Review: Sauder 411615 Drop Leaf Sewing Cabinet

I’ve been sewing since 2005, and I’ve never had a proper sewing cabinet/table. (Before I used a one of a heavy 30″ x 48″ folding banquet tables.) This year I decided to reorganize my room, and decided that everything aside from my bed, desk, and dressers must fold, be easily disassembled, and/or have casters for maximum flexibility. (I know it isn’t the most beautiful thing in the world, but I am a HUGE fan of wire shelving.) This sewing cabinet was a very good fit for my needs and at a very affordable price point.

Sauder sewing cabinet
The white specs are bits of Styrofoam from the shipping box

Price

I paid $150 through Amazon. Shipping through FedEx was included in this price.

I had also looked at the South Shore Crea but decided to save the $110 and go with the Sauder sewing cabinet instead. The Sauder also provided the same sewing space while folding down to a smaller footprint when not in use.

I ordered the cinnamon cherry finish (which is basically a fake dark wood). There’s also a lighter colored wood finish and a white version. Both of these are more expensive for some reason, so I went with the cinnamon cherry.

Assembly

The cabinet comes entirely in pieces and needs to be assembled. You’ll need a hammer and Philips-head screwdriver. Each section of the desk has a sticker label (“A”, “B”, “C”, etc) and the bag containing the hardware parts is also labelled. The assembly booklet was well illustrated and not at all cryptic. There’s also assembly videos on their website, but I didn’t need to look at them. Assembly was done entirely by myself and took around two hours from start to finish. It comes in a 45″ x 23″ x 8″ box that’s 83 pounds, and since I wasn’t up to dragging that down the hallway, I ended up cutting open the box in its original location and taking out the pieces as I needed them. As I assembled I carefully inspected every piece for flaws/cracks/damage. (Perhaps this is why I didn’t have the problems a lot of other reviewers had.) I also made sure to double-check what I was doing, not strip the cams/screw holes, etc.

Post-Purchase Upgrades

I found the included casters rather cheap (they are plastic). I was going to be moving it on a medium pile rug and they didn’t roll that well. I replaced them with 2″ hooded ball stem casters. They were only around $2 each, much sturdier than the included casters, and greatly improved the mobility. If you decide to replace the included casters you’ll need a total of six. Likewise, if you find the height of the table not quite high enough you can get larger casters to help bump it up.

Space and Storage

Once assembled, you have the following:

  • A 11″x 24″ x 16″ cabinet with door on the right. There’s two inside adjustable shelves included. My Janome 1100D serger just barely fits inside.
    Sauder sewing cabinet
  • A 23″ x 9.5″ storage shelf inside the cabinet (meant for your machine). It is a perfect fit for my Janome CoverPro 2000CPX.
    Sauder sewing cabinet
  • An unopened table top surface of approximately 20″ x 39″. I just leave my Janome 6500P on it all the time. As you can see with both a serger and sewing machine on top its a tight fit, and depending on the project may require some machine reshuffling as you work.
    Sauder sewing cabinet
    Sauder sewing cabinet
  • A drop leaf that’s approximately 23″ x 20″. It is supported by opening up the front cabinet door and sliding a plastic slider which is hidden inside the cabinet door into a hole under the drop leaf.
    Sauder sewing cabinet
  • A couple of plastic trays within the front cabinet door for odds and ends, which come with removable dividers.
    Sauder sewing cabinet

Since there’s no space to push in a chair when the cabinet door is shut I bought a folding chair, which I keep folded up against the side when it is not in use. I’m just under 5’9″ tall and have no issues with bumping my legs against the inside shelf/sewing machine.

Sauder sewing cabinet

The one thing I miss about my old folding table is that I was able to keep the machine set up with the knee lift. Now I need to take the knee lift off every time I want to close the front cabinet door.

Quality

First of all, this is a $150 cabinet. It is basically the Ikea of the sewing cabinet world. It is unreasonable to expect it to be as durable or have the same features as a $1000+ cabinet. (At one point my father started building a sewing cabinet for my mother, and said that the hardware for the machine lift alone is around $350!) That being said I had none of the issues some others had with it arriving with broken/chipped/missing pieces. (The Amazon reviews are all over the place and kind of funny to read – one person has it stuffed to the gills with an industrial machine and their Labrador Retriever sitting on top, and another claims it collapsed from having some tulle and a glue gun resting on it.)

That being said, aside from the casters I really didn’t like how the back of the right section (behind the shelves) is basically a strong piece of laminated cardboard you nail on. It is possible it is stronger than it looks, but it was such a ridiculously cheap finish. I suspect that the people it fell apart on somehow compromised this section of the cabinet, but I’m not entirely sure. Just be mindful of this section when moving it around or if you store something sharp inside.

This cabinet may not work for you if you have strength issues and no one else to help assemble (you need to make sure you properly line up and tighten everything when assembling it), have kids that will jump on it and smash their toys against it, or move a lot. I am not rough on things, live in an adult-only household, and keep this cabinet in a low traffic area, so it works for me. Eventually I’d like to upgrade to one of those four figure cabinets, but I can’t justify it at this point.

I have no idea how much weight the drop leaf can hold when extended. It isn’t completely flimsy but at the same time I wouldn’t trust it to hold a separate 20 pound machine. Be sensible and use it only for its intended purpose – providing extra space for your project while you sew.

The first time I set up the drop leaf I was careless and did not hold the leaf up long enough when closing the front cabinet door, and ended up rubbing the top of the front cabinet. It is only noticeable when the door is halfway open. But it is something you should be aware of.

Sauder sewing cabinet

Conclusion

This is a well designed and inexpensive sewing workstation for those having to work in small spaces. I love the small footprint, handiness of the drop leaf, and the mobility provided by the casters, as well as the fact that I can store a sewing machine, serger, and coverstitch machine all in the same piece of furniture! There also aren’t a whole lot of dedicated sewing cabinets/workstations out there that are under $500. Just don’t expect it to be a forever table, especially if you move a lot and/or tend to be hard on your furniture.

Burda 2/2017 #106A: V-Neck Tank

Burda 2/2017 #106A is the illustrated sewing course pattern for the February 2017 issue. It features a pleat at the center front V-neck and a button closure at the center back neck.  The defining feature is a ruffle that extends from the middle of the back all the way down to the side seam at the front waist, forming a cap sleeve over the shoulder. The neckline is finished with a facing, and the armholes are finished with bias binding.

The fabric I used was a silk georgette from Fabric Mart. I needed only 2 yards of this 43″ fabric.

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Fitting adjustments:

I started with a size 38 and made the following alterations:

    • Lengthened 2″
    • Added a 3/4″ dart to the back shoulder
    • 3/8″ forward shoulder alteration
    • 1/4″ sloped shoulder alteration
    • Added a total of 2.5″ to the hip
    • Extended the bust dart 1/2″ towards the center front

 

Notes:

  • Instead of doing a narrow hem for the shoulders (which was maddening in this very lightweight, floaty fabric) I finished the edge using a rolled hem on my serger. It looks really nice with the Magnifico thread I used.
  • I also used the Magnifico thread for general construction. My go-to threads for everyday sewing are Gutermann Mara 100 or Mettler, but when working with silks and other extremely lightweight and delicate fabrics I like to use either Magnifico or #50 Tire silk thread (depending on which one has the better color match). These threads also make beautiful buttonholes in lighter weight fabrics.
  • The strap width is around 2″, very bra-strap friendly, especially with the ruffle overlay.
  • Since I plan on tucking this in most, if not all the time, I finished the hem with a two-thread serger stitch instead of a narrow hem. The thread is nice enough and blends into the pattern that even if I don’t tuck it in it still looks presentable.
  • I can easily pull this over my head without having to undo the button at the center back.

2017 Marfy Evergreen Catalog

For 2017 Marfy decided to do something a little different: rather than produce a catalog with 200+ completely new designs, they decided to republish a bunch of patterns from previous years along with some new designs. I thought this was a little odd. Then after I got the catalog I realized what was going on: for the 2017 Evergreen catalog they decided to place the focus on the sizing being more inclusive. Typically Marfy’s patterns come in Italian sizes 42 and 46, with the other sizes being less common. Now just about every single pattern in the catalog comes in Italian sizes 42-50. (This is roughly equivalent to Burda sizes 38-46, Style Arc sizes 8-16, or Big 4 sizes 12-20.) Some are also available in 52 or 54, and I even saw a few in 58. (You can see view the Marfy size chart here.)

So for example, in the 2012 catalog this vest was published as Marfy 2948 and the blouse as Marfy 2949. Both were available in sizes 42, 46, and 50. In the 2017 Evergreen catalog the vest is now Marfy 5167, the blouse now Marfy 5168, and both are available in sizes 42, 44, 46, 48, 50, and 54.

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Marfy 2453 was originally published in the 2011 catalog in sizes 42, 44, and 46.

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In the 2017 Evergreen catalog it is now available in sizes 42-54. (It looks like they also updated the artwork.)

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I did come across one exclusion to this rule: in 2011 they published this blouse as Marfy 2503 and made it available in sizes 42-52. (The 9024 pants were  available in sizes 42-54.)

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In 2017 they republished the blouse as Marfy 5159, keeping sizes 42-50 but dropping size 52. (The pants are now Marfy 5217 and are still available in sizes 42-54.)

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Something else different from previous years is that there’s hardly any dresses. Instead it is almost entirely separates: tops, blouses, tunics, skirts, and pants. The few jackets thrown in are mostly of the unstructured variety, and I don’t think I saw a single coat. Even the formal wear was mostly tops paired with long skirts or pants. Since I’m a dress person I found this a bit of a letdown, but I still didn’t let it stop me from placing an order ;). It looks like I’m in luck for next year: according to the Evergreen catalog description on their website the 2018 Evergreen catalog will be mostly dresses and jackets. I’m guessing it will also include coats and capes.

As usual there’s a few free patterns included with the catalog so you can test out the Marfy fit. All are available in sizes 42-54.

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