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sewing furniture

jenurse49's picture

I am thinking about buying new sewing room furniture and would like to know which brand is recommended by other sewers.

queenoid's picture

(post #24818, reply #1 of 29)

I don't have a specific brand to recommend, but I found the book Dream Sewing Spaces to be very helpful for designing my sewing room.

jenurse49's picture

(post #24818, reply #2 of 29)

thanks for your reply I will go and look at dream sewing space and see if it helps me make a decision. Janie

gogojojo's picture

(post #24818, reply #3 of 29)

Just a personal opinion, but furniture marketed for sewing is highway robbery.  It's basically particle board covered with cheap laminate that they want thousands of dollars for.  Ikea (www.ikea.com) has really good-looking tables with adjustable leg heights for under $200.  Look in the office/work section.  These tables are part of a series that includes extension tables to make an L-shape (right or left), corner units, etc.  If you are handy with a saw or know someone who is, you can custom-cut a hole for your machine, if you need it recessed.

Loomchick's picture

(post #24818, reply #5 of 29)

I agree that sewing furniture can be priced unbelievably high . . . when I was looking for a sewing table/cabinet for my sewing machine, I came across one through WalMart for under $100. I ordered through their website and had it delivered (it wasn't available at my local store). I have been very happy with it . . . and impressed by its value when compared to Koala and other companies that make sewing furniture.

I have provided the link below in case anyone is interested.

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=1984564#Features+%26+Specifications

daylight's picture

(post #24818, reply #6 of 29)

Thanks so much, loomchick, for providing that site.  It looks like something I might be interested in - but does it have a recessed area that the sewing machine can rest on?  The trouble I have now is that I have a wonderfully large, sturdy table, but I have to perch on a stool to sew.  My SM and serger need to be lower.


I, too, have tried Ikea products with the same predictable result.  However, I do appreciate the quality and design features of their lighting, especially the halogens which are wonderful task lights for sewing and crafts.


Now, does anyone have recommendations for a good sewing chair?

Loomchick's picture

(post #24818, reply #8 of 29)

No, the sewing table I provided the link for doesn't have a recessed area for the sewing machine . . . perhaps unfortunate for some . . . although, it's at the perfect height for me . . . possibly because I use an office chair that I can readily raise and lower to the height I choose.

daylight's picture

(post #24818, reply #10 of 29)

Thanks for your reply.  There are, apparently, no perfect solutions to the "perfect" sewing table dilemma. I am really looking for a larger size sewing table that has the hydraulic lift.  I did find a web site that looked promising - www.hakasewingfurniture.com  -  however, they did not quote any prices and I suspect they may be beyond my budget.   If I could somehow hunt down a plan or kit for the hydraulic lift I think hubby might be able to accommodate.  It's been fun reading the variety of tables/chairs people have created to suit their individual needs.  Right now I am utilizing a table that consists of a large (5'x10') piece of melamine for the top and sturdy bookcases/file cabinets for the base.  It's great for cutting and spreading quilts out, but the height of my sewing machine is uncomfortable.  I'm 5' tall and my feet don't hit the floor when I perch on my stool.  Sometimes I stand up to use the foot pedal!

gogojojo's picture

(post #24818, reply #11 of 29)

The furniture at that website looks great!  Much better quality than what they try to sell you at the sewing machine dealer websites.  It looks like it's actually real furniture!  Thanks for the link. 

smr's picture

(post #24818, reply #15 of 29)

Just FYI, if you haven't already done this..if you go to the Haka sight and email them they will send you a price list.  All prices are in Canadian Dollars and they suggest you use .86 to convert to USD. 


I have to say, from the pictures, they really have beautiful pieces.  From what I could tell most would be under $750.00.  That would be for a large cutting table with fold down leaves, on wheels, with drawers.  They also seem to pay particular attention to the edges, they are nicely rounded, so no snagging.I think I've reached a point where I would rather save for one good piece.   


I also liked the look of their sewing tables. I am going to further investigate this product line and see if I can actually view them in person.

daylight's picture

(post #24818, reply #18 of 29)

Thanks for the tip.  I'll check out the pricing.  Did they also indicate shipping costs?  I live in the Northeast so, depending on where they originate in Canada, it may not be too difficult.  In the past, when I have ordered the occasional Canadian item on e-bay, there is a customs charge as well. 

Sewdance's picture

(post #24818, reply #16 of 29)

I'm very short, also. Try putting your foot pedal on some type of riser - a box or something like that. I've used a riser under my desk (and sometimes at the dining room table...) for years and it's really helped save my back. When you're sitting and your feet are dangling it's very hard on your lower back.

If your work surface is not adjustable this is a great fix! Actually, I've been thinking the "standing to work" position might be the best option of all.

daylight's picture

(post #24818, reply #19 of 29)

Thanks, Sewdance.  Standing while cutting or constructing is great, but I'll definitely get a block for the foot pedal.

feismom's picture

(post #24818, reply #21 of 29)

I bought a Horn cabinet last year - opens out to about 5' x 5', three-step lift for the machine, I can put the serger in any of a few convenient places.  Great for sewing or serging large pieces of fabric.  It is definitely much higher quality than the average IKEA piece and more attractive.  My back and I got tired of makeshift arrangements.  I'd recommend taking a look at this option.

Tuva's picture

(post #24818, reply #27 of 29)

I invested in a Horn cabinet several years ago. It was very expensive, but I agree with you that you can`t compare it with the IKEA quality. I can use my machine as a flatbed, or with a free arm, and my serger and my sewing machine are at hand. With the serger stored away in the cabinet, I also have an excellent work table.

KassCamille's picture

(post #24818, reply #28 of 29)

I'm lucky enough to have a large sewing room and I invested in the Koala Outback Plus II and the Craft Center Pro. I also have my old Singer sewing machine cabinet from the 80's that I use for storage. Granted, the Koala Cabinets are expensive, but they are very practically designed for the greatest efficiency while sewing. I sew garments and quilts and have been extremely satisfied with the Koala quality and having the flatbed or raised freearm options is wonderful. I have 2 sewing machines and a serger that I use with the Outback. I simply invested in 2 acrylic inserts, one for each machine that I can trade out and there is storage space builtin for my serger when I'm not using it. I purchased my cabinets from Nancy's Notions, as well. If you get on their mailing list, you will find out when they have their big cabinet sales. I got the Craft Center Pro for half price and the shipping was free during the sale, which saved another $300.00. They also include Koala's thread package gift that includes a couple of Nancy's books, too. I have also made use of several plastic stacking drawers on wheels to store fabric and notions. My DH bought me a fantastic office chair to go with my cabinets, but I recently traded it out for my son's very inexpensive older computer one because the fantastic chair seat was a bit too wide to use with the Outback. My son's not complaining and I can move better when getting up from sitting at the cabinet with the smaller seat. Everyone has different tastes, needs and budgets and when you love sewing, you will find a way to create the best space that will work for you. It's great to get everyone's input. I've picked up some great ideas.

lwsews's picture

(post #24818, reply #23 of 29)

I have had my Koala cabinet for about 5 years and have been very happy with it.  My sewing room is also my guest bedroom so being able to condense the furniture was very important to me.  I also like the fact that I can lower my machine for machine quilting and lift up the back for an extended bed to support a quilt.  Yes, it was expensive but for me, it was a perfect solution.  I have NO regrets because I got what I wanted. 

autumn's picture

(post #24818, reply #24 of 29)

My sewing room is my KITCHEN!  Well, it was probably intended to be a kind of family room extension of the kitchen, but I didn't need it for that purpose.  My husband made a shoji screen which I put in front of the sewing machine when I'm not using it. Before moving into this house, I went to a used furniture store and found a cherry table with a long extension on each end, and 3 leaves to go in, so it becomes a very long table.  It is perfect for cutting out large things, and then taking out the leaves for the two of us to eat on.  And it only cost $50.

AuntBarb's picture

(post #24818, reply #25 of 29)

Try looking at Joans for some reasonably priced sewing furniture, complete with lifts.  I've been quite pleased with the furniture purchased from them and they frequently offer free shipping.  They are similar to Koala and Horn, but cost less.


Although it is made from laminated materials, it doesn't look that different from my other furniture.  I've had good luck with this type of furniture and its saved me a bundle of money.

mtanner5's picture

(post #24818, reply #20 of 29)

RE: Haka furniture.  I checked out their website and asked for the prices.  They responded in less than 24 hrs and sent me a downloadable price list.  The prices are in CAD, and she give instructions for approximate conversion.  The prices are better than Koala I think.  That quilt and sew table looks nice for only $672 after conversion and 15% discount.  But as you state, I have no idea what shipping and customs would be.  They are completely assembled of course, since they are each custom made.   Oh and they said you had to email them with your zip for exact shipping cost. 


I've around a little, and most of Allbrands sewing tables with lifts are around the same price, but they are not individually made.   They do have a variety there, and it's a fun website to explore what is out there.   I live nearby, and I plan to go out there and see if they have any of the tables on display when I bring my machine in for serviceing, which should be soon.  I'll report back if they have any out there.   I do not have a handyman of any sort, and I am sooo tired of using my banquet table that I also cut on to sew.  I want a flat bed table top option, and buying sewing furniture seems like the easy way to get that. 


Edited 4/8/2006 1:00 pm ET by mtanner5

PeggyL's picture

(post #24818, reply #22 of 29)

I just re-did my sewing area with Elfa products from the Container Store. They have a big 33% off sale in January each year. I am very pleased!! We hung three of the desks on the wall (they tell you how to do this and it's very easy!!) in an L-shape so they would be low enough. I have one table for each machine. There filing carts roll right under the tables. I redid the storage area in the closet with shelves and carts and have lots of storage now. You can choose the drawer sizes you want. It may be worth checking out.

stitchwiz's picture

(post #24818, reply #26 of 29)

For those who have seen this before, feel free to skip it.


Check out your local school board to see if they are replacing desks or other office furniture.  There are great deals to be had if you 'think outside of the box'.  I think I paid $2 each for mine.  Along time ago, I went to an auction at the local school board and purchased 5 childrens double desks - gave 2 to a friend.  Because they were designed for 2 students, they are about 60" wide.  They have adjustable legs and feet (perfect for levelling on that uneven floor) and 2 storage bins below the table top which are accessible from either side.  They are fantastic - I have put them into many different configurations.  The legs can be adjusted so that your machine is at the right height.  The surface is plentiful for those large projects and a coat of furniture polish keeps the surface slick as silk.


I haven't cut them to fit my machines for a flush sewing surface because I have moved them and re-configured them many times to fit different rooms.  Cutting them to have each machine fit would limit my options.  For someone who knows what will work for them, it would be very easy to have each machine flush mounted in the desk.  It could just lift out for servicing.


Now my daughter has her eye on the desks - but I'm not quite ready to give them up yet.  I'm re-doing our 'new' old house and will soon have a permanent sewing room again.  (I'm leaving this house in a pine box!)  I'll be making my sewing room furniture myself because I can do a better job for less money than any of the stuff I've seen out there to date.  Then she can have them.


Local second hand or thrift shops often have the older office chairs with nice wide seat bottoms.  Mine cost $4 and I paid about $10 for the material to recover it.  Did it myself.  Just take it apart slowly and lay all the bits & pieces out in an orderly manner so that you can re-assemble it.  Use the old cover for a pattern.  The older chairs may need new foam also, but it is definitely worth the effort - remember to allow extra fabric for the beefed up cushion.  My 'old' chair is more comfortable than anything on the market right now.  It was probably top of the line at the time - everything adjusts, it's heavy duty, rolls like a dream and it can stand up to anything I'll ever do with it.  Best of all, I don't feel like I'm perched on a ball that I'm in danger of falling off of. (lousy grammar, I know, but you get the picture) It has a nice broad seat cushion built for a real person.


For lighting, try the flexible halogen track lighting - some even use cables, and most can be individually aimed after they are installed.  You can usually put them up yourself or get you local handy guy to put it up for you - will only take a couple of hours.  The transformer mounts right where your old light fixture was attached to the box on the ceiling.  This is great because you can adjust the lights as your projects or your eyes change.  (As I've gotten older, I need more light.)  If you have enough for all your work surfaces and you have any lights left over, you can have a spot light on a display area for those special projects.  Because they are 12 volt lights, you will have a lot more lights than ever before.  This is one area where it pays to by the best because it can also save you money on your hydro bill.


Good luck planning your space and 'shopping' for the right furniture!  Best of all , keep $ in your pocket so you can buy more Threads, fabric,  etc...

autumn's picture

(post #24818, reply #12 of 29)

When I moved to a new house and needed a good sewing table, I bought a solid-core door at a garage sale for about $20, and my husband built pedestals/drawers to hold it up on either side. He made it at just the right height for me (I'm short), and each side has three drawers.  The door is deep enough to hold large projects.


If you don't have a handy husband, you could buy small bedside tables, or anything that is the right height to raise your table. This provides plenty of leg room underneath, and in fact I have another little stand of drawers under it, so there is plenty of drawer space.


If you are not lucky enough to find a door at a garage sale, buy a hollow core door from a lumber yard. Much cheaper than a table, and better quality.


For a chair, I bought a secretary chair at WalMart for about $20. It swivels and rolls, and the height is adjustable. Very handy for scooting around without getting up, and it doubles as a dining table for my granddaughter because it can be raised.

Teaf5's picture

(post #24818, reply #13 of 29)

For a chair, I swear by my "secretary chair" from a national office supply store.  With adjustable heigth, no arms, good back support, and sturdy wheels, it cost $29, and I covered it with an upholstery chenille that coordinates with our sewing/computer room.  After decades of sewing hunched over my machine (I'm tall), I now sit with good posture and have far less back strain.


Keep up your hunt for comfortable sewing furniture; otherwise, sewing will be painful, and you'll miss out on a lot of rewarding experiences.

smr's picture

(post #24818, reply #4 of 29)

I'm so glad that you brought this topic up. I have the Dream Spaces book and it does have some great ideas. I am also scouting around for some nice but equally functional furniture for my sewing space. 


IKEA does have some interesting ideas, especially with the leg height issue for tables. My issue with IKEA is sustainability...I have a chest by them and I'm debating if it's showing signs of stress after a year.  I don't even have that much in it, just interfacing and some irroning supplies.


 I agree that most of the furniture sold specifically for sewing rooms is next to cardboard in quality...very disappointing.  I've searched the net for tables. etc that are used by schools.  I figure they are built for heavy usage.   I would certainly appreciate any tips and ideas, and will pass along those I find in the journey.

Kilroywashere's picture

(post #24818, reply #7 of 29)

When the office furniture place (Barkley-Dean) that supplies my company had a "garage sale" of used furniture, I went and got two overloaded full size pick-up truck loads....  Nice executive office furniture is built to last and look good, and used, it is incredibly cheap!  Find a place that sells used office furniture and take a wander through their warehouse. 

mm's picture

(post #24818, reply #9 of 29)

Some ideas that have worked for me ...


Chairs:  Remember that you can raise an office chair to the proper height for your table and then boost your foot control up to the correct height so that you aren't hanging off of the edge of the chair to reach it - I use a couple of boards stacked on the floor to get the foot control up to the right height.  That plus a decent chair make sewing a lot more comfortable.  Hope that makes sense.


Tables:  I use a folding banquet table with plastic plumbing pipe tubes added to all four legs to get the table up to the right height for me for cutting, tracing patterns and pin-basting quilt tops.  It's very sturdy and I can move it into the center of the room when I need to get to all four sides of the table.  I keep a rolling cart with lots of small drawers underneath it for stuff like elastic and all the little odds and ends I seem to accumulate.  Also I try to remember to wear clogs when I'm using a rotary cutter because that extra bit of height makes it easier on my back.  I've even used four gallon paint cans to give a similar table a bit of extra height but the pipes are steadier.


Light & issues associated with "growing up":  There's a great book called "Rx for Quilters" that explains that our need for light doubles for every ten years of age.  That's why our moms always asked how we could read with so little light ...  If you've got any problems with joints, back pain, etc. this book is very helpful.

MaryinColorado's picture

(post #24818, reply #14 of 29)

I also found that book helpful but with one exception, I need to move around alot so after over-organizing the first time around, I set up the sewing studio so I have to stand up or walk across the room for some items.  My hubby built my tables to accommodate my height (or lack thereof, ha ha)  I was able to order a clear plexiglass table specific to my Viking machine with adjustable legs and a cutout for the machine, it is wonderful!  They are made for various machines and come in different sizes.  I also have a secretary type chair with lumbar support and very adjustable as my computer desk is higher than sewing and serging tables.  I found a drafting chair for $10.00 (new would cost around $100.00)that raises to the height of a bar type stool for my cutting table which I now use for planning/ drawing/fusing/etc.  Outlet stores, secondhand stores, restaurant and office supply stores, home improvement, etc.  all are good resources and a little legwork and time spent will help you to really think through what you need and save lots of $$$.  Check with your dealer for the plexiglass quilters tables, mine is from Dream World, Sew Steady and quite large.  Bought at the local Viking Dealer but they make them for different machines.


Now I am glad I did not spend the money on the hydraulic one with the cutout as I like to move my machines around depending on what I am sewing.  I also have a three drawer dresser that is full of embroidery needs/ thread.  A huge industrial file cabinet that holds fabric/etc.  Plastic bins on rollers. 


Imagination holds the key!  Hope this is not too run on and on.....lol

JamieK's picture

(post #24818, reply #17 of 29)

I bought a version of the Koala Cabinet's Storage Pro a few years ago through Nancy's Notions.  The room I sew in serves many purposes, including a guest room.  So for me it was nice that sewing furniture folds out into a big workspace but also closes up into a discrete piece of furniture.  I have used my cabinet regularly for almost 3 years and it seems well worth the price.  The hinges still work flawlessly, and there is no chipping or peeling of the finish. 


Jamie

Grandmamimi1250's picture

Sewing furniture (post #24818, reply #29 of 29)

 I recently went through this myself. I researched ALL types of sewing furniture from high end to low end to something my husband could build. I watched Craigslist almost daily. One day I saw an ad for a Koala Outback Plus II for $500  - I snatched it up !!! I knew it was a quality table, I knew it retailed for $ 2000. It was in perfect conditions & I am very pleased. I am 5'2 - I use a good office chair & that works well for me. I ordered the custom insert for my machine & I AM IN LOVE !!!

i did my homework & wated diligently for a good used table- I would  have bought new- I had the money - but when I saw this - I knew it was a good deal.

So, I say, take your time, look around, learn about the different products. & go get you a goo deal !! It just makes it SWEETER :)

Good Luck  !!!