Friday, 27 January 2012

Sewing Spaces... Drawers for Drawing, Wheels for Wheeling! (Part 1)

I'm still slogging away at the sewing room peops!

A few weeks ago we bought an IKEA: ALEX Drawer Unit. The unit is sized at: 67cm wide, 48cm deep and 66cm high including the height of the castors (W: 263/8" / D: 187/8" / H: 26 "). It has 6 drawers - the top 3 are a tiny bit shallower than the bottom 3.

Image Source: IKEA
(ALEX Drawer Unit on Castors, Article Number : 401.962.41, £81.99)

I picked the unit because it fits perfectly with my 150cm x 75cm cutting table. My cutting table is wall mounted to my chimney breast on some clever sprung-loaded hinges (Note to self: I must do a separate post on how I built it soon!). So, the drawer-unit can be wheeled underneath very easily when the table is up 'n' out for use. And, when the table goes down flat it sits in front nicely and takes up very little floor-space in the sewing room.

Having such big flat drawers is ideal for the job I had in mind for this new bit of kit... a place for my pattern drafting supplies!

Inside the finished ALEX Drawer Unit
Inside of my finished and filled drawers 
(the bottom drawer - not shown, will
hold my current projects in-progress).

(1)  NEW Grey rubber castors + breaks
        IKEA provide you with 4 black plastic castors as standard.
      I felt that the hard plastic was pretty likely over time to scratch-up the lovely new
      laminate flooring that Hubby and I had carefully installed over Summer. So, I replaced them
      with these grey rubber castors which I got from eBay for under £5 including postage!

Castors - Plastic vs. Rubber with brakes
Left: Original IKEA castors, Right: New rubber castors with brakes

The softer rubber is a) quieter and makes less noise, plus b) by having break-pedals on the front 2 castors I can lock the unit in place (so no wobbling, or sliding off at the slightest knock). Handily, the pre-drilled holes that IKEA put onto the base of the unit exactly matched my new castors - so no extra drilling was needed (yay!).

(2)  Reduced number of drawers from 6, down to 5
      This sounds an odd one doesn't it? But, bear with me please! I wanted a place to neatly
      store projects in-progress, i.e. cut-out fabric for half-finished garments etc. . And, even
      though the bottom drawers are slightly deeper than the top-3, I needed more space than
      they were able to give as provided. So, seeing as this unit is flat-pack assemble it yourself
      stuff I simply choose to omit the hardboard base/bottom from the 5th-drawer down.

The bottom 2 drawers to join up
Can you see how on the upper (5th) drawer
I've not used the hardboard base?

And, I joined the 5th + 6th drawers together using mending plates, and some woodscrews - very easy and cheap to do. 

Here's what is looks like in situ!

01 - Cutting Table Up 02 - Cutting Table Down
Left: Cutting table up 'n' out ready to use,                            Right: Cutting table down, and away

I added labels to each drawer-front - including the bottom 2-drawers 'cos it would've looked odd to miss the 5th one out LOL! I printed them at home on paper, trimmed then laminated them (with a small clear border all around to stop peeling). I them bent/creased them so the front hangs off of the top edge of the drawer fronts - and a little inside too. They're stuck on with double-sided tape, so they can be easily removed if I change my mind later on :)

 Tomorrow, I'll show you step-by-step
how I did it; in a tutorial (with lots more pics!).


  1. Awesome storage unit. Doesn't take long to fill it up does it???

  2. Very cool. I don't think you can have too much storage in a sewing room.

  3. Thanks ladies! I've just added 2-more pics at the bottom of how it looks in the room next to my cutting table + how I labelled the fron of the drawers :)

  4. Loving the cutting table and storage combo! Other than shelves, I have used all my available space, lolol.

  5. What a cool idea, Claire! I am going to Ikea tomorrow to pick up some stuff I need so this comes right at the perfect time... may just buy one of these units.

  6. This unit is now on my want list, thanks for the inspiration.


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