Drop-in sewing tables are created by the addition of a sewing machine lift mechanism installed under the table's surface. The sewing machine lift supports a platform to which the sewing machine is attached. The lift's pneumatic mechanism raises and lowers the sewing platform, allowing the sewing machine to be lifted above or even with the table, and dropped straight down into the table for storage. With some basic woodworking tools and skills, you can build a custom sewing table or alter a standard sewing table to work as a drop-in sewing machine table.
Buy or create a plan for a wood table or desk that will fit your sewing space. The surface of the desk or table should be about 70 cm (28 inches) from the ground, and it should have a solid panel back underneath the work surface. Build the table as instructed, if you are starting with a plan rather than with a table to modify.
Buy a sewing machine lift mechanism. These pneumatic devices, which cost around £104 as of January 2011, can be bought online or from a local business.
Attach the lift mechanism to the back panel under the table. Determine where the lift plate will connect under the table's work surface. On the top of the desk, mark a rectangle large enough for the sewing machine, cords and accessories to pass through. Ensure the rectangle is centred around the lift plate.
Cut out the rectangle, separating it from the table's surface. Start the hole using a drill or Dremel tool and continue cutting with a saw. Use care and do not damage the piece being removed.
Sand the cut edges of the cut-out rectangle and the hole. If desired, paint or stain the raw edges.
Use screws to attach the rectangle to the lift plate. Align the rectangle on the plate so that when the lift plate is at the highest position, the rectangle fits neatly within the hole.
Adjust the stopping height of the lift stops so that the middle height places the sewing machine's work surface even with the top of the table. Attach your sewing machine using bolts.
You can simplify your project by buying a table instead of building your own. Look for a table about 70 cm (28 inches) high. The top should be wood or another machinable material, and it should have a solid panel back underneath the work surface.