Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Perfect Sewing Table for a Grasshopper

When sewing with the Elna 1 "grasshopper," I noticed that if the table top was too high I had a hard time making contact with the knee controller. I started searching for something to sew with the grasshopper—it had to be something low enough to make it comfortable to sew with the knee controller but small enough to be portable to put away when not in use (or to make it easy to travel with).

I remembered seeing those old-style metal typewriter tables when thrifting, the kind with two leaves that fold up/down and sturdy rolling wheels. I wondered if they might work, and about 6 months later found a vintage metal Hon typing desk in an antique shop up in Wisconsin. Looking at the typing desk in person, it seemed like just the thing, and the price was right!

My husband helped me take the dirty old thing apart, paint it, and put it back together with new hardware. The only thing we couldn't replace were three of the four missing rubber adjusting feet on the legs, which allowed you to level the table after lowering it to the floor from the wheels. We added some plain rubber feet, but it's not quite the same as the originals. Still, it does work well!

The grasshopper fits PERFECTLY on top of the table, and the knee lift comes to a comfortable height for me to use. 

The leaves make for plenty of space for notions and tools. While the Elna 1 sewing case that transforms into an extended sewing area DOES NOT fit on the typing table, that's perfectly okay for me. I'm planning on using the machine and table for small piecing and sewing, so the free-arm will work just fine for me.

The only possible drawback to this set-up is the narrow leg space under the table. There's just 14.5 inches between those front bars, and that "I" beam at the base of the table leaves little room to move your feet. This restriction hasn't bothered me at all, but it might feel claustrophobic to some. Also, note that there is no space for a foot control under there! Believe me, I tried to use this with a Singer 221 featherweight, and there is not one comfortable place at all to use a foot control.

If you like what you see, start searching thrift stores and antique shops for one of these old, metal typing tables! I keep seeing theme here and there throughout the Midwest, so there are still plenty out there!

Happy stitching with your vintage machine!

1 comment:

Deborah Hamilton said...

That's a great idea! You did a good job restoring the table. It looks brand new. The ELNA is such a cute little machine.