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Thread: What would you want in a sewing/quilting machine cabinet?

  1. #1
    Senior Member pinkCastleDH's Avatar
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    So, I promised SWMBO a new cabinet for the Juki 2010Q that we just bought and now it's time to start figuring out what it will be like.

    What she has already requested:
    - A fold-out return like her older Koala cabinet.
    - A drop leaf off-feed extension.
    - A lift mechanism and fold-in top so the sewing machine can be completely stowed away when not in use.

    Unless someone presents pressing reasons to do it differently I plan to make it out of some white oak that I have sitting around. Definitely no termite barf (MDF); plywood is a possibility if there are very compelling reasons to go for straight panels rather than framed panels.

    All of that leaves a lot of the design to be decided, though.

    How large should it be - both front-to-back and side-to-side, both folded up and extended? My thought is to have the needle just barely left-of-centered on the knee opening but that's just a thought.

    Should additional storage be included to the left of the knee opening? There's none on her current cabinet but this one will probably be a fair bit longer so maybe adding something would be good. Neither of us is all that excited about drawers but I saw pictures of a slide out thread/bobbin holder that might help her stay organized.

    How much area is useful to the right of the machine? To me that seems like dead space - on the Koala there's an inset caddy there but I doubt I'll do something like that unless it turns out a lot of people really like them.

    Those are just the questions that I know to ask - they certainly don't preclude other suggestions that I didn't even think about. Of the initial requirements the only one I'd say is absolutely hard-and-fast is the ability to completely stow the machine in the cabinet to avoid prying paws. Even if you don't think your ideal cabinet would suit SWMBO, please tell us what you do/don't like and why - we may be heading the wrong direction and don't even know that a better option is possible.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions/critiques!

  2. #2
    Senior Member emmah's Avatar
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    I often end up with stuff dropping off the right end of the table, very frustrating. I thought it would be useful to have an opening with a bin about 4x12and about 3or 4" deep to keep the necessities in: a pin holder, scissors, seam ripper, extra bobbins. Easier to access than a drawer. I thought of routing it out and fastening a plastic bin from underneath. I guess if you wanted to close the whole table up for storage, you could make a little lid for it. (You mentioned the machine dropping down.) I never put my machine away, so wouldn't need the lid.

  3. #3
    Super Member RenaB's Avatar
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    I agree with emmah, if you could build a little shelf with a lip for notions used during sewing. They always seem to get in the way but yet we need them.

    Sounds like it will be a wonderful cabinet. Be sure to post pictures when you are done.

  4. #4
    Super Member hobo2000's Avatar
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    A very slick surface that is easy to clean and wax, if necessary, so the quilt slides effortlessly. It should be white or light in color so it's easy to see loose pins, etc.
    I have always wished for a 1" magnetic strip all the way around to catch pins, needle small scissors, and keep tails of my quilt from falling on the floor. The pins in the quilt sandwich would sort of catch on the magnetic strip. Just my idea of another pair of hands while quilting.

  5. #5
    Super Member scowlkat's Avatar
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    Definitely make sure the needle will be directly in front of where she is sitting. I think it is very helpful to have maybe 6 to 9 inches of table space on the right. A lot depends on whether she is right or left handed! I am left handed and I like drawers on the left side.

    You can buy lift mechanisms online if you really want to lower the machine out of sight. Otherwise why not make a nice top just to sit on top of it like the older machine cabinets have.

  6. #6
    Super Member GwynR's Avatar
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    I would never put my machine away either. Just put a cover on it. I always put my scissors, pins, etc to the right of the machine so would want a few inches there. Drawers under the right would be where I kept embroidery thread, drawers under the left, notions, along with some cotton thread. I saw one with the drawers to the left on rollers so you could pull that out and have a small cutting mat on top. I loved that feature! A narrow tall slot for large rulers would make me happy. Somehow, everywhere I put them in my sewing room, they just don't "fit", and get lost! The smaller ones are no problem.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Sophie2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GwynR
    I would never put my machine away either. Just put a cover on it. I always put my scissors, pins, etc to the right of the machine so would want a few inches there. Drawers under the right would be where I kept embroidery thread, drawers under the left, notions, along with some cotton thread. I saw one with the drawers to the left on rollers so you could pull that out and have a small cutting mat on top. I loved that feature! A narrow tall slot for large rulers would make me happy. Somehow, everywhere I put them in my sewing room, they just don't "fit", and get lost! The smaller ones are no problem.

    The lift mechanism is great if your machine is also an embrodery machine and you need it lifted to use the hoop attachment. I am going to post a picture of my sewing unit a friend made for me. I have two drawers to the left of my sewing machine. I can open them up and put an extension leaf on top of the drawers. Love it when I am quilting large quilts. The two drawn unit below the drawers can be moved around but supports the drawers when they are open with the extension on top.

    machine area (5)
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  8. #8
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    My sewing table is an old desk, not a lot of room to the right of the machine, the top right hand drawer is great for holding small things I need while sewing, extra bobbins, snips, ripper, ect when Im done I just close drawer. lower drawers I keep thread, extra and specielty needles, machine feet manual ect in. The drawers on the left hold extras or specility thing like extra gloves, tracing and graf paper music CD, back up scissors, containers I only use when taking cutters and othe small thing to classes and retreats.

  9. #9
    Super Member Rann's Avatar
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    I would like a really nice machine in it. }:0)

    And a room in which to put it.

  10. #10
    Super Member clem55's Avatar
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    I actually enjoy a large space to the right of my machine, As I finish sewing something small, that's where I place it, plus scissors, etc. The one thing I hate about my cabinet is the doors. They do not open flat to the front, and because they have small bins attached to the insides, I am always hitting those bins while sewing or moving around. I do have the lift mechanism, and I love it. One thing we learned about the drop extension area, make sure you use really good strong hinges, and have good support flanges. My cabinet is oak, and hubby needs to change those things, that oak is heavy!!

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