

Step 1 – Acquire Materials

The main material that we had to purchase was the polycarbonate. We opted for a 12″ x 24″ x 1/2″ thick clear sheet of polycarbonate from McMaster-Carr. There are many other size and thickness polycarbonate sheet options also available.

We also used:

  • Sharpie for marking cut lines
  • Round object or stencil for rounded corners
  • Jigsaw or bandsaw for cutting shape
  • Sander for cleaning cut edges
  • Drill for adding leg posts
    • There are lots of options for the legs of the extension table. Little dowels and metal or plastic tubes and cylinders are all great options.
  • Optional: Router for rounding the top edge of the table
Step 2 - Determine Position of Extension Table

Step 2 – Determine Position of Extension Table

Step 2 – Determine Position of Extension Table

I tried making the front edge of the extension table flush with the front of the sewing machine or making the back edge flush with the back of the machine. In the end, I looked at a lot of extension table pictures on the internet and opted to have the extension table almost centered on the sewing machine.

Step 3 - Trace Cut Lines

Step 3 – Trace Cut Lines

Step 3 – Trace Cut Lines

There is nothing straight about any of the edges of the Emerald 118. We used a combination of rulers to help us trace the cut lines and then had to offset the lines to account for the thickness of the polycarbonate. If in doubt, cut small and you can always sand the shape to be larger.

Note that the polycarbonate sheet comes with protective covers on the top and bottom surfaces that are perfect for marking. When the extension table is complete you will remove the covers to get a beautiful, clear surface!

Step 4 - Rough Cut Extension Table Shape

Step 4 – Rough Cut Extension Table Shape

Step 4 – Rough Cut Extension Table Shape

Following the lines that you marked, use a jigsaw or bandsaw to rough cut the extension table. Safety first! Don’t forget your earplugs or ear muffs, safety glasses, gloves, face mask or respirator!

Step 5 - Fit Check

Step 5 – Fit Check

Step 5 – Fit Check

One of the most important steps is to fit check along the way. In the photo above, the back edge did not drop into place because of a tab for the notions tray interlock (which is removed for the extension table). We had to go in and cut a notch in the corner of the polycarbonate for the extension table to fit nicely.

Step 6 - Measure for Foot Height

Step 6 – Measure for Foot Height

Step 6 – Measure for Foot Height

This step is best with the help of a friend or an adjustable stack of objects. Hold the extension table at the height desired (flush with the throat of the sewing machine), and measure from the top of a table to the bottom of the extension table to get the height of the feet you will need for the base.

We recommend adding 4 feet to support the base. We opted to add clear rubber bumpers at the bottom so that the extension table doesn’t drag and mark the table tops it is set on. We also opted to use a router to round the top edges of the extension table so that quilts will drape smoothly across the surface.

Ready to Quilt

With just a few tools, it is possible to make your own custom extension table! As I mentioned earlier, the Emerald 118 doesn’t have a flat surface anywhere – even the throat space is angled up to the needle and then down after the needle.

Quilting in Wabi-Sabi Overland

Quilting in Wabi-Sabi Overland

There are small gaps between the polycarbonate and the sewing machine as a result, but I have had no issue with my quilts or basting pins getting stuck in these small gaps.

31 thoughts on “Making a Custom Sewing Machine Extension Table {Tutorial}

  1. Toni says:

    Very clever, and useful! I am wondering if my OH (with help from me!) could do a table the same size as my sewing table to give me the equivalent of a ‘drop-down’ for the machine (Brother XV, Dream Machine)… Hmmm, will ponder that – thanks for the inspiration

    1. Kristi Dewey says:

      This is wonderful…I cant find a table for my Janome CS995 anywhere and i guess i am going to try to make one. This tutorial is going to be a huge help. Thank you so much for posting. I cant seem to find the clear table legs with the clear bottoms you use can you help me out with a site to look on for them. Thanks again

      1. Ellen says: Has legs

  2. SusanBK says:

    What a useful tutorial! Thanks!

  3. Shasta says:

    That is great that you made your own! When I saw the price of one, I did consider the possibility of making my own, but don’t have a bandsaw or jigsaw or any practice using those, so I decided to call it an investment. Yours looks a lot like mine! It has made a big difference in my quilting.

  4. This is really helpful, Yvonne. Thank you!

  5. Suzanne says:

    OK, I give up! Where on your Wabi-Sabi does your talented hubby store a work table and power tools? Or did he make that before you left home?
    I recently bought a mid-size Arrow sewing table and had to purchase a custom clear insert to have a level surface. I got it all on sale at least, but it was quite expensive. And I have to say, your extension table is nicer from the standpoint that it’s polycarb (mine is acrylic) and is much thicker and sturdier. Arrow’s insert is only 1/4″ thick. Even so, it makes a wonderful sewing surface and I’m grateful that my husband is generous even if not handy with tools and such.
    Hope your trip is still going well!

  6. Laura says:

    I am as perplexed as Suzanne! Where on earth is the band saw, etc.?
    My husband made my clear extension table several years ago. It also functions as a light table. I love it!

  7. stitchingmam says:

    Wow! Nice table. Thanks for the tutorial.

  8. Danice G says:

    What a wonderful idea! Thank you for the directions.

  9. Patty says:

    Very clever!

  10. Penelope Hood says:

    Thank you for this very interesting tip. I like the creative togetherness vibe you have with your husband. I am the same with mine. I’ve written to you before about a similar travel adventure we had in Outback Australia. I am a keen follower of your posts. Best – Penelope

  11. Tonya Stokley says:

    Wow this is so well thought out ! I have the emerald 116 I wished I’d got the 118 . I would love to make one of these but it looks like your in a camper ! This is my dream to travel and to quilt and sew and have a space small to sew 🙂 I hope to try to make this one day idk if I can but I’d love to try ! Ty for sharing !

  12. Meg says:

    Great that you can make you table!
    I have no desire to make mine.
    FYI There is company named who has over 4000 machine schematics so they can Laser cut the tables with bevel edge with pop on and off legs that are adjustable. I’d rather be sewing or quilting.

    1. Dani says:

      Right but they don’t have to best reviews on Amazon plus this one is cheaper! This is such a great idea! I’m going to make one for my machine!

  13. Bette Jo Kiss says:

    My husband made one for me but i have to ask does your material slide over the table because mine does not in fact it makes it very difficult to move…do you buff yours with wax???

    1. Barb says:

      I will have to find someone in Manitoba, Canada to make one for me. With the exchange rate the cost is over $160.00. Just too much money. I think I would really find one nifty.

      1. kimmcamp says:

        If you have an Industrial Plastic shop there, they do make them at ours in Nanaimo.

  14. Michelle says:

    Thank you so much for this! I was also looking to purchase an extension table for my Emerald 118 but didn’t really want to pay so much. Using your examples my husband made one out of particle board that had been the surface of a lap desk. It is just what I needed. I also love that you are sewing in your camper. We travel in a class B van so I don’t think we would have the room. Safe travels and happy stitching.

  15. Sandy-sewing says:

    Great! I am in the process of making a sewing room from a spare bedroom. My husband is rather handy and is going to make me a sewing table. I was going to have the machine set into the table but decided that I would be limited to one spot to sew from. I am going to ask hubby to make my an extension table instead. Thank you for taking the time to share yours. Happy trails!

  16. Hi – I’m very impressed – did you buy the feet? Did you make them from stock parts? (where purchased?) Thank you.

    1. Ashley T says:

      I would love to know the same!

      1. There are probably a few ways to make the legs depending on the exact height of your sewing machine. My husband made them with aluminum tubes and clear rubber feet that he purchased at Home Depot. You could also probably use wooden dowels that you trim to the right length and add little rubber feet to them.

  17. I really appreciate this tutorial. The process you described is very clear and straightforward. I actually have the same machine which is a fun coincidence. I will definitely do this!

    1. There are probably a few ways to make the legs depending on the exact height of your sewing machine. My husband made them with aluminum tubes and clear rubber feet that he purchased at Home Depot. You could also probably use wooden dowels that you trim to the right length and add little rubber feet to them.

  18. Naomi says:

    I have a sewing table with an inset for my sewing machine so it’s lowered to an ergonomic height but needed an extension table to fit around it in the inset. My hubby made me one around 3 or 4 yrs ago out of plexiglass from Lowe’s with rounded edges and all and it’s perfect! (No idea which power tools, etc. he used…). My hubby used thicker clear plexi for the legs that we stuck on with strong clear adhesive after fitting it in table. I’ve never had one issue with it. I will have to try the legs your husband made on the new sewing machine and table I just got. Thanks for the tip.

  19. Missie says:

    I’m confused on the legs, where did u get them, what are they called, can you show a hood close up?
    Are they adjustable & did you cut a bit out of the polycarbonate for them to fit into…

  20. Nancy McReynolds says:

    Love this! The router bits I am looking at show they are for wood, plywood, particle board etc. Is that what you used to route the edges, or did you opt for a specialty one?

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)