Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review of Sewsteady Wish Table - Flat Bed Extension

A flat bed is pretty much a requirement for quilting a quilt on a domestic sewing machine. It keeps the quilt from creating drag, helps keep the stitches be more even, gives more control to the quilter, and spares some sore muscles.   You can try to prop up the space with books and other things but that is difficult since it is hard to find the right number of books to make the table level, and they do move out of position.  I did that for several years, before I was ready to admit I was a quilter.

I then bought a sewing table for my Kenmore - a real table made especially for sewing machines where the table sits inside a lowered space so the bed of the machine is level with the table, and that worked well for it.  Unfortunately, my new machine does not fit in that sewing table, so I knew I needed something for my Huskvarna Viking that gave me a flat bed.  I've been saving up for it.

One day, I found this at a good price, and decided to go for it. The Sewsteady Wish Table (affiliate link) comes up with the extension table (the flat bed), and has some bonus things, like the drawer, a table lock, a vinyl cling ruler, and a circle sewing tool.

Decision Making

Deciding on whether to get the table, and what kind to get took me a while.  There are different sizes, and there is an option to get the table without the accessories.  I wanted to get as big a table as I could get that would fit on my desk where my sewing machine lives.  My table is pretty small, but I read the reviews, and they told me how far apart the feet are, and it seemed like it would just barely fit.  I wasn't too worried though, because I would always put the sewing machine on a bigger table for quilting. Having it fit on the desk would be preferable though.

The Purchase

Buying the Sew Steady Extension Table was very easy. Just put it in the Amazon basket and buy it.  A day or two later, they sent me an email requesting the make and model of my sewing machine and then they shipped it.  It didn't take long, because they apparently make several kinds and give you the one that is the best fit for your machine.  You don't need to measure anything.

They sent several emails asking me how I liked it, and telling me they wanted me to be happy, and asking me to write a review on Amazon. The first one came the same day they shipped it. It was nice that they wanted me to be happy.

Some Assembly Required

It came pretty quickly.  It does need some minor assembly.  Those black table legs have to be put in the spaces. That part is pretty easy.

Here you can see that the table leg just barely fits over the edge of the desk I am using. All the feet fit firmly on the table. I can use the table right where it is. Yay!

 Here you can see that the back table leg just fits on the desk too.  The table itself goes past the desk, but this does not cause a problem. You probably won't be cutting it so close when choosing a size, but I thought I would show it to you just in case.

Then you turn the bottom to move the legs up or down until it is even with the bed of the machine. This part was not as easy, because some of the legs required me to turn left to move up and right to move down, while the others were the opposite. So first, I had to figure out which turn did what before I could get it to do what I wanted.  And of course, to get them to work together, this required several turns. Still, that part isn't that hard. We're quilters; we have patience.

There is a vinyl cling that gives you the guidelines for sewing. I was really excited about this part because I thought it might mean I could do half square triangles without marking  You have to put the cling on your machine so you can see exactly how it will fit on the machine, and cut out the part where the table is cut to fit  the machine. Then take out the backing and position it under the table. The cling is very thin though, and even though I tried to be careful because of that, it ripped right away as I was trying to position it.

I did ask them for another one, but they told me I could buy one.

To place the table on the sewing machine, you have to take out the storage compartment.  On the one hand, this isn't a big deal, because you wouldn't be able to get to the storage compartment anyway once the table was over it, but it does mean one more thing to keep track of. It does fit under the table so it isn't that big a deal. A bonus is that the table comes with a drawer and it is clear, so you can see exactly where everything is. Another unexpected bonus is that there is room under the table to store more things out of the way but handy.

Everything seems to fit pretty well on the table and it is ready to sew.

Here you can see that the table isn't really custom designed for the machine, since it doesn't go all the way to the edge of the bed.

Test Drive

I tried it out by quilting some small quilts on it.  Because they were small, they probably wouldn't have created much drag anyway, but it was really nice not to have to worry about the quilt weight. I did a couple of those.

Now I am trying it on a bigger quilt, starting with quilting in the ditch with the walking foot.  The table does a great job holding up the quilt and avoids drag.  The quilt does get stuck on the edges of the table - the rounded edge at the front of the picture.  You do have to watch to make sure a part of the quilt isn't stuck there or on the edge on the other side, which would cause a bigger problem than the drag would, making the quilt hard to maneuver, and keeping the needle going over the same space over and over again, or making very small stitches.

Then I moved on to free motion quilting.  It worked fine for me, although Amazon does recommend the Super Slider (affiliate link) to help make the quilting even smoother.

The table is strong enough to hold the weight of the quilt, but you do have to be careful to put too much weight on it.  I wouldn't lean on it to help me get up after a long afternoon of sewing, for example.

Another thing to note is that I do have to move the table in order to get the bobbin cover off.  It is an easy matter of sliding it away and back. I haven't tried the table lock so I'm not sure how it would work with that.

The Circle Tool

The Circle Tool is a nice bonus to have. It helps you sew circles.  I had a hard time understanding the directions, and found a YouTube video that explained how to use it. Looking back at the directions, I'm not sure how they could have explained it differently, but basically the blue thing (they call it a pinmoor) faces up, and you put the two feet into the holes in the table. Find the center of your desired circle on the fabric. Take off the blue pinmoor and put that center spot of your fabric onto the needle that the pinmoor covered, and sew.  The tricky part when using embroidery stitches is to fix your stitch width so that the join between the start and the finish is smooth.

Also the circle tool makes fairly big circles. I haven't tested it yet to see what size circles it makes normally.  I am thinking of quilting my circle 365 quilt with circles.

In the sample above, I was trying to see if I could make a smaller circle. Since the tool wasn't properly positioned, it must have moved a bit, which is why it isn't circular. I am sure that when used correctly, it will be circular. It did leave a noticeable tiny hole in the center, which may be due to my not following the rules. I haven't tried it out past this so I couldn't say for sure.

Overall Impression

The table does work to provide an extended flat bed on the machine, making it easier to quilt. I originally thought the table was okay, but nothing spectacular.  But while I am quilting each quilt, I am thinking about how I am going to quilt the next quilt, and not thinking about the next new project I want to make.  This is not  normal for me, so this table should get credit for that. I'm not sure what they could do to keep the quilt from getting stuck on the edges, and it pretty much does what it says it does.

The flimsy vinyl cling and the weird feet hopefully are one time issues, but they do cause some minor issues.  I am going to give this four out of five stars.

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