Monday, July 8, 2013

Transforming a Television Armoire Into a Sewing Cabinet

Yesterday I posted that I intended to construct a sewing hutch from this old T.V. cabinet I found at a thrift store.  We did it last night and it turned out pretty darn awesome and I'm very, very pleased with it.  When we decided to finish our basement, there was a dead end hallway that then broke off to a bathroom and a storage room on each of the side walls.  I knew I wanted a sewing cabinet that I could just fold up or close away, but the ones I was finding on-line were in the high hundreds to thousands of dollars.  I did find a few smaller ones, but they were just that.  Smaller.  And stark white.  Nope.  Not happening.  I started looking through thrift stores and Craig's List.  I found several on Craig's list for cheaper than the one I bought at the thrift shop ($150), but they were also dog chewed or not as solidly constructed.  This one is solid. 

I took the measurements and went to the store to buy the supplies.  I bought drawer slides, a peg board and pins, and a piece of particle board for the sliding drawer.  My sewing machine is heavy.  22 lbs without the embroidery attachment.  I knew there was no way to make the drawer slide out completely and not snap the rails, so I got the board cut and bought rails to fit the entire length of the platform.  This way I pull it out just so far and the machine itself is technically still inside the hutch and the weight is not on the drawer itself.  My thought was to then use the drawer pulled all of the way out to use as a large cutting surface, but the particle board is MUCH heavier than expected, however simple plywood wouldn't do.  The man at the hardware store was also nice enough to cut the board to my measurements.
 I painted both the drawer slide and the peg board with the same color as the walls in the room.  It's very dark.  I should have likely done a lighter accent color instead - and used an acrylic instead of the latex, but I didn't want to buy more paint.

My neighbor came by to see how we were doing just as I was trying to fit the peg board in the back of the armoire.  I had it cut so that the bottom would rest on the armoire itself and the backing of the cabinet wouldn't have to support the weight.  However....It SO was not cut to the measurements I gave him.  It was 2 inches too long and about 4-5 inches too short.  Oh well.  I cut it down to fit.  The neighbor did make a good point.  If I put it flush to the back, I couldn't get the pegs to poke through.  We took some extra molding from downstairs and attached it to the backing and ran screws into that to give it some space. 
 I'll go back and hit it with blue paint later.  Note to you: if you have an outlet in the hutch like this one, make sure to run the plug out the back BEFORE you put on the peg board.  We had to drill an ugly hole after the fact.  The, we mounted the drawer slides to the stand.  We then had to pull them off, measure out and drill in the drawer and reassemble it.

 Tada!  Again, the drawer is too heavy to pull all of the way out.  It does come all of the way out, but it worries me that it will snap or bend the arms of the drawer if too much pressure is put on it.  I'm sure we could have found heavy duty drawer slides if I looked on-line a bit harder instead of just going with what the hardware store had.

I found an absolutely horribly awesome rug to go underneath it.
Mounted some stick lights underneath.  I should have moved them farther back.  Because the peg board paint is so dark, it's hard to see back in there.  I may go purchase another set of lights to put farther back.
This is the stand where my sewing machine used to sit -I had already brought it to the basement when I took this.  It's very, very small, but that's not the problem......
THIS was the problem.  This should look like a desk, but instead it's where all of my sewing stuff gets thrown.  This is actually pretty clean because the kids had already brought four baskets of ribbon downstairs by the time I thought to snap this picture.
 And here is what it looks like now.

I still don't have everything set up inside the cabinet as it will be, but it's getting there, and I just love how the whole thing closes up nicely.
 Over all, I couldn't be more pleased.  What a great way to create a sewing nook AND make use of dead space.



  1. Nice... Mount the foot pedal on the side of the cabinet so you can run it with your knee. That will keep you from having to to put it on the floor and pick it up over and over again.

  2. Beautiful! In our previous home, I had an entire wall that was built just for sewing. It had a drop down table for pinning patterns and cutting fabric, which hid a large cork board when it was folded up. There were cupboards, drawers and a pegboard back wall, and a "desk" that held the sewing machine, where the chair slid underneath. Now I have the breakfast bar in the kitchen and a portable sewing machine, not very conducive to I don't

  3. That sounds like a very cool idea. I went down to scope it out, but when the drawer is slid out, I can't reach the inside of the cabinet. Picking it up isn't so bad since that's what I've also had to do until now.

  4. Wow, Granny! Sounds like some set up. Really, all I sew are the keychains and then the occasional baby blanket or two. I wish I could sew from patterns. You could totally fix up something like this and put it in a hallway or something. Very neat and tidy. Thinking of making another with a lighter pull out drawer that can come out all of the way and using it as a garden storage/potting table.

    1. Hah! My hallway is all doors, and I'm sick of sewing anyway! I sewed so much when the kids were home...five kids, with one daughter in gymnastics and I made all of her leotards. Now my sewing consists of shortening my jeans when I can't find them in a petite size. That's about it!

  5. I'm pickin' up what you're puttin' down. I understand.

  6. Love it! Especially how everything is organized and easy to see on the pegboard and how the whole sewing area closes up. Great job!

  7. Awesome sewing cabinet and nice rug too! Looks lovely and so organized!

  8. THanks, GrafixMuse and Shawn throat)...we'll see how long it stays organized. ;)

  9. That is brilliant. Well done.