Fabric Cutting Table Buying Guide

The ideal cutting table is about three feet wide, four feet high and at least six feet long.

It also has storage shelves and drawers underneath to hold sewing and ironing supplies, fabric and all of your other sewing room essentials.

The only problem with owning an ideal cutting table is it is so big that it simply won’t fit in most home sewing areas.

If you are like most home sewers you have been at it for a very long time. Even if you have not been sewing long at all, you are probably cutting your patterns out on a kitchen or dining room table.

Perfect Table for Small Space

Perfect Table for Small Space

After all, practically every home has at least one table where meals are served. Many homes, however – even those with a separate sewing room – do not have enough space for the full size cutting table described above.

Most home sewers often find it necessary to make do and use their kitchen and dining room tables to pin and cut their sewing patterns.

The challenge in cutting on tables designed for dining is the fact that they are lower than necessary, requiring you to bend, twist and sometimes contort your body in very painful positions, causing undue stress on backs, shoulders and hips.

After doing this for long periods of time, this physical strain could result in chronic pain that we must endure for many years.

The best way to avoid it is to invest a little bit of time and money in an ergonomically designed cutting table, made specifically for the job at hand.

What to Look For

An ideal cutting table with drawers and storage shelves

An ideal cutting table with drawers and storage shelves

The ideal height for cutting fabric is what is commonly referred to as ‘counter height’. Stand at your kitchen counter and you can get a very good ideal of the best height for a cutting table.

Unless you are one of those people who prepares very few meals at home, do not even think about cutting fabric on your kitchen counters.

Even the cleanest of kitchens is not conducive to laying out large uncut pieces of fabric. You may have the height, but you certainly don’t have the width to consider using your kitchen countertop as a cutting table.

The good news is cutting tables come in all different types. If you have the luxury of living in a house or apartment large enough for you to have a separate sewing room, you may still not have enough space for a large cutting table.

Typically, a home sewing room is the smallest bedroom in the house, an attic or a corner in the laundry room.

Your Choices

If you do have a sewing room that is large enough to accommodate the ideal cutting table, count your blessings.

If, on the other hand, your sewing area fits the description of a typical home sewing space, consider one of the many folding cutting tables instead.

For an investment of about $100-$200 you can find a cutting table with leaves that drop down on both sides. When you are ready to lay out your fabric, simply open the leaves and you have a full size cutting table to work on.

If you are making smaller items, like a sleeveless blouse, clothes for a small child, a hat or a small purse, you might be able to get away with opening just one leaf.

When the job is done, simply drop the leaves and you have a smaller table, requiring much less space until you are ready to put it to work again.

If you have extremely limited space and cannot even spare space for a drop leaf cutting table, do not discount the notion of having a cutting table altogether.

Collapsible, hide away cutting tables are also available, including cutting tables made of corrugated cardboard that can be neatly tucked away in a closet or on a shelf.

The corrugated cardboard cutting table is not only lightweight, portable and easy to store, it is also economical.

Cardboard Cutting Board

Cardboard Cutting Board

You cannot expect it to last long, especially if you are using it on a consistent basis, but a cutting board made of cardboard is an economical quick fix when budget and space are major considerations. When folded up, it takes up less space than a full size ironing board.

At one time, we lived in a tiny apartment. Our sewing machines were set up in the bedroom on two small desks.

We used one of these corrugated cardboard cutting tables and a table top ironing board. When it was time to cut, we set the cutting table up in the living room and put the ironing board on the dining room table.

This was during a time when we were making practically everything we wore, so we were sewing at least two days every week.

We didn’t set up the cutting table that often, however. Our system always involved cutting at least five or six pieces at a time and then sewing until those projects were finished and starting over again.

We estimate that our corrugated cardboard cutting table was set up and taken down at least twice a month.

The material was much sturdier than a box made for packing fragile dishes or equipment, but cardboard just the same; and it did eventually show signs of wear and stress from all that use.

In the five years we lived in that apartment, wore out two cardboard cutting tables. Looking back, we believe it was an investment well made, considering the circumstances.

More durable fold away cutting tables are made with plastic tops and metal legs.

When not set up for use, they take up about the same amount of space as a folding card table or one of those folding utility tables that tuck away nicely in a closet.

In all honesty, the only reason we did not get one of these tables when we were in that tiny apartment was the closets were already filled to capacity.

Drop leaf cutting table mounted on casters

Drop leaf cutting table mounted on casters

These tables are available for approximately $100 and can often be found for less.

Today, we have a drop leaf cutting table that is mounted on casters. When it is not in use, we simply drop the leaves and roll it out of the way.

A more expensive version

A more expensive version

The top is made of pressed wood, covered in white laminate. It has black metal legs and black wheels.

With the leaves in the down position, my cutting table looks a little bit like a contemporary accent table until you notice the wheels on the bottom. A table like this costs approximately $140-$150.

A more expensive version of this same table includes drawers for storing your sewing supplies and fabric. This seemingly minor addition, however, drives the selling price up to more than $300.


Regardless of how long you have been sewing, the size of your sewing area or how often you sew, we strongly suggest that you add a cutting table to your inventory.

Not only will it make a big difference in your comfort level while cutting out your fabric, it will also make a significant difference in the way you feel years from now.

The type of cutting table you get depends entirely upon you, your budget and your space. It took us a very long time to go ahead and get our own cutting table.

If we knew then what we know now, we would never have put it off as long as we did.

Very few sewing instructors even mention the significance of using a cutting table. The merits of using a cutting table should have the same level of importance as sewing machine maintenance and care.

It doesn’t matter what type of cutting table you decide is best for your particular circumstances, you can purchase one from the comfort of your home at amazon.com.

If you feel you need the input and advice of an expert before making a final decision as which cutting table to purchase, visit your local sewing machine dealer.

In some cases, you will be able to purchase a cutting table on the spot. Be certain, however, that you are getting something that suits your needs.

Don’t buy a cutting table that is too large for your space. A beautiful cutting table that enables you to store all of your sewing supplies in one place is no good if you don’t have space to move around and be comfortable in your sewing area.

19 Responses

  1. Cam Morris

    Good Morning! Just found your website and love it! Your musings on cutting tables made me laugh. I’ve been sewing since I was old enough to hold a needle. I HATE HOT HUMID WEATHER, so I used to hide out in the basement of our house ‘listening to’ old movies and sewing my winter wardrobe. In our first house we had a huge old pool table that we used as a cutting table. Then I had an old dining room table that my mom and I used to use for laying out patterns, although to low as you stated, it worked perfectly! I’m still laying out my patterns on my dining room table, no other place with enough room. Most of my resent sewing has been designing and constructing duvet covers and throws. One a king sized monster made from elaborate extra wide fabric had to be laid out on the living room floor, after I moved all the furniture out the way! Of course our cat, Isis, thought it was invitation to play. So here I am trying to match the front with the back, crawling around on my hands and knees!

    My first sewing machine was a heavy solid metal, USA made monster from the early 60’s complete with embroider cams. Wish I’d never gotten rid of it. I moved up to a Viking Designer One and have had nothing but trouble with it! Sigh, wish I new where my old one was …

    Love your site and look forward to more of your postings.

    Cam Morris

    • Kitty

      Ms Morris, sorry to hear that your Viking Designer One is so annoying. I recommend taking it to the dealer and explaining your difficulties. If the results are unsatisfactory after a couple of attempts, see another Viking dealer. Sometimes a visit to another dealer (with a repair person on site) helps because they may have the experience to relate to what you are dealing with. I’m not a dealer; only a very satisfies Viking owner. I purchased my first one 39 years ago (top of the line with fancy stitch cams) and used it to sew every thing from wedding gowns to repairing boy scout tents. Yes, it still runs well. About eight years ago, I decided to upgrade and found a Bernina embroidery machine on sale. Bad idea. Oh the machine is fine but it took my brain a while to adjust to electronic machines. Thinking I’d made a mistake, off I went to my Viking dealer and purchased a used Quilt Designer. Loved it! And it, along with classes, helped me transition to the electronic sewing machine world. Eventually, it was traded in for the Viking Diamond–another big leap. I took the classes for it and am still learning. I have since learned to love my Bernina so I’m in heaven when I sew. I can get one machine going with embroidery and sew on the other. I keep my old Viking for when a friend wishes to join me and doesn’t want to bring her own along.

      Thanks to all for the ideas about a cutting table. I have the small house as referenced above and no basement or garage for storage. I’ll start measuring some corners for a good place to put a folding table.

      • Cam Morris

        Dear Kitty: This is so very funny, my experience almost the same as yours. I started on old machine with ‘cams’ and wish I’d never given it away! I did take my machine to a different dealer. One with an in-house technician that the owner of a local quilting store recommended and I couldn’t be happier now that’s fixed. Turns out some warranty repairs were never preformed and that was the source of all my problems. I’m still ‘upset’ with Viking. I lost the memory stick with the code to work my soft wear package and now find out it can’t be replaced. Not a happy camper. I was thinking about replacing the Designer one and found out they are making the machines in China now and they are mostly plastic. If I ever upgrade it will to a Bernina. At least they aren’t made in China and are still metal.

  2. Sue

    I recently moved to AZ and had to seriously downsize my sewing/craft room. I took my cutting table with me-dropleaf with casters-that has 2 open storage areas beneath. I used to store the cutting mat rolled in one area, but I could never get it to lie flat when I took it out to use it unless I let it sit for a few weeks. Since I don’t have the space in my new home I had to solve the problem. I permanently mounted the mat to the table top-then cut at the seam between the leaves. Voila! The mat is always on the table, mounted with lots of hot glue, and I can open one or two leaves as needed to use it. I love this solution! My first attemt using double sided duck tape was a sad failure. The AZ heat and the curve of the plastic mat pulled the mat away from the table-and wouldn’t stay adhered. So far-the hot glue is working fine. I didn’t want to use a spray adhesive-too many fumes and difficult to place on the first try. Hot glue is more forgiving.

  3. Eileene Gaiche

    Gotta tell yall about a yard sale that was ready to close up . I was “just in time” They saw dummy written on my forehead as I went in . I saw the neatest cabinet machine . Didn’t care what brand , that sucker was old. Looked it over He put it in the car , I left with the word “Sucker” on my BUTT and they loaded up and left. I got home with my prize. My honey unloaded it and busted out laughing . Boy , did he get “the look” then I saw it . NO MOTOR. NO wonder that robber was in such a hurry to close up . For $45.00 if I could have found him he would have eaten that wonderful machine. From now on I don’t care how much in a hurry they are I look very carefully. What a dummy.

  4. Nancy S.

    Can you please tell me the name of the cutting table in the first
    photo? I have never seen one like that. Thank you for you wonderful article.

    • Vernelle

      Hello, Nancy –

      Thank you for visiting Sewing Insight.

      When I wrote this piece three years ago, this table was available through several different online sources. Now, however, it seems as though it is no longer available. I did an extensive online search and could not find it at any of those sources. You might get lucky and find a cutting table like this at an estate sale, a re-sale store like Salvation Army or Goodwill, or perhaps a dealer that offers vintage sewing machines and accessories for sale.

  5. Catherine

    Try TraceysTables.com. I have not purchased nor seen this model in person, but it’s on my list to purchase. Perhaps it might work for you……….

  6. Barbara Aquilina

    Hi Nancy
    Barbara here from Australia ,we did have many discussions a few years back
    The Baraque Foldaway Cutting Table is still available in Australia .The US distributor was not able to continue due to ill health in the family ,so I am still looking for someone to take over from her .I still get enquiries for the tables but the freight for buying one off is prohibitive .If you can canvass your net work maybe we can get them happening again in the US
    Regards Barbara

    • Willie Moore

      Someone is making the foldaway cardboard cutting in the USA right now. Hot off the press! I just purchased mine from Amazon. The website is called That-Table.com. They are located in Sugar Land, Texas. It is actually sturdier than the one by the Sew Fit company from years ago. It comes with the 40 inch legs and the inch markings are darker and bigger. I am sure you will love it just as much as the other one Just got mine May 17,2016. Love, love, love it!!!

  7. Kristy

    I don’t know if maybe I don’t see enough, or what, but I have a cardboard cutting surface like the one you say you went throuh two of. I’ve had it for several years, and I inherited it from my husbands grandmother, who I know used it for decades. Maybe the old ones were more sturdy?

    My aunt had a nice big folding table with casters like that black and white one, and it was so handy on Thanksgiving. It was the same height as her kitchen peninsula, and covered with a festive table cloth, it made a handy place to set the cooling pies.

  8. Peggy

    I found this cutting table that everyone might find very convenient to have and use. Go to this website to view it http://www.that-table.com. It seems to be very good for laying out fabric and cutting pattern pieces.

    • sewsister

      Ingenious. I am considering this since cutting on my dining room table is really taking its toll on my back. Thank you!

  9. Mark Quinn

    Here in the UK I have for sale 3 x Very Large Textile cutting tables 1) 35ft x 7ft 2)35ft x 5ft and 3)20ft x 4ft. Sturdy wooden tables with rubber covered top fitted with a 400 inch tape.

    Also a 6 reel sewing machine, Factory Clearance, only sensible offers replied to, buyer must dismantle and remove.

  10. Brenda Reed

    Hello Vernelle,
    My granddaughter wanted to learn how to sew, so after 30 years of not sewing I returned. I was having extreme back pain trying to cut out my fabric that I would have to sit down after cutting out one piece. I thought I had to abandon the notion of sewing. However, after reading your article on tables I realized my table was too low. I had purchased a 6′ utility table that folds up. I decided to buy bed risers for the table legs and it worked perfectly.

    Also, I enjoy reading your sewing machine reviews. After reading your review on the Janome MC6500 I wanted one but didn’t want to spend that much money. I ran across the Singer S18 Studio a clone of the Janome MC6500 at a little less than $600 so that’s what I purchased. I love the machine and it operates smoothly, quietly and has beautiful stitches. There are 3 machines in the Studio series: S10, S16 and S18. Have you ran across these machines?


  11. Diane

    4′ high? 3′ wide? Should it be 3′ high and 4′ wide. I’m 5’2″ and couldn’t use a table 4′ high.

  12. Gordon Kelley

    I have one of your sewing tables and love it. It`s the `drop leaf cutting table mounted on casters`, but in the process of moving it one time I had to remove the wheels and lost one of them and have no idea where to buy another wheel. Any way you could help me in finding one would be very much appreciated. Thank you.

  13. Sandra

    I thank you for your article on cutting tables. It was very was informative. I am looking for a sturdy folding adjustable height cutting table with locking wheels. Can you recommend any such tables costing approximately $150.00?


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