Blog, Sewing for Beginners

What is the best height for a sewing table?

By Jessica Strohlson

When putting together a sewing room for personal or professional purposes, it pays to take comfort and ergonomics into account. When putting together the ideal sewing area, your best bet is to create three separate workstations — a sewing table, a cutting table for fabrics, and a pressing table. 

The main differences between a sewing table and both cutting and pressing tables are straightforward enough, both in terms of utility and height. Because pressing and cutting tables are best used when a person is standing, those tables should be taller than the average height of a sewing table. The ideal sewing table is positioned comfortably for someone to sit down, work, and operate a foot pedal while keeping both hands free. Because of this, the average height of a sewing table is much lower than the average height of a cutting table or pressing table.

So, what is the best height for a sewing table exactly? In short, it all depends on the primary user and the most comfortable setup for them?

How tall should a sewing table be?

sewing table at a good height for standing or sitting

There are several considerations you need to take into account when determining the proper height for a sewing table. For one, all bodies are not created equal. Some of us go through each day without a spot of pain and have fluid ranges of motion up and down, side to side. Others struggle with chronic pain problems and ailments like carpal tunnel syndrome that need to be taken into account when setting up a sewing table for use. 

Most sewing tables are designed for what manufacturers consider the average height of a seamstress or seamster. So, if you’re five-foot-three or somewhere in that vicinity, consider yourself the target audience for most sewing table manufacturers. Per most sewing table companies, the suggested height for someone in this height range is 28 inches. But, this may not be the right height when you take other concerns like personal comfort, posture, length of use, and the actual height of your sewing machine into consideration.

The actual sewing surface of your sewing machine (where the needle hits fabric) is usually anywhere from 2 to 5 inches above your table’s surface. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, it could be an ergonomic nightmare if you have to lift your arms into unnatural positions for long periods.

One solution would be to purchase an adjustable sewing table that allows you to vary the height based on your personal needs and comfort level. With an adjustable sewing table, you can change the height ever so slightly for different sewing sessions and find out what height works best for you.

If you can’t find or afford an adjustable sewing table, use the rule of 28 inches as a guide. If you’re five-foot-seven inches tall, a 28-inch sewing table will likely be way too short for you. 32 inches might be more in your wheelhouse, give or take an inch or two based on your posture and desired setup.

The best way to figure this out for yourself is to set up your sewing machine on a normal table with your sewing chair. Measure the distance from the floor to the top of the table, and then measure the distance between where your sewing surface sits and your optimal height. Add or subtract from there to find your desired sewing table height!

Speaking of sewing chairs…

What should I look for in a sewing chair?

chair for sewing

Correlating the height of a sewing chair with the height of a sewing table is the best way to ensure your comfort when working with your sewing machine. Adjustable swivel chairs with firm support and comfortable cushions are the right way to go, and wheels with quality locking supports are also a major plus.

If you can’t find an adjustable chair, make sure that the chair you choose is at such a height where both your legs can fit under the table comfortably without touching it. However, a swivel chair is a near-must for those looking to stay organized and grab sewing materials and sewing supplies from tables and sewing cabinets around their stations. 

Don’t settle for a bargain chair with poor back support, or something of the like. Hours spent at the sewing machine in such a chair could have disastrous effects on your spinal health and muscle health down the road. 

What is the best height for a cutting table or pressing table?

wide crafting table for measuring fabric

According to most how-to guides for sewing, the average height of a sewing table is usually anywhere from 24 to 28 inches tall. But remember, sewing tables are made for seamsters and seamstresses to sit and work comfortably. Cutting tables and pressing tables, on the other hand, should be set up for you to stand comfortably and get tasks done with ease.

Naturally, that means that your cutting table and pressing table need to be significantly taller than your sewing table. But, how much taller? Per the same how-to sewing guides we referenced above, the average height of a cutting table or pressing table should be in the 36 to 40 inches range. 

Once again, this height range is for those with an average height of around five-foot-three. Taller and shorter seamstresses and seamsters will need to take their body types into account when setting up ideal cutting tables and pressing tables for use. 

(At no time should you settle for any sewing table, pressing table, or cutting table which is uncomfortable or hurts to use. And, you should always maintain proper body positioning while sewing to eliminate the threat of aches and pains after a particularly productive sewing session.)

What is the proper body position for sewing?

sewing a piece of cloth

The better your overall posture and body placement, the less risk for discomfort while sewing or afterward. When seated, try to keep the seatback of your sewing chair at anywhere from a 90 to 110-degree angle. Sit straight against the seatback and try to keep your feet planted on the floor, knees also positioned at a 90 to 110-degree angle.

Also, do your best to center your body with the needle of your sewing machine. The farther askew your setup is, the more opportunities for needless leaning and twisting — all of which could lead to serious physical issues down the road.

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