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Message Board > Sewing Spaces > Sewing cabinets ... ( Moderated by Deepika)

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Sewing cabinets ...
What do you like in your's?
KevenHester
KevenHester  Friend of PR
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TX USA
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thumbsup 1 member likes this.
Date: 12/21/12 6:53 PM

Evening, all ...

Please forgive me for begging off your combined expertise and years of experience again. Could you please share what you like, don't like and would like to have in your sewing cabinet/furniture.

Being I've recently added a serger to the mix, it's time to upgrade from my current set up to something that allows for two machines. Well, I spent today checking out sewing furniture options offline.

The closest thing I'm seeing to what I have in mind is the Koala DualMate Plus IV. However comma ... I want too much. I want the cabinet to kind of match the two pieces of furniture I plan to leave in the dedicated room as storage - and they are both Henkel Harris' mahogany. None of the finishes Koala offers will match or blend. So, I've convinced my husband to build me a cabinet. He can do with wood what I wish I could do with fabric (and one day will).

He told me he'd do it "once" so for me to get it all right the first time. LOL! If you could do it from scratch, what would you like incorporated? And height? My intention is to have this to use as a sewing cabinet AND cutting table (with extensions incorporated).

Thanks, y'all!

elizajo
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elizajo  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/21/12 11:40 PM

I would love to have a standing height cabinet with spaces for sewing machine(s). Then you could cut, stand to sew, or use a drafting chair, which would require a platform for your feet and pedal.

------
Elizabeth

Pj3g
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Pj3g  Friend of PR
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In reply to KevenHester <<
thumbsup 4 members like this.


Date: 12/22/12 9:02 AM

Am going to throw this out there as I really don't read alot about this....

I have 3 SM's and 3 sergers but no dedicated sewing space. I always have to get out and put away machines. If ever I have a sewing room, all my machines will be on an L shaped table with the most used 2 in the corner, then the next 2 to the right and left, and then the next 2. They will all have beautiful covers to keep dust out but my ultimate plan is NOT having to put them away....ever again!

And I would have a very large cutting cabinet with tons of storage in it. I'd want it to be at least 6 X 4 feet X 38 inches high. How wonderful it would be to NOT have to set up for cutting!!! Actually, cutting is only a partial of what you use your cutting table for in a sewing room so you won't want to put the cutting mat away to get out your machines.

Although all the sewing cabinets with lifts are impressive they are not something I would ever consider as for me they mean get out, set up, take down.....over and over again. Suppose you have everything put away and the table set up for cutting but you suddenly have to do a quick mending. All the changeover to get out a machine for that.

If you have the space, make a sewing table and separate cutting table. You will sew so much more.

------
Thank you Lord for my Mother who taught me the joy of sewing, for my Father who encouraged my sewing, for the talent You gave me to sew, and for all the special people in my life to sew for.

SandiMacD
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SandiMacD  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/22/12 9:24 AM

I posted a lot on my PR Dual Plus Review and lots of photos. I am growing much more fond of it- even enjoying it for the most part.
The best part is the flexibility of having the side tables- taking them on and off. I love the height and foot rest options and chair. Consider getting that chair if your husband builds the Plus height. I like that height for standing and sewing options.
If I could do over I would order 2 Cubs in plus height. I am still thinking of ordering one Cub to go with my current set up.
I have an Ellisimo and it needs more room. On the Koalas that allow 2 machines, there are only a few inches to the right or left depending which end you place it on. Putting it in the center would give me a decent work table space on each side-not just a few inches.
The Koala table top insert does not allow enough space for the Ellisimo or Evolution to go up and down. Have your husband measure your machines and cut the top out do that it can go up and down with the accessory tray in place- and everything else you want- like if you like the knee lift.
You can get away with ordering the standard size airlift for him to put in but the cut out needs to be larger for TOLs- if you have one.
I would not order the shelves for the extension. I love the extension when I am working but I like the clean look of dropping the extension between uses. Shelves are too much work to remove and store so I left them up. I think I could do without an extension (I don't make quilts) and had a separate table at the correct height against another wall for cutting and ironing.
I wish Koala offered real wood. You are right. I had to put it in a separate room after delivery because it looked so cheap compared to my other wood grain furniture. They claim it is because the edges are precisioned using veneer. Truthfully, my inherited wooden tables have edges that don't snag fabric and don't chip like the veneer. I think they don't offer wood because of profit margins- it would cost 8-12k to use wood.
I don't think the airlift is very useful. I like mine set up and ready to go. Plus they don't fit through using the airlift.
I do love the locking casters- I can move it around, clean, re-arrange and lock into place.
But I am going to get a Cub Plus so have enough room on either side. The side extensions are needed for setting up a quick press station and sewing notions leaving no place for the fabric pieces being sewn.

-- Edited on 12/22/12 9:36 AM --

------
sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

2 Airedales n Me
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2 Airedales n Me  Friend of PR
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Date: 12/22/12 4:46 PM

My apologies....this is LONG...

You are so lucky to have a handy husband...and one willing to make you some sewing furniture!

I have a wonderful cutting table that is 41" high (I'm nearly 5'11" tall). I can comfortably stand and cut out, design and use for other crafts. The laminate top measures 7 feet long and 4 feet wide with smooth, rounded edges where possible. The top extends past the actual cabinet by about 12" on one end so I can pull a stool if I want. If you can, try to access the table from at least three sides - all four is even better. That way you will never need to move your fabric for marking or cutting out.

I have a separate piece of 3/8" plywood covered with wool and then canvas (taut) that I can set on top of the laminate when I need a large ironing surface. It might be possible to put this on a hinge from one side of the table. If the plywood is too thick it gets very hard to handle for one person (too heavy). My table has drawers all along one side and shelves on the other. The drawers keep your tools within reach.

This cutting table is on very large, strong wheels. The bigger and stronger, the better. Too small and you'll struggle to move the unit. I've used this table for about 12 years and still love it as much as day one.

Two years ago I decided to get a sewing machine/serger cabinet. I looked at all the ready-made brands but decided I didn't want to spend $4000. I went to a kitchen shop and designed my own. In the end I spent MORE than $4000 and truly....I'm not in love with what I got. It's very sturdy but I could have done nearly as well with IKEA for 1/4 the price.

There are some things I love about my cabinetry such as: L-shaped (essential I'd say) so I can swing my office chair from machine to machine. Dropped area for the machines so they are level with the countertop and at the right height; also means I have a large surface for my fabric to lay on. There is a method for determining the correct height for sewing - I'd recommend doing some internet searching on that.

I also love that I had 12" wide drop-down extensions added to each "leg of the L" so if I have something large I can expand the work surface. The extensions are on piano hinges with some really strong mechanisms to bring them level and drop them down (I got the hinges through the kitchen store).

Finally I had them make me a separate little unit that can line up exactly to my main table (again to extend the surface) but it's on wheels so I can push it away if I don't need it. It also has drawers in it.

There is a set of drawers beside both the SM and serger areas. The top three drawers are shallow-ish (for bobbins, notions etc.) with drawer organizers. The bottom drawer for each of the three banks is about 12" deep and wide enough so two rows of sewing patterns can fit side-by-side. There's a narrow divider between the two sides. I keep all my TNT patterns in those drawers so they're always handy.

I agree with one of the reviewers who said the air-lift systems are not necessary. I spoke with several friends before designing my table and they all said they don't use them.

I hope you get all kinds of tips and suggestions from others that will help you design just the right unit. I do have one strong recommendation: once you think you have the correct dimensions for your cabinet, cut it out in craft paper or newspaper and lay it down in your sewing area. I really wish I'd done that as my unit is a bit too large for the space. Too late now for me!! Have fun.


-- Edited on 12/22/12 4:47 PM --
-- Edited on 12/22/12 4:49 PM --
-- Edited on 12/22/12 4:51 PM --

Artsewer
Artsewer  Friend of PR
Intermediate
NY USA
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In reply to 2 Airedales n Me <<


Date: 12/22/12 11:25 PM

2 Airedales n Me
Any chance you could post pictures of you set up! ?
It sounds fantastic.

------
Bernina 750Q, 635E, 380, Serger 1100DC

SandiMacD
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SandiMacD  Friend of PR
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FL USA
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Date: 12/23/12 5:04 AM

Before I got the Koala I had 3 custom made desks. They were designed to the Ergonomic heights- lots of research there. Each had drawers and were arranged as an L. All same height, wonderfully deep and different widths to handle my machines in center. I LOVED everything about them. They were made to fit the room. But after using I discovered problems with the height.
I have shorted legs but long torso arms and neck.
The table height was perfect for my knees at 90 angle but that meant my head and neck and shoulders took a lot of stress. DH built up the counter tops so that machines were about 3 in higher. Better for neck, harder on arms.
We downsized and no room here for all that- gave away 4 machines to family. DH gave his workshop away. Lovely huge, perfect height wooden cutting table/iron surface too! And storage.
So thats why I was again in the market for a table but only 2 machines. This time I wanted the elevated surface. I love not having to sit down. I do sit at times, I adjust chair height, I stand, I put feet on floor, on foot rest, etc.
For me the variation is so much better than a static ergonomic set up.
Following all the rules didnt make my table height comfortable over time. Being able to sew in various positions really helps me and the arthritis in my wrists and knees. That is really the reason I went with Koala- no one else was elevated surface. I looked a lot at Ikea too. I considered a kitchen counter height buffet, removing bottom doors and shelves and putting it in wheels. I considered kitchen free standing islands at countertop height. But the ones I liked we're close to Koala price at least when I got done with all my design changes. I also thought I would be sharing my new sewing room as a guest room and wanted to be able to fold all up when guests came.
So lots of reasons. Airlift was biggest attraction but for me the worst investment. But the height- now that was worth it! Pain free neck and shoulders!


------
sewing brings joy and meaning to my life...

ilesliemy
ilesliemy  Friend of PR
Intermediate
TX USA
Member since 2/25/05
Posts: 881
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Date: 12/23/12 4:43 PM

I also have 2 sewing cabinets with stationary wells (no lifts ) and they have no vibration.
Leslie

------
Bernina Gal

Miss Fairchild
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Miss Fairchild  Friend of PR
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In reply to KevenHester <<
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Date: 12/23/12 5:22 PM

If I had my way, my whole sewing room--approx 9x10, would be a U-shaped sewing area. But DH is unwilling to do that, and I have "issues" with the setup, such as I want to look out the window onto the back yard and can't do that with a setup such as that would be the best for the area.

Failing that, I would like to address my sewing surface, which is a rolltop desk without the top. What I like most about the desk is the well I have repurposed so that my machines will fit. Then there are the deep drawers; things you won't find nowadays in other furniture. But the only problem is the kneehole area. Because the desk has a center drawer, which is buffeted by drawers on the right and left sides, I am limited to a specific kneehole size. I can't turn my legs around to sew without knocking my knees against the portion of the drawers.

I have looked at the Koala cabinets in the hope I could find something more suited for my needs and didn't like the flimsy trays used for thread, etc. The area for storage was very minimal, because the beauty of the cabinet was its foldaway feature. If I wanted drawers, I would have to buy another "module", (aka "spend more money",) to get storage. Do I want this? No.

So what I've done to make that one piece more purposeful than "just a sewing surface" is to add an extension to the back. When I remove my machines, I place a cutting surface (such as a cardboard cutting mat) on the top of the desk, and it is supported by the back extension. That way, the desk serves as a dual purpose. But I need an additional three inches in height to help my back. So I'm back to figuring out how to best redo my sewing space.

I'm sorry I'm not too much help, but in the end, I hope that you come up with a design that is convenient for you by all the posts that you will receive.

------
"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

SEE MY ETSY SHOP HERE: http://www.etsy.com/shop/AuntMaymesAttic
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a7yrstitch
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a7yrstitch  Friend of PR
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In reply to Miss Fairchild <<
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Date: 12/23/12 5:32 PM

Miss Fairchild, I am glad that you mentioned needing the extra three inches. I would like for any once in a lifetime piece of sewing furniture to have some adjustability in height; be it by way of height adjustability at the base, in the wells or in the way the top sits on the piece. Or, in some combination. I have had different needs at different times over a period of years of sewing.

KevenHester, your husband may have some ideas on how to achieve an adjustable height.

Besides checking sewing cabinets, check out the folding bars and compact offices on sites like Crate and Barrel for additional construction ideas.

Being able to order 'custom, with love' is awesome.

------
I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

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