My cutting table is no longer located in my sewing room but is located downstairs in our kitchen. Our second floor really should be called “k-living-tchen” since our living room, kitchen, and dining area are all in one big room. Originally this table was designed to be large enough for cutting and then my three machines would fit on the one end. We moved and this table needed to find a new home since it wouldn’t fit in the sewing room. In contrast to the open-concept 2nd floor, our 3rd floor bedrooms are almost too small. A twin bed wouldn’t fit in these rooms so this table was definitely not going to make the cut (see what I just did there). One room is shared as combined office space for Ryan and me. The other room is used as my sewing space. We needed a kitchen table anyway, so it made sense to make the table a multi-purpose kitchen/craft /cutting table. This is where we eat meals, but also where I cut fabric or do other crafts. It is a well-used and loved table.
Like Dana from Made Every Day, I created this table from IKEA bookshelves, industrial casters, and a trip to Lowe’s cabinet section to talk with an associate. The bookshelves are the KALLAX shelf unit. Each bookshelf has 4 casters (8 total), and those were purchased from Service Casters. The casters are 5″ swivel casters, non-marking solid polyurethane wheels with brakes. Finally, I went to Lowe’s with my dimensions (35″ by 80″) and requested a tabletop covered with Formica of my choice. The process was fairly simple, and the table is big enough that it can handle most of my projects. This table is now 2 years old, and I’m so glad I have it.
The table comes with 8 square shelves for storage, but I use only 3 for my sewing and craft stuff. The other shelves are used as storage for our kitchen. We have a wonderfully large kitchen with scant storage space.
Command hooks on the side of the bookshelves have been a great way to organize rulers. You could get pretty creative with all the things to hang from the side if needed.
Drafting and Tracing Patterns
One of my drawers is dedicated to paper stuff. The essential tools are tape, pens, pencils, erasers, rotary cutter for paper only, and scissors for paper only. The wooden handle, torture device in the upper right is a serrated tracing wheel. This tool is helpful when you need to trace a pattern from tissue paper. I will place the tissue paper on top of my dot paper and “trace” with the serrated tracing wheel. The tracing wheel will leave subtle holes in your paper that you can go over with a pen to connect the dots. I’ve tried carbon copy paper and other methods, but this has been the easiest option even though I rarely use tissue patterns. Yes, I cut out all of my paper pattern pieces using the small rotary cutter. It’s so much easier than regular scissors. The scissors are more for general use around the house and not necessarily used for just my sewing projects.
My second drawer is filled with everything I use to cut fabric: pattern weights, scissors for fabric only, rotary cutter for fabric only, chalk for tracing, and extra blades for the rotary cutter.
The triangle pattern weights come from Sachiko’s blog, Tea Rose House and have worked well. I’ve considered getting more professional pattern weights, but for now, it is not needed.
I love my Clover pen-style Chaco liners! For woven projects, I will trace my pattern pieces using the chalk and cut out the pattern pieces using my scissors. For heavyweight knit projects like sweatshirts or joggers, I will do the same. My rotary cutter is used for lightweight cotton spandex knit projects like kids’ clothes or t-shirts. I’ve noticed that it is very easy to warp and dull my rotary cutter and I hate when it starts skipping fabric.
I have 10″ fabric shears from LDH Scissors. My rotary cutter was purchased before I knew about LDH Scissors. I don’t mind the Gingher, but I think most of my rotary cutter frustrations have more to do with my cutting mats. I’m intentionally not discussing them. I need new ones but don’t know what would be better. What happens, I think, is that the cutting mats do eventually show cut marks, and those divots cause the rotary blade to get nicked or dented. The blade then inconsistently cuts the fabric and leaves blank spots. It’s very annoying.
My Cricut machine sits on a bookshelf in our living room just next to our kitchen. The grip mats and Easy Press fit well enough on this shelf, so this is where it lives. It’s not glamorous but it works.
I probably spend more time at this table then up in my sewing room. It takes time to generate pattern pieces and cut out fabric. Having a comfortable space in which to complete those tasks is super helpful. I know my sewing motivation would suffer if I had to do all of my fabric cutting on the floor!
You’ll notice, I don’t have a lot of tools. I keep it simple and get good tools that work. You don’t need a lot to be able to sew. And as a personal preference, I mostly stay away from stuff found in the large chain-store sewing shops. There’s definitely a balance to be found between spending enough money on quality products that will last and spending too much money on something that breaks or falls apart quickly.
Part 5 will be about everything you can find in the cubby window area of my sewing room. This is where I keep notions and such. Until next time, stay safe! Stay healthy!