The cutting table is a very useful tool that is often overlooked by a lot of sewers. Most are content with using the floor or their dining table as their work area. A good cutting table can actually improve and speed up sewing because it provides a large, flat workspace. This permits the sewers to completely spread out their fabric without the risk of snagging or staining. It also allows for the clothes pattern to be laid out over the fabric in a way that would maximize the cloth and make cutting much easier.
Buying a cutting table for your home or sewing studio could set you back at least a hundred dollars. Fortunately, with a few simple materials and basic woodworking skills, you can make your very own wooden cutting table.
- Draw out the dimensions of your cutting table. The first step is to figure out how long and how tall your cutting table should be. Ideally, the table should be broad enough that a yard-wide fabric can be laid out on top of it. The length can range from six up to eight feet, depending on your sewing area. Additionally, the table should stand at your waist height, to keep you from stooping while you work. For this project, you can use 3’x7’ plywood that is ¾ inch thick.
You will also need some wood measuring 2”x4.” This will be used for building the frame for your table top and the legs of our cutting table. You can also purchase pre-made wooden or metal legs from any home improvement store instead. Draw the plans for your cutting table. When you buy the wood at your local lumberyard, have them to cut the pieces as specified in your drawing.
- Build the table. Smoothen any rough surface on your wood pieces using sandpaper. Build a frame for your table top using the 2”x4” lumber. Make sure that the frame goes around all of the edges of your table top. Attach another piece of lumber in the middle of the wooden frame to support the plywood. Secure the plywood table top onto the frame using wood screws. Put four 2”x4” wood pieces at the corners of the constructed frame and attach them from the sides and the top with screws as well. This will serve as the legs of your table. If you opted to purchase pre-made table legs, attach these to the frame with the nuts and bolts that came with them.
- Cover the table top with cork or wallboard. Cutting boards are usually covered with cork so that sewers can stick pins into the surface. Cork sheets can be bought from your local office supply stores or any crafting shop. You can also cover your table with wallboard or homosote. It does not chip away like cork and provides a sturdier surface for cutting. However, this material could be quite difficult to source and you might have to call several lumberyards or builders supply shop to be able to buy some. Have the store cut the cork or wallboard cut the material about two inches longer than the dimensions of your table top.
Using contact cement, or a staple gun, fasten the cover material on your table top. Weight it down with heavy objects to ensure that it sticks and stays flat. If you used contact cement, let the adhesive dry completely before flipping the table and trimming the excess cork or wall board. You can do this using a very sharp utility knife.
To further protect your table top when you cut fabric patterns, it is advisable that you cover the entire surface with a plastic sheet or brown paper. You can also staple a measuring tape along one of the long sides of the cutting table. This will allow you to take measurements without having to unroll and hold down your tape measure.