Morning wooly mammoths! I knew you weren’t extinct! I just knew it!

More sewing room stuff today, although sharp peepers may be able to spy the dress that I finished this weekend! But, since the cutting table doesn’t have to do his or her hair and get pictures during the late afternoon when the sun is best, all y’all are getting another sewing room update! Plus, I just finished edging the table last night and Mr. Bug helped me put up the lighting, so I’m super stoked!

I tried to organize the cutting table as thoughtfully as possible. On the side facing the sewing nook are my ‘crafty’ fabrics – shorter cuts of cotton to use on non-garment projects, and bins of other materials. The other sides hold projects, pressing stuff and ‘utility’ fabric (more white fabric!) Here’s a floor plan with some notes – to help orient you I’ve marked with a giant ‘X’ ย where we’re starting our little cutting table tour!
This side of the cutting table is constructed from a Closetmaid 9-cube unit – I got mine at Target on sale for $34.99. The cloth insert things are normally $11.99 for two – we got those on sale too! Good timing! I used hanging tags to label everything – I probably got those at Office Depot or something – I’ve had them for a while. And, of course, everything is labeled with my lovely P-Touch label maker (which for interested wooly mammoths was about $20 and the refill cartridges are about $10.)
You’ve seen this side before, in fact, I’m reusing a picture from last week, because the one I took this morning was blurry! I added some labels to show where I’ve stashed things.
Top row, one yard or under cuts of quilting cottons and a few other fabrics – mostly meant for pincushion making or other small projects. Second row: a bin of leather and fur scraps. It’s not that I head out to hunt bunnies and cure their hides, but I DO occasionally buy fur cuffs or collars at vintage shops (sorry if I offend anyone with my hide-love!!) Middle cube is small cuts of corduroy and silk and then there’s a bin with all of my handmade bias tape, the little metal bias tape making thingies and a coffee can full of ready-made bias tape and hem tape. Third row starts off with wool scraps – really one yard and under cuts of this, I keep all wool scraps – ESPECIALLY brightly colored wool. In the middle is a bin of leftover cotton strips from making the wedding quilt and from some other things too small to fold into the piles, but still very useful. I stashed my walnut hulls in the third bin. Let’s move on, shall we?


Going clockwise around the cutting table, I’ve got one of my FAVORITE parts of the new sewing nook! Project baskets! And a cutting station-type-area.

This is constructed from two Antonius units with the desktops from Ikea. I wanted these to be the lower height so I’d have a ‘shelf’ to stash large flat things. If you don’t need that, then there are casters that can be attached to the bottom that would raise the height and also make it easy to roll these out and make this into a sitting-type table. These units are pretty cool – you buy the wire base, then there are wire and plastic drawers that fit in them. I wanted to see everything so I went with wire. The desktops are a separate item that attach easily! Total cost per unit is $20 for the rack and baskets and $7 for the desktop, for just over $50 for the two of them.
As far as what I’ve got stashed in here, I have a small basket for marking pens and a few shorter rulers – regular old rulers that naughty school children get whacked with. My long, clear quilt-style ruler is there too (you know, about 8″ wide and 2′ long? That kind) Materials for drafting are in the upper left drawer/basket – wax paper, tracing paper, my french curve – also some square, clear rulers left over from quilt projects long past.
I reserved the second drawer as a spot to stash mending. Yay! I always have an annoying pile of mending and don’t know where to put it! The rest of the drawers hold projects – I used the hang tags again and since it’s sort of hard to see the tags I added a little swatch of fabric from the project as an easier way to identify what’s in the drawer.
It’s hard to see in this photo, but I also have a nice little hanging bar to the left where I’ve hung my scissors, rotary cutter and pinking shears. More on that when we get to the pressing side.

Let’s go look at the utility fabric, shall we? Man, oh man, do I have a lot of white fabric!

This side is another Closetmaid cube with all of my white and off-white non-garment making (almost) fabrics.

I had a really hard time figuring out how to organize (and identify!) all this stuff! Here’s what I ended up doing.

Top row starts out with the heavyweight fabrics like canvas and twill. I use these mostly as sew-in interfacing, but might also use them for home-dec type projects. I have an unreasonably large amount of white denim, so that nearly fills the second cube. I used one of the fabric cubes as a stashing place for my tote bags in the next cube. They don’t really ‘belong’ there, but I wanted them handy but out of sight.
The second row starts out with a bin that has all my white ‘fancy’ stuff – silk chiffon, voile, batiste. Everything in this bin is pretty delicate and I could have just as easily put over in the garment-stash, but I sort of wanted to store them a bit more protected. In the middle cube is actual muslin (not fabric for making muslins) then all the white quilt-weight cotton. I use those interchangeably, but thought it’d be nice to store them separately, just in case. The bottom row is for fabric for making muslins. I put ‘special’ fabric in the first bin – right now, some cheap white jersey and some cheap wool in an ugly color. The next bin just has sheets and other fabric I’ve bought for a dollar a yard for making test garments.

Let’s go look at the pressing side!

I set up all the stuff I’d need for pressing on this side, close to an outlet for the iron.

Over to the left I have three bins for interfacing – one each for fusible, sew in and all of my silk organza (well, I have it in black or white…) In the center top I have my tailor’s ham, then underneath that my glue gun which obviously isn’t a pressing tool, but DOES need electricity, so I thought this was a good home for it. On the right I have a home for the iron, then a basket with strips of fusible interfacing that I’ve cut on the bias along with my steam a seam. You mammoths all know how much I love that stuff! Underneath that is my spray starch and lint roller.

You can also see all the way to the left my awesome hanging bars!

Here’s a close up. These are utility drawer handles – you get them at the hardware store with the hinges and doorstops – NOT with the fancy cabinet handles. I like these kind because the screws attach from the outside, not from the inside like most fancy door handles. I got a package of S hooks from Ikea and these make a perfect spot to hang my spray bottle and pressing cloths. I feel particularly clever as I have two muslin pressing cloths – one is all gunky from the glue from interfacing and I sewed a different colored ribbon loop onto that one so I know which is which without having to grope them.

As I said above, I used the same handle on the cutting side of the table to hand my scissors and rotary cutter. I also hung my flexible tape measure over that and if I EVER recover my tailor’s ham, I’ll probably include a hanging loop so I can hang that here on this side as well!

Construction and cost

I thought I should include a few notes if any of you would like to make the same sort of cutting table. First, here’s the materials list and cost.

4 x 8 melamine sheet from Home Depot ($35) – I had them cut down to 36″ x 59″ which gives me a 4.5″ overhang on each short end.

A roll of melamine tape to finish the cut edges ($15) – This stuff is super easy to use, you just iron it on!

(3) Closetmaid cube units ($35 each/$105 total) – we got ours on sale, I think they are normally $40 or $45

(10) Closetmaid fabric sqares ($8 for a set of 2/$40 total) – we got ours on sale, they are normally $12 for two

(2) Antonius units with desktops ($54)

(2) Utility handles ($5 each/$10 total)

Bag of S-hooks from Ikea ($1)

Screws – two bags of 1″ #12 screws to attach the top to the sides ($1) and a few spares to attach the handles to the unit

Total cost $261

Now for the building, it was fairly easy. As far as tools, we used our drill and electric screwdriver, a mallet, an iron, and that was about it. I wasn’t quite sure how to attach everything, and in the end we attached two of the Closetmaid cubes – the ones on the short ends – with screws to the top and we just slid the side Closetmaid in after we got it right side up. I figured that the weight over everything would stabilize it quite well and I just wanted to keep the top from sliding off. My preference was to NOT have screws showing on the cutting top, if possible.

We laid the melamine down on the floor, then placed the first Closetmaid unit on top of that, 4.5″ from the edge (to create the overhang.) We drilled holes through the Closetmaid unit to the table top. The holes were about 1″ deep (the Closetmaid stuff is 1/2″ thick, the melamine top is 3/4″ thick) and marked that depth on the drill bit with a bit of painters tape. We drilled two holes in the front of the side cubbies and two holes in the back of the center cubby so there are six screws attaching each unit to the table.

After we attached the first unit I measured to make sure there was enough clearance to fit in the side units. And then I measured again. I BARELY left enough space to get that third unit in, so I should have measured a third time!! Then we attached the other end with six screws. After that we very, very carefully ‘rolled’ it to its side, then upright. The melamine top is tough, but those Closetmaid units are a bit thin and I was scared that we’d break them! Once upright it’s pretty easy to move around, as long as you hold on to the Closetmaid units and not the top!

Off I go, but before I do, thanks to Diary of a Renaissance Seamstress for her great inspiration!


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