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How to Make a Sewing Cabinet With Drawers

Arthur strives to balance aesthetics, functionality, and quality with costs when planning DIY projects in the home and garden.


My wife asked me to make her a cabinet to keep her sewing machine safe from our cats playing with the thread when it’s not in use. She asked for it to have shallow drawers to keep all her cotton reels and sewing accessories organised, and for it to be on wheels so that she can move the sewing cabinet around the conservatory when she’s using it.

Objectives for Making the Sewing Cabinet

I appraised her request and consulted with a close friend, who’s good at DIY, for additional ideas and suggestion. I then added my own objectives to my wife’s mission statement, which I ran passed her (as the customer) for approval, before setting the definitive list of objectives.

  • Within the space available, to make the sewing cabinet as big as is reasonable, to maximize storage space.
  • Sewing cabinet to be the same height as the sewing table that it will butt against.
  • Top to be hinged to enable it to be lifted, for easy access to the sewing machine.
  • Drawers to be as shallow as possible, so as to incorporate as many drawers as will fit within the given space.
  • Lots of removable dividers in the drawers, to allow for adjustments to suit different storage requirements.
  • Wheels on the base of the cabinet.
  • Shelving behind the sewing machine for additional storage space, adjustable and removable for maximum flexibility of use.
  • Make the cabinet to a high standard, using quality wood, with a good wood finish, rather than making something rustic from scrap or recycled wood.
  • Add a little style to the design and make it aseptically pleasing.

Cabinet Design

Using the objectives set, I measured the available space, for where we wanted to put the sewing machine cabinet and drew up detailed sketch plans with measurements.

The width between the sewing table and the full-length conservatory window was just over 600mm (2 feet), and the height of the sewing table was 750mm (just under 30 inches). The cabinet only needed to be 450mm (18 inches) to house the sewing machine, but my wife wanted it to be 600mm (2 feet) deep, for additional storage space.

Having made the sketch plans, I was then able to calculate the materials needed, and to set the target parameters for time, cost and quality.

Setting Time, Cost and Quality for the Project

The three cornerstones of project management are time, cost and quality. Setting these from the outset, and getting them right, is a good way of helping to ensure a successful outcome of the project.