What Makes Us Different – How Our Furniture is Designed

Until now, I’ve talked about the things we use in our furniture such as the hardware, the sewing machine lift, and even the dowels and glue we use to put it all together.  But that comes after the cabinet comes off the drawing board and proceeds to construction.


Other than things that set us apart from other cabinet makers, it’s our design that sets us apart as well.


We design our cabinets so most sewers and quilters are able to sit in front of the needle.  This is an ergonomic necessity for anyone that sits at a sewing machine for any length of time.


When we designed our quilting cabinets such as the 1520, we made sure that the area behind the machine extends out to support those bulky fabrics or quilts that are being quilted.   This extension can fold down, out of the way if desired.  Some other brands of cabinets are designed so this extension folds on top of the sewing surface when not used.  Not Sylvia.  We designed these cabinets so they are able to be used, or folded away and still used. 


Cabinets fold away to protect the machine.  Lower the machine into the cabinet and close the doors.  The gate leg (on those models that have it) and all leaves and supports fold away neat and tidy.  It really does look like a nice piece of handsome furniture.


1600-openAs a woodworker, not a sewer or quilter, I depend on customers to offer suggestions as to how to improve our design.  One of those 1570-closedsuggestions came from a quilter who noted that while quilting there was much bulk at her left elbow that needed support at the height of the cabinet surface.  We then designed what we now call the #1570 Quilter’s Extension.  This collapsible extension to the 1520, the 810 or the 810Q is sturdy enough to support quilts and keep them out of the lap or off the shoulder of the quilter. 


Most of our furniture is designed to be modular.  Adding other pieces over time is an easy and affordable way to make your furniture 1600-and-1-490“larger”.  By adding the 490 Drawer Stack to the 1600, for example, you add more storage, drawers and surface area.  When you add the 490 to a cabinet like this, you need to also order a Connecting Top.  This secures to the cabinet with cam locks and makes the 490 flush with the top of the cabinet.

Look at the photos of the cabinets.  You see the original 1600, but look at how much stuff can be stored and organized by adding more drawer stacks!  By adding one stack to the left front of the cabinet, you have a “Quilters Extension” of sorts.  Support you need where you need it.  And storage to boot!


As you can see, we try and design specifically for sewers and quilters’ needs and wants.  By doing this, I think it makes Sylvia the best there is.  And don’t you 1600-490s-frontdeserve the best?


Until next time,


Comments (6) -

I have a really small space.  I have a sewing table but I have come to realize that it is not really sturdy.

I am going to save up for one of these terrific units because, even a small vibration is not good for my machine.  I have a rather large investment in that machine and my craft, I will be protecting it with a good, sturdy work space.


Even those non-quilters among us need lots of space at the rear of the machine to accommodate the longer and longer embroidery arms. The arm on my Innovis hits the wall if I don't pull the machine all the way to the front edge of my sewing cabinet.

I have  cabinet with fold out extensions on the sides and back .  Great work space - one big problem however is that is not the correct hieight for cutting. great for sitting and sewing but not for cutting fabrics working quilt top peice and design.  Wish they had a way to lower and raise dependant on project needs.Maybe someday and idea to quickly change heights as needed.

My problem is that I am so short.  Most furniture is made for average  to tall people.  So my Machine is taller , I have to look  up, keeping my head tilted back to see, instead of looking down at a project.  Crates some major neck strain.  IS there any way to make a shorter sewing cabinet?  Even my computer desk has to be chopped off.  having a chair  raised to it's max, with my feet swinging is not comfortble. I need a more

accominadating cabinet.  Thee is no way I could afford for a custion to be make.




I have found that the strain on my back and neck bothers me more each year I get older. I went to using a short bar stool, I don't sit back anyway, and have my presser foot on a small plastic bin. I found this works better and then I am able to look down upon my work.

Thank you for all your comments!  It's feedback like this that we use to design new or change existing cabinets.  

Melani, I agree with gnbsmommy that you need something under your feet.  The chair will raise you up but your feet need to be flat on the ground.  The inside portion (where you sit) of most of our cabinets have an interior ledge at the bottom.  By putting a platform of sorts on this ledge, it raises the "floor" by a good 3 inches.  May not seem like much, but coupled with a height adjusting chair, it may make all the difference.


Team Sylvia

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