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purchase custom built sewing desk

Jonagold | Posted in General Discussion on

I have sewn in our “formal” dining area for years. It is handy, has a view and I’m used to it.  However,every time  (not very often)we have dinner company, I need to move all the equipment and supplies.  I generally try to do marathon entertaining at this time so that I can be done and get back to sewing.

Perhaps because I hesitate to spend the chunk of money to design and implement a sewing area, I have put it –off-fallen into a rut, I guess.  We have space, that isn’t a problem.

I have priced Horne, etc. but have never felt comfortable with the quality, layout and it didn’t seem to “fit” me.  Periodically, I read the misc. ads in the paper, thinking I’ll find the perfect answer.

I’m about to check out a custom made 3/4′ oak sewing desk.  The pictures look great. It is 6 ft. long, 24 inches wide with an iron board, drawers, etc.  I have talked to the owner.  She lives in Alaska and can’t afford to move it.  She loved it.  It is heavy and probably not easy to move.  At this point money is probably not an issue although I wouldn’t want to spend thousands to add a sewing center.  I’m 64, do garment sewing, no grandkids to sew for, but I do love to sew and make nearly all my own clothes.  I imagine that we will be downsizing to a smaller home in the next 10-15 years.

The cabinet is $500, probably a steal.  Should I get this, if it looks fine, or spend some additional bucks, bite the bullet and design my own space with some cabinets from IKEA, hire a carpenter, pay the bucks and do it?  Will I want to move it?

Any thoughts would be so appreciated.  I feel so scattered about making this decision. 



  1. Megh | | #1

    I agree with your assessment of the purchase-able sewing cabinets.  My one complaint of them all is that they're designed with the entire sewing machine centered on the cabinet.  This does not take into account where the business end of the sewing happens - at the needle.  There are pitifully few cabinets designed with the needle area centered over the knee hole.  That said, how is the cabinet you are looking for set up?  Is the needle are at the center of the knee hole?  Thenk does the cabinet's exterior fit with the style of your dining room furniture?  Or could it be painted or easily modified by a cabinet maker to coordinate? 

    I've been sewing on an old kitchen table for the last 20 years (before that the sewing machine was on the dining room table...), until I can figure out what I want for a cabinet!    Meg

    1. Jonagold | | #2

      I will be certain to check the placement of the machine. The cabinet is in a storage unit.  I will be looking at it tomorrow.  I plan to take a chair and my sewing machine to check out the knee width and heighth.  I would put the unit in our family room.  From the picture, it is a beautiful piece of furniture.  There isn't a special place for the serger but the owner said she put her serger on the top.  The built in ironing board is on the right.  I would need a rolling cart for other supplies.


  2. mem | | #3

    Think of it this way .You have saved a lot of money by sewing everything , You obviosly love it and there no impediments to your doing this .What I would do is get the cabinet and then buy a matching linen cupboard with shelves and perhaps a set of drawers for you store fabic etc in I would design this myself and then get it made up in pine and paint it to fit in with your decor . I would have lovely doors and cornicing around the top so  that it really makes it a nice piece of furniture. I would then have a small table with a drawer under it which I would use as the serger table and when you have guests could be a side or sofa table with the serger stored in the cupboard . Then when you down size you can organize for one of your bedrooms to be your sewing room and also a guest bedroom.  But live for today as you never know whats around the corner!!

  3. diday | | #4

    The owner's in Alaska and you live how far away? Add shipping or your own transportation costs to get it. How does it break down, or does it need to be moved as a single unit, and how much manpower assist will you need?

    If it isn't a matter of urgency, make a list of pros and cons, one for the one in Alaska, and one for designing one to fit you. Design and price a custom built modular unit for yourself that you know you can take with you if/when you move to smaller quarters. Look at the long-term prospects for each and take that into consideration as well.

    More food for thought.


  4. clsosa | | #5

    I agree with Diane.  You need to figure in what it will cost to move the unit.  If it is too expensive for the owner to move, it may be more than you want as well.

     A friend of mine had a double door hutch customized to hold her sewing machine and supplies.  Because your space is in the common home area you may want to consider a hutch or armoire/wardrobe unit that you can simply close when company arrives.  A drop down padded ironing station could be included.  Just don't forget about providing good light.  My friend had a task light right over her machine, and a cork board behind the machine for instructions and inspiration pieces.

    More food for thought.  Cathy


    1. feismom | | #6

      I purchased a Horn sewing cabinet this past year and I love it - the sewing table height adjusts so the sewing bed can either be level with the rest of the table or raised for embroidery or free-arm sewing.  I sit in front of the needle with lots of knee space.  The table extends to the back and to my left about 5' x 5' - great for handling heavy/awkward fabrics.  I can also put the serger on my left or on the side - I have comfortably sewn with 2 sergers and the sewing machine out.  The unit folds up to push back against the wall and I've used it as a serving table at meals.  It would be easy to encase it in a nice wood cabinet and one of my supplier's other customers had hers built into a wall unit in the living room.  I built a stool on casters that doubles as a storage unit for one of the sergers and allows me to sit comfortably at any of the machines and roll back and forth to the cutting table (aka dining room table).  The top is upholstered to match the seat cushions in the room.  My second serger has its own roller bag for storage.

      Unless you are in Alaska, I would suggest checking out these special cabinets then investigating some custom wood cabinetry if the fine furniture look is an issue.  Shipping is expensive and risky - you wouldn't want gouges that could catch on finer fabrics, etc.  My family has had a grand piano extensively damaged in shipping and a massive gouge dug into the front of a solid walnut antique buffet in another move.

  5. mygaley | | #7

    I am a little confused:  is the cabinet in question close to where you live or is it in Alaska?  Have you seen it? Have you made a decision?  Very few things in this life are perfect--if you like it now, buy it, and at least you will learn more about what you really want, then when you downsize you will be in a good position to sell it or take it with you.  Galey

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