Spilling My Guts {An Old Sewing Cabinet} -


Are you ready for me to spill my guts?

Haha, yes those are my sewing cabinet guts!

I bought some really great dressers from a wonderful couple in town who are moving and when I showed up to their house they had this beautiful little sewing cabinet pulled out to show me. Needless to say some negotiations were made and it came home with me!

It has the original hardware and the sewing machine inside still had all of its parts as well. It was pretty banged up and the finish was heavily worn so I knew I’d need a sander if I wanted to keep any natural wood tones on the piece.

Sorry for the terrible cellphone photos. I’m trying REALLY hard to be better about my photo taking. I think I’m much more comfortable with my camera than I ever was before.

I used 100 grit sandpaper to remove the finish and then 220 grit sandpaper to smooth the surface. Such a pretty piece of wood! Oh, and just in case you have never seen or been around a sewing cabinet before they are made to have the machine pop up when the “lid” is lifted. The “lid” is essentially the table top when closed which makes it easily removable. I just removed a few screws and had the top free of the cabinet.

Once everything was sanded and smooth I used my favorite stain, MINWAX Wood Finish in Dark Walnut to stain the wood.

Wait at least ten minutes but not longer than 15 or the stain will start to dry. You do NOT want the stain to dry on your project. It turns into a tar like material and is very difficult to wipe off (speaking from historical experience).

While I was waiting for my timer I gutted the cabinet. Not only was I unsure if the machine even worked, I wasn’t planning to keep it a sewing cabinet. I wanted this to be a pretty side table or night stand. Which it is nice and tall to go with the higher bed sizes now a days. There were only a few screws and a couple taps with a hammer and out popped all the guts. The sewing machine weighs at least 15 pounds but despite removing it the table is still very heavy. I’ll take that as a good sign it is well made.

The one thing that left me stumped was how to fix was this oddly damaged hardware. I tried to hammer it and bend it but I don’t know how much progress I made. In the end I just decided to leave it alone.

My plan for the rest of the piece? Annie Sloan Chalk Paint no less! Yes, you all should prepare to see lots of projects with this stuff in the near future. I’m totally hooked. It makes painting so much fun! I have 5 different shades right now, I chose to use French Linen for this little cabinet.

Since I didn’t want the flip top anymore I knew I needed to fix the two pieces together some how. I thought about using screws but I was worried about cracking the wood (it is old after all) or puncturing the surface drilling from below. I have accidentally glued something to the floor with Liquid Nails… it. does. not. come. off. I put a generous amount of the Liquid Nails on the old work surface and then placed the finished table top right on.

What do you think?!

I¬†love the way chalk paint distresses. It’s so effortless and yet comes out perfect!

You can see that one piece of hardware is still a little screwed up :(

Look at those fluted legs! So pretty.

Here’s a great shot of the new stained top. It turned out great with just a few coats of wipe on poly.

Doesn’t my grass provide the perfect backdrop for this gorgeous warm grey?

Annie Sloan has several grey colors. French Linen is a warm grey. Almost a tan color but with less red. I really love it. I’m glad I chose this instead of the Paris Grey which is much heavier in blue hues.

And that’s the story of spilling my (sewing machine) guts :)

Happy hump day!


  1. Adorable! I have passed up many of these little pieces at thrift stores because I felt they might be more trouble than they were worth…you have definitely proven me wrong!

    I think the little “wonky” hardware piece adds character, but if it still bothers you, you could always replace the two bottom pieces with different ones and keep the original ones on top. Either way it is super cute!

  2. Paula Lusk says:

    Love it!

  3. Cheryl Thornton says:

    great piece…love the linen colour (can you tell I’m from Canada!) as for the hardware – makes the table seem authentic – I’d keep it!

    just love watching what you create!

    Cheryl from Ontario

  4. I have a sewing table sitting in the corner collecting dust that looks exactly like this. Maybe I should give it a little makeover. You did a great job!

  5. Wow, this looks amazing!! Love the colors you chose.

  6. I love that I’m not the only one who uses “wonky”. Lots of things in my life are wonky! Wonky adds character. I love it!

  7. I <3 Canadians Cheryl. I love your “strange” spellings and Canadian humour ;)

  8. Great restoration! Adorable piece. Love that you left the top stained and painted & distressed the rest. May use that technique on a piece I have waiting patiently for me to “doll up” in the garage. Thanx for sharing….Tiffany….stop by and browse my royal blog sometimes. Tiffany

  9. I love working on old sewing tables – you knocked this one right out of the park!
    ( from Montreal!!! )

  10. This is so beautiful! You did a great job.

  11. So cute. My grandmother’s little old sewing table is out in my garage collecting dust, spiders and who knows what else. It isn’t as dainty and pretty as this little gal but I am now inspired to refurbish it and put it to use somewhere in the house.

  12. You did a beautiful job on this piece. I actually picked up a similar table at a vintage sale by a fellow blogger a few weeks back. I love it and I love yours. Megan

  13. Cute! I have a vintage sewing table too, similar to yours that I haven’t done anything with it, except keep my sewing machine on it. Now I am inspired :-)

  14. Very nice! I love old sewing cabinet re-do projects, I really love the stain you chose, also! Visiting from lizmarieblog.com

    Have a fabulous weekend!

  15. Lovely job! I was drawn to your thumbnail from ‘Simple Home Life’ because I have inherited my grandmother’s sewing machine/cabinet. I did a post on the machine itself and another post where the machine is featured in my craft room, but the cabinet is still in my attic. Not sure what to do with it, as it’s not in such great shape and I’m not in love with the overall shape. Your table is much prettier! Hope you’ll stop by and take a look at my post about the sewing machine http://www.househoneys.com/a-life-not-forgotten/. (It’s not what I put on the link party.) I’ll be back, because it looks like I found another ASCP junkie I can relate to. ;)

  16. Thank you for sharing your sweet story about your grandmother Doreen. It’s a beautiful machine :)

  17. More <3 from Canada!! Keep it coming ladies!!

  18. i love swedish anything, and this has that scandinavian vibe i love!

    looks fabulous. found you via MMS’s party where i’m partying too. would love to have you as a follower.

    smiles and happy weekend.


  19. Love love LOVE this project! I am going to attempt my first chalk paint project using french linen too! I was wonderibg which wax you used on this piece?


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