I don't have the room or the money for a huge expensive sewing cabinet, and being the innovative person that I am, I created my own design for a sewing table and because I work hard at my craft, I call it my Quilting Desk.
I started with 2 relatively inexpensive folding tables from SAM'S Club ($42 each in Anchorage, Alaska) that measure 2' wide x 4' long, some rigid foam insulation and clear vinyl - 54" wide and on a roll, in the fabric section of WalMart (JoAnn's probably has it too) $2-3 per yard. I use 2 tables because I quilt large quilts and I cannot have any drag on the fabrics as I am quilting them - I need a perfectly flat surface for several feet, all around the sewing machine.
After setting the height of the tables to just clear the tops of my thighs as I sit in my most comfortable chair at the table, I put my sewing machine on the table top and measured the height from the top of the table to the top of the stitch plate. It measured at 3½" and I purchased 2 pieces of rigid foam insulation - 1 piece of 2" thick x 8' long x 2' wide and 1 piece 0f 1½" thick x 8' long x 2' wide.
I cut the length of each piece in half, to make 4' sections, and then lay each 2" x 4' onto each table, then put the 1½" x 4' sections on top. Then I made the cut out for the sewing machine to fit in. I set the sewing machine on top of the foam insulation and positioned it as far away from me as I could comfortably sew and quilt. I like a lot of support space in front of the needle, to support a heavy quilt as I am quilting it.
I used a pen to mark a space around the sewing machine and set the machine aside. Using a serrated knife to cut the foam, I cut out the space for the sewing machine from both layers of foam. I started with a cut to just fit the sewing machine, but then went back and made it bigger because I wanted space to access the front loading bobbin area easily. I then made 1 straight cut through the top layer of foam only, to create even easier access to the bobbin. When I need to change bobbins, I just slid this piece out a few inches, giving my hand access to the bobbin area.
Lastly, I lay the clear vinyl over the top of the foam and around the sewing machine. This vinyl is so slick that everything including heavy quilts just glides right over it - sweeter than sweet! I put it in place and then cut out an area just larger than the feed dogs, and taped all 4 sides of the cut opening to the sewing machine. Because I have bad eyes and am a poor ¼" seamstress, I put a strip of black electrical tape (you can use masking tape or anything else you want) to mark the ¼" edge for quilting.
For inspiration and for fun, I slide photos, magazine pages and quilt patterns under the clear vinyl so that I don't always have to look at the blue foam. In the photo you can see that I also use the table top for my pressing surface (try not to notice how dirty my pressing pad is!).
In about an hour I had a custom Quilting Desk that is completely portable and stores easily. The tables have folding legs and they can fit in a closet and so can the blue foam insulation. Updated photos here....
This video shows the basics ...
This video shows how I convert the set up to support big quilts for machine quilting .....
Here are a few more notes and a mistake I made: