1940s Vintage Sewing Cabinet + Thrifting Advice

Hi sweet friends!

You know how it’s said that the best things in life come to those who wait? Well, that’s how I feel about junking. Any one of my friends can tell you that I like a good deal. But the thing is… that often requires a great deal of patience (and a pinch of luck!).

Vintage, Sewing Cabinet, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm

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You can’t always just go out and find what you’re looking for right away, unless you’re okay with a higher price tag. Most of the time, it takes me several weeks or even months to find that perfect piece, especially when it comes to furniture. And even more so when looking for antiques!

Vintage, Sewing Cabinet, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm

I’m constantly on the lookout for pretty pieces for our home. I scour buy-trade-sell sites and Craigslist on the regular… I stop in at local antique shops and secondhand stores whenever I have a chance. It’s almost like a lifestyle, really. Always being on the search for that “perfect” piece. In all honesty, I come across beautiful, unique pieces that I absolutely love all. the. time. But are they within my budget? Not usually. That’s why it takes patience.

True story… I have actually been searching for a pair of antique nightstands at the right price for nearly two years. Yes, TWO whole years! Luckily, we haven’t gotten around to our master bedroom makeover yet, so I still have plenty of time. But there are days when I have to remind myself that it’s a marathon, not a race.

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Sometimes I go through periods where I’m anxious to get our home fully decorated, and it can be tempting to just go out and pick up a bunch of vintage + antique pieces. But I’ve found that rushing often leads to regrettable purchases (either pieces you just don’t love, or overpaying on something), and that’s never good if you’re trying to save money. We’ve lived in our home for just over two years now, and we still haven’t even touched the majority of our home. And that’s okay!

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I have an enormous soft spot in my heart for antiques primitive cupboards, pie safes, dry sinks… you name it, I’m in love with it. Unfortunately, though, they usually come with a steep price tag attached to them (and for good reason, as they are worth every penny!).

But as much as I dream of one day filling our home with chippy, time-worn antiques, it’s just not our reality right now. Like most people (especially younger couples like us just starting out!), we are on a budget. And that means I have to get a little creative sometimes!

Vintage, Sewing Cabinet, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm Vintage, Ironstone Pitcher, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm

Just to let you in on a little decorating secret… I get a good chunk of my home décor for free from friends or family who are looking to get rid of items they don’t want anymore. You’d be surprised what people will give you! I come across so many amazing antiques and family heirloom pieces this way, without spending any money at all.

I also often find vintage or secondhand pieces that look like they could be antiques, but really aren’t. Any antiques I do have are usually smaller items like architectural salvage and ironstone, or even woven baskets that I can find for a steal at local flea markets or thrift stores.

Vintage, Sewing Cabinet, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm

I actually found this sweet little 1940s-era vintage sewing cabinet while out thrifting one afternoon last fall. And it was right within my budget, at less than $30. I didn’t even have to do anything to it, except polish her up a teeny bit!

Vintage, Sewing Cabinet, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm

I wish I knew a little bit more about the history of this piece, even if it’s vintage and not an antique. I still just enjoy hearing the stories. But all the seller could really tell me was that the wood is mahogany (which I had already kind of guessed!). Oh well.

Vintage, Sewing Cabinet, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm

I did a little digging, and I’m pretty sure it was made sometime in the 1940s. I found a lot of other cabinets that were very similar to this one that were from that time period.

I’ve learned that dovetail joints on drawers are actually a really great way to help age a piece, too. You see how there are several joints, and how the cuts are very clean and even? That tells me this cabinet was manufactured, not made by hand.

Vintage, Sewing Cabinet, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm

If it were handmade and more than 100 years old, one dovetail joint would not be exactly the same as the other, and there would likely be fewer of them. In older pieces, each dovetail joint was carefully cut by hand with a wood chisel or small precision saw, so that naturally lends itself to human error (or character, as I like to call it!).

Vintage, Sewing Cabinet, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm

There are many different ways to figure out the age and authenticity of a furniture piece, but I’m still learning all that myself. I’m certainly no expert! But I do enjoy learning all that I can. Looking at the dovetail joints is one of the simpler clues in aging a piece, so that’s one of the first things I look at. Just a little lesson tidbit with your morning coffee!

I love the simplicity of this sewing cabinet. It’s such a sweet little piece, and it fits perfectly on that narrow wall in our fireplace room.

Vintage, Sewing Cabinet, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm

The bottom drawer actually flips out to house spools. Isn’t that neat? I gotta tell you… our past generations were so creative at finding ways to make the most out of every nook and cranny. I just love this hidden compartment.

Vintage, Sewing Cabinet, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm Vintage, Sewing Cabinet, Thrifting, Furniture Makeover, Old House Inspiration, Decorating | Character & Charm

Look at all that lovely dust! Ha! I thought about cleaning it off before photographing the sewing cabinet, but decided against it. I don’t know… I think it just speaks to the history of the piece. Don’t you think?

Source List:

  • vintage sewing cabinet – thrift store
  • leather couch – family member (FREE)
  • folding trays – thrift store + handmade (see tutorial for farmhouse tray makeover here)
  • linen + ticking fabric throw pillows – handmade
  • home sweet farmhouse pillow – The Dotted Bow
  • coffee mug – Target
  • ironstone pitcher – thrift store
  • burlap feed sack – flea market
  • antique books – library book sale
  • patterned area rug – Target
  • antique washboard – family member (FREE)
katie

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