i’ve probably mentioned here before that i am trying to get some real furniture for my sewing space. i just started sewing a lot a little less than two years ago, & i’ve just been using a big folding buffet table that had been in the basement. it gives me a fair amount of space (though never enough, because everything has to be ON the table & preferably pushed to the back to keep it out of the hands of a curious toddler), & it’s an okay-ish height. but i’ve jacked up my back/neck on several occasions because it’s really not the right height for either cutting or sewing. & every time i am incapacitated with another round of tendonitis in my shoulder, i have to take a break from sewing until i heal.
of course i looked into buying a new sewing cabinet & cutting table, maybe painted in some adorable color like mint green or robin’s egg blue. however, i don’t have literally thousands of dollars to blow on this shit. i mean, i guess maybe i could, but then i would have no savings, so…not a great idea.
i started prowling craig’s list & various thrift/antique stores in pursuit of something useful. one day i found a vintage sewing cabinet from the 50s at the antiques mall, priced at only $40. i mulled for a bit, but i was worried about wasting $40 on a cabinet that wouldn’t fit my modern-day machine. i went home & mulled some more. i asked the opinion of a friend who had been at the antiques mall that day. (of course she told me to buy it. she always tells me to buy everything i want for sewing.) i dragged my feet & mulled some more. i asked jared & he told me to just measure my machine & then measure the opening in the cabinet & decide from there.
duh! of course! so i made some measurements & went back to the antiques mall, where i discovered that the person selling the table was closing their booth & had marked everything down 50%! now the table was only $20! i opened it up & discovered that it even came with a sewing machine! it’s a singer slant-o-matic, from maybe 1958? complete with all the original feet, manual , etc. the opening in the cabinet was all wrong for my modern machine, but for $20, i just couldn’t walk away.
for christmas, jared commissioned a company to make me a customized insert to fit the table & my modern machine. we’ll have to install a platform for my machine inside the cabinet, but that shouldn’t be too difficult. so, assuming the insert fits okay (they called today to double-check measurements & hopefully i will have it soon), i have a cabinet. it’s in really excellent shape, too, & the insert & platform are removeable so i can put the slant-o-matic back in someday if i like.
next up: a cutting table. i have been prowling around for anything that might work. i’ve looked for kitchen islands, bar tables, drafting tables, & more. i’ve found plenty of tables that would work…for $300, $400, $500. i started thinking that if people on craig’s list are charging that much, maybe i should just buy something new, but even a decent-sized kitchen island made out of particle board costs like $200. just when i was thinking that might have to be the way i go, given that i am not particularly adept with tools, i found a solid wood butcher block on locking casters at the antiques mall! it even has a platform that rolls out, that i can use to hold fabric that is too big for the work surface, so it’s not trailing off on to the floor & having its grain all distorted.
so i snapped that up & as i was walking to the counter to pay, i found a cute little shelving unit for only $18. i have been daydreaming about owning a secretary desk for a while now, even though–let’s be real–there is nothing wrong with the desk i already have. it’s just the allure of the new. & what really attracted me to the secretary desks i was seeing online are the hutches with all the little selves & whatnot built on top.
this little cabinet thing is very much like a desktop hutch! & i have been desperate for a new way to store my sewing tools & reference books. i have various bins & drawers, but things still get so messy & the system i had been using ate up a lot of real estate in my sewing area. i was just asking jared last night if we have a small bookcase in the basement that i could re-purpose for some kind of sewing storage.
ta da! i’m really pleased with how this tidies & consolidates my sewing area! now once i get my new furniture moved in, i’m going to have a great set-up–all for under $200! i mean, i’ll probably have to figure out some smarter system for fabric storage eventually, but i just re-organized all of my fabric a few months ago & it’s fine for now. all my quilting cottons are sorted by color in one bin. all my apparel fabrics are in another bin. i have a box full of works-in-progress (actually only four WIPs–i do try to finish old projects before jumping into new ones), & two more boxes full of random stuff i didn’t know how to categorize: PUL, wool scraps, bemberg rayon, various weights of interfacing, etc. & all the bins & boxes are labeled.
& also a whole box full of viewfinder yardage because…i bought A LOT of that fabric, in all three colorways. the bits you see here are for a skirt, which i’m hoping to finish by wednesday because it’s supposed to be nearly 70 degrees that day! thank you, kansas. this almost makes up for the spider crickets…almost.