Thursday, January 6, 2011

Evolution of a Sewing Space

Hello, lovelies!

My WiP Wednesday post yesterday generated some interest in my sewing space, especially my lovely sewing cabinet!

Get ready...

So, I thought I'd share a little about how my quilting space has evolved and give you some pictures of the cabinet in all its glory:

When I first started to quilt, my husband and I were living in a teeny apartment while I was in grad school, so my very first sewing space was the kitchen table (as always, click for bigger):

Which was OK, as we never actually ate at the kitchen table anyway. *g* (See the tiny travel iron and travel board? I STILL get a thrill when using my full-size iron, now.)

And then we moved to a bigger, pre-house-purchase apartment, and I got a bigger table and a cabinet to store fabric (but still that teeny iron):

Once we moved into our house, I decided I would commission my dad (who is a master woodworker) to make a sewing cabinet for me. We found a pattern I liked in one of his woodworking magazines, and we talked about my preferences (I really wanted it out of cherry, which I think is beautiful wood). My sister decided she wanted one too, so he made them together. And after much consultation with my quilter/sewist aunts, and two years (because he was trucking full-time, and I wasn't quilting so wasn't in any hurry), my father delivered me this:

It's an unassuming cabinet, yes? A lovely decorative sideboard for the guest room. Until you're ready to sew...

The large lid flips open, supported by the door and a fold-out panel. This makes for a great cutting space. Then:

The other door opens to support the smaller lid. The big open space in the cabinet is originally designed to hold a serger that you can place on the side table, but I use that space to hold books and magazines since I don't have a serger. Then:

There are two panels in the back that flip up (a suggested addition from my aunt, and I only use them when I'm wrestling with a big quilt), and the sewing machine rises out of the cabinet via a hydraulic lift. You're ready to sew like the wind! Here's another shot of all that lovely real estate:

The view from my machine:

The lift will also bring the machine to the top of the cabinet, if I need to do free-arm sewing:

The wings to support the back panels:

And the back panels folded up, which is where they usually live:

My dad made several changes to the pattern--he made the cabinet taller, so I'm not bending down so much to pin or cut and so sewing is a more comfortable height. He made it wider, too, so I had more drawer space in the left-side drawers, and he made it deep to give me more room overall. I splurged and ordered the hydraulic lift, and my sister's cabinet doesn't have one. And Dad put it on heavy-duty casters, so I can roll it around as needed. What this means is that I can collapse my sewing space and convert it back into the guest room in about 10 minutes.

Our agreed price included a quilt, which I finally delivered to him last month. Now my dad isn't the most demonstrative person, so I get kind of teary when I think about this cabinet--it's obvious he poured a lot of care into this.

Dad has mentioned that now that he's made a couple, he's worked the kinks out of the pattern, so the next one would be easier. One thing he'd change is where the knee-hole is--right now it's centered on the machine, not the needle. So I have to have my left knee resting against the drawers and I sew with just my right leg stuck under the machine, and it's comfortable enough.

In any case--I'm so very lucky to have this wonderful sewing space, and thanks if you stuck with me to read this far! Have I been a good advertisement, do you think?

Because my dad is retiring from truck-driving in March--do you think he'd mind if I sent a few cabinet customers his way?


  1. That is the coolest thing ever! I'm sure your Dad could easily find new customers once he's retired! Thanks for sharing that with us...I'm still stuck at the dining room table and probably will be until the kids go off to college!

  2. Your sewing cabinet is both extremely functional and just so darn pretty! Your Dad did a wonderful job.

  3. Wow. That is one amazing cabinet. He definitely needs to make these to sell! It's perfect, you guys thought of everything.

    Where is your dad? If he's relatively nearby, I would seriously think about ordering one!

  4. I tagged you on my blog today!
    Come see why!

    I am still in awe of that creation of your Dad's. Amazing.

  5. That is one of the most drool worthy things I have seen in a long time - it is perfect. Oh how I wish!!!! Would your dad ship internationally lol (the shipping would probably cost more than the cabinet!) oh man, how I would love such a cabinet.

    How extra special that your dad made it - my dad was a woodworking talent himself and he would have loved this (and I could have asked him to make me' something similar) your dad really has put so much love and thought into it - so special :0)

  6. Oh my gosh.. that is the transformer of sewing tables!! I can't believe how big it gets from how small it can shrink to. You have a very talented Dad!! Wow!

  7. Wow. How does your Dad feel about adopting another daughter? That cabinet is TO DIE FOR.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Nice to "meet" you!

  8. This is what fills my dreams at night! oh how I wish I could have one!!! Thanks for sharing.