One of my better purchases has been the Arrow Gidget 2 Sewing Table. Note: I’m missing a few pics…gotta take new ones, I guess. 🙁 But if you go to the links, there are decent pics of this table on Amazon.
When I resurrected my sewing habit in 2012, I had *very* little room for a sewing table. I was living in a two bedroom condo with 3 other people depending on me. Space was cramped. Big time.
Dimensions: I bought the Gidget II table because I could fit it into one end of my dining room area and still having usable dining room table space (for sewing, not eating! lol). The table measures approximately 40″ wide by 19.75″ from front to back. It stands with a 28.25″ deep height.
Adjustable Drop Down for Your Machine: This is a biggie. The underside picture on ~~~this page~~~ doesn’t show the chain and adjustable wingnut screw mechanism that allows you to set the perfect height adjustment to lower your machine for free motion quilting (FMQ). I found that I had to remove some of the length of chain to get a perfect setting for my machine.
It takes a little bit of fiddling to get the chain/screw thing set correctly. You probably wouldn’t want to go through this if you were using this table for several machines – unless the free arm of the machine is identical in height from the table on each of the machines, you’d have to spend some time to tweak the table’s settings to get a nice fit.
I originally had a Janome 7700 (as big as the 8200, 8900, etc) that I was using when I got my Gidget 2. The Janome came with an acrylic extension table. By using that extension table with the Gidget 2, you can easily get the height to adjust perfectly for a solid sewing surface.
If your machine came with an acrylic extension table that allows you to take the legs off of it, you probably will be able to use that instead of buying the insert/extension from Arrow. Either way, this is still a great, inexpensive setup for FMQ’ing.
The Janome 7700 and my Babylock Ellisimo Gold are both big, heavy machines. They weigh just as much as any Bernina, Viking, Pfaff, Brother, or other wide harp machine. The opening to allow the machine to drop down into the lower position is 23.75″ wide.
Janome/Elna makes a table that is almost exactly this size – but not portable. That table cost about $600 around here. And yeah… if you got ***nailed*** on a high price for a machine to fit that thing, they would throw it in for “free”. (yeah. riiiight.) My point is: that table didn’t even have a raised position option. You always had to sew with the machine sunk in. Personally, I would hate that. I sew with my machine sitting up in the high position (probably an old-dogs-new-tricks-thing) more often than not.
One consideration when dropping down the machine is that the power & foot pedal plugs still fit. I can’t speak for other machines, but both the Janome & Ellisimo don’t have any problem here.
The knee lifter lever fits nicely after you drop the machine down, too. It works well with the machine in the high position, too.
Portability: At the time I needed a decent table to sew on, I didn’t have an extra bedroom to spare – and I’ll *never* go down into a basement to sew. I really bought this for permanent home use. This table was a perfect fit. I also thought as a side benefit, at the time I bought it, that it would be a great take-to-classes / group sew-ins table. While it has some great rollerblade type wheels that allow you to roll it, I don’t find this thing all that handy to take anywhere because it’s so stinkin’ heavy – the shipping weight was about 35 pounds… the table probably weighs close to 30 of that.
In my opinion, for the need of taking a table to a 2 or 3 hour class… or even a 4 or 5 hour group sew-in… I leave this thing at home and take 2′ x 4′ folding table instead. Three reasons the folding table wins out: 1) Weight, 2) size when folded – my table folds to 2 feet quare… and 3) I don’t want to nick or bang up my Gidget 2 table. I really *hate* working with beat up tools. I love everything pretty and new. So I prefer to do things to keep it that way. I don’t mind a $40 folding table getting a little messed up.
I would break my rule on this if my mission for the time away from home was for FMQing. Then, being able to sink the machine down into the table (making the top sewing surface flush!) is an awesome feature.
Stability/Vibration: In my previous home, I had this parked on carpeting. Now it’s on a wood floor. For me, I’m personally fine with the sturdiness and stability. In my opinion, this is a benefit to the table being as heavy as it is – it makes it more stable and doesn’t vibrate unless you do some crazy-high speed sewing.
So for the type of sewing I do, I rarely want to go full speed. I tend to make smaller objects and I seem to get obsessed with smaller, really quirky projects that high speed just isn’t needed. I just don’t need to put the pedal to the metal when I’m working with a 10″ seam. lol
When I have wanted to go really fast (to overcast the edges of a project, for instance) .. yes… the table vibrates. As long as I only use about 70% of the speed available* , no shaking or vibrating. For the rare times this is an issue, I can soooooo overlook it compared to the benefits of having this table. I don’t think there is another option for this size or price that would deliver more stability. It just comes with the territory of not having my big ass machine on a $2,000 Koala table. 🙂
Price: At the time I purchased from Amazon.com, the price was about $170 with free shipping. Can’t beat that.
Cons: If you’re a high speed sewer most of the time, you’re probably not going to like the vibration. If you can slow down and meditate a little… lol… or the need for high speed just isn’t important to you, I will bet you will love this table. But all of that said, if you want something like this with the benefits of it’s small footprint, low price, choice of flatbed use or raised machine position, & portability, I don’t think you can do better than this table.
Two years later: Short answer = I still am very happy with this purchase.
I’ve been out of that small condo for over a year now & moved into a glorious 4 bedroom house. My sewing “corner” (big “corner”! lol) takes up 1/2 of the family room. I *still* love this table. I use that 2′ x 4′ folding table to my left – it holds a medium cutting mat & makes a great place to have my portable Rowenta iron handy next to me while sewing – as well as it holds lots of other tools and such. That iron is great, by the way! Especially in summer, you don’t have a big iron throwing all of that heat. This little thing is still got some good heat to it, but I love being able to do detailed pushing of seams over with the edge on this iron. Enough about that… but I just love being able to have it next to me – saves soooo much time!
I even spent a few hours one day figuring out how to fit a studio full of Koala into one side of my house. At the end of the day, though, I’m not so sure I would enjoy that furniture taking up my entire living room/dining room enough to outweigh how much I like being cozy in the family room here. And there simply isn’t room enough for the nicer Koala pieces and still have any other seating in the family room.
I keep thinking how nice it would be to have drawers, etc.. but at the end of the day, I kinda don’t think so. I have lots of knee room to move easily between the table on my left and the Gidget. It’s very comfortable to work on goofy projects this way.
Also, I love my scrapmabob thingie (here’s the other post that shows the selvedge edge bag I made for mine) – I love having my drink off the table & the convenience of that little trash bag. That wouldn’t work on many of the other table options that I’ve entertained.
Hope this info is helpful!
PS.. if you click on any of the links above and it leads to you purchasing the item, I do receive a small commission down the road. Just know, please, that your click is appreciated. It helps cover the expenses of running this site and also helps to justify the time I spend on writing content like this. and… any leftover money winds up helping my dentist get new accessories for his Mercedes. lol 🙂
* – About high speed sewing: On the Ellisimo machines, different stitches have different top speeds. So the “1,000 stitches per minute” (or whatever this thing is marketed to do at top end) isn’t true for all stitches. An extreme example is if you put your cutter foot on …. that thing is slow as molasses. 🙂 Just a trivial thing to to think about if you’re really judging speeds.