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Sewing Machine Cabinet Recommendation?

lenabena | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I am in the process of turning my junk room into a sewing room/guest bedroom.  I want to include a sewing machine cabinet with ample storage that also looks good.  I remember when my Mom had sewing machines, they all came with beautiful cabinets made with real wood and good hardware.  Now everything is melamine and with exposed, ugly hardware.  Does anyone have recommendations on “quality” sewing machine cabinets that are also functional?



  1. MegVT | | #1

    Whatever sort of furniture you choose, be sure that as you sit at your machine you do not have to lean to the left to manipulate the fabric through the needle.  Many cabinets are designed to center the entire machine in the cabinet.  The business end of the machine is then over to the left, which means you have your body out of alignment in order to stitch.  Look for cabinets which have the needle area of the machine in the center of the knee-hole so you can sit straight!  Those cabinets might cost a good deal of money, and you might be interested in checking out a local furniture maker.  That way you could get a piece of furniture made to your exact dimensions, and constructed with materials you selected!


  2. Elisabeth | | #2

    I agree, those old cabinets are functional and so attractive. I'm not into the fake wood in many contemporary cabinets either. Sometimes you can find the old cabinets for a reasonable price on ebay, garage sales, actutions, etc. maybe in need of some tlc if you enjoy that kind of project. A nice wood tabletop, such as those IKEA sells in various sizes and are quite attractive, can be put on any number of dresser, file cabinet, desk combinations that you may even already have. It is nice to have enough space around your sewingmachine to work on a large project.

    My dad recently got two good looking blue metal tool chest things from Sears with wide flat drawers and had a custom sassafras wood top made to span the two for a large computer desk area. Every time I see it I mentally salivate and imagine my sewing machine and all my threads and goodies perfectly placed in all that space. Not that I want tool cabinets in my sewing room but they are so perfect for small thing storage!

    Kitchen furnishings can have the right height for cutting tables. One of those center island work tables on wheels comes to mind, but you are making a bedroom. Maybe an antique type sideboard for storage and pressing height area. I enjoy looking at the IKEA catalog for ideas on how to use what I already have at home. The designers there come up with lots of clever and unusual ways of using their wares. I'm in no way affiliated, just enjoy their ideas.

    That all said, I once saw a video of the Koala sewing cabinets and was impressed with the ingenious ways they fold to look like a nice regular cabinet when not in use. But I have a feeling those are laminatied stuff.

    Good luck with the happy project!

  3. mem1 | | #3

    What i have done is had a bench installed in an L shape across my sewing room and then installed two nests of drawers under it . One like a deep pots and pans drawers and one smaller like cutlery drawers. I have my machines organized so I can swivel between my machine and overlocker and my embroidery machine is Up the bench a little.Doing it this way has enabled me to get everything the right height and I have been able to house all my bits and pieces along with the help of a wardrobe which I picked up in a junck shop installed shelves in and painted.I cansit nice baskets on top of the wardrobe . These have my patterns in them. and store the machines inside  the wardrobe along with my huge fabric collection. if I need to tidy up.The big drawers are great for storing interfacing on rolls and also for rulers  etc. I also have invested in a Horn craft table which is great for cuyying out and folds down to a very small item given its folded out size.. 

    I would sit down and right down a wish list and then look at how you can achieve it . I couldnt have done it with one piece of furniture .

    1. edgy | | #4

      I have a hollow=core door over 2 Elfa drawer units at the exact height I need. The cabinets were too "set in stone" when I was creating my studio. I sort of went by feel and added shelves, etc.nancy

  4. stitchwiz | | #5

    My sewing room evolves every time I change spaces (not necessarily moving house).  The last time I 'shopped' for my sewing room, I was at a school board auction and picked up 3 desks to make a U-shaped work station.  If I can get another desk it will be a J-shaped work station.

    Each desk is about 5' long, made to seat 2 students with a bin for each below (open front and back).  The arbourite surface is smooth enough for fabrics to glide across.  I keep it polished with a spray type high gloss finish.  And I have been known to pencil notes to myself on it.  (My kids have all 'talked' to me about writing on the desk - it erases easily and doesn't damage anything.)  The legs are fully adjustable so I was able to put them at the right height for me.  (I have always had a problem with work tables because I have short legs and a very long torso.)  The foot on each leg turns with about an inch of adjustment so I can level each corner as needed if the floor is a little off level - great for those cement basement floors which are never quite right or for the room with a carpet tacking strip around the perimeter, no need for little shims or wedges.  The bins have space for things that I need access to but don't need to have out all the time, I just found flat baskets that just fit the opening and some are divided into small compartments with little bins from the dollar store.

    The U-shaped configuration has changed according to the changing needs of my family.  The one I liked best was having the end desks butting against the short ends of the centre desk, I even had room for my video machine and a monitor in the corner!  I set up my main sewing machine on the long side of centre desk, another sewing machine on the left side, a small ironing station beside the serger to the right side, and my steam table behind and to the right.  My sewing chair has many miles on the wheels!  I have a 10 1/2 foot cutting table in the centre of the room with baskets of interfacing, lining fabric, etc underneath. 

    I'm considering having a hinged panel with a gate leg support added to the centre desk to give me more room behind my machine for big projects.  A 4th desk would do the same thing if I find one.  I got the idea from Kaola.

    Not bad for a $6 investment!  At $2 each I couldn't go wrong.  I spent more on the baskets and little boxes for the bins underneath.  Don't be afraid to think outside of the box. 

    A hand crafted piece of furniture will always be a pleasure to work with - but if your space changes, you may need to rethink your work station.  I have often wanted a beautiful sewing station, but form must follow function - if it looks great and doesn't work well, I would go crazy. 

    I have seen the Kaola DVD.  They are made out of MDF (medium density fibreboard) and have a beige, white or woodgrain type finish.  It is some type of finish like the stuff you find on the shelves as the building centre.  They do look pretty good, except that the interior isn't the same as the exterior except for white and pecan, I think.  It doesn't look as nice when you see a different colour when the cabinets are open for use, and let's face it, most of use like to leave our stuff out, so they will be open most of the time.  When everything is put away, it does looks beautiful.

    If we ever get to the stage where we know we won't be moving my sewing stuff anymore, I may have a custom made sewing station made out of components that can come apart (for the next sewer who gets it, of course).  Meanwhile, my school desks are like old friends with many projects crossing their surfaces.

    Have fun checking out the library for books on how to design your work space.   Read up on how others have done theirs.  Sewers are problem solvers .  Some people pay big bucks to the interor designers.  Be your own best customer.  Figure out how you work the best and try to make your space fit the way you do things.  List what you need to work efficiently and find a way to give it to yourself.  The journey can be a lot of fun!

    Good luck!

    Edited 6/20/2005 7:42 pm ET by stitchwiz

  5. mimi | | #6

    Lenabena:  My husband found an old turn of the (20th) century singer sewing machine cabinet for about $20 bucks at a junk shop over thirty years ago.  He refinished it and I have been using it ever since.  I still see them at swap shops and flea markets, so if you are willing to put a little sweat equity into one, you can have a real conversation peice.

    At first my mechanical singer fit in it with no modifications needed and I would just fold it down and close the sewing leaf over the top.  My next (and current) machine is a Kenmore and no longer fits in the well of the machine.  We built a platform out of scrap pine and sealed it, attaching cleats to the underside of the platform to keep it from slipping about.  My sewing machine is bolted to this through the bolt holes that would have attached it to the cabinet.  Now if I want to close the cabinet I take the platform containing the machine off, put it in the closet or under my cutting table.

    We made the cutting table after my daughter moved to Atlanta almost two and a half years ago; her room became my sewing room!  If you want details for the cutting table, let me know :)


    Edited 6/29/2005 2:27 pm ET by mimi

    1. AuntBarb | | #7

      Lenabena - Check the Internet.  If you truly want wood, you will  find some new ones there.  Otherwise, Check Horn.

      1. Teaf | | #8

        I agree that a used cabinet will fit the bill, but I agree with Meg about the positioning of the machine with respect to the left leg of the cabinet.  My dad repaired a cast-off cabinet for my machine: it's beautiful and very stable (another important consideration).  I love it, but my left leg is always pressed against the cabinet's left leg, and I come away from long sessions with bruises.  A large, flat surface as the others have suggested, where I could decide where to put the recess, would be heaven!

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