The Other found me the best present ever! He spotted this organizer in a thrift store and thought it might be helpful for my sewing bits and bobs. “If you don’t want it, it was only $2,” he said, since it was fairly covered in paint, scuffs, and grime. He didn’t know what he’d scored, nor did the shop that priced it! (All photos are after cleanup.)
So what is it? The sorter in me is delighted with its functional features, but I also knew straight away that it was not just any organizer, but a classic Boby taboret, designed in 1969 by Joe Colombo. The space-age styling and practical compartments have long appealed to me, but the $300 pricetag for a new version kept it strictly in the realm of covetousness. (Of course, 45 years in production, then as soon as I look it up to check the current price, nobody’s selling it.) So after a once-over with a damp cloth and a twice-over with the same stuff I used to clean up my Genie, there’s an authentic piece of mid-century modern design in my sewing room, all the more exciting for being such a bargain!
Mainly designed and/or sold for fine artists, the brilliance of Boby is that he’s chock full of compartments of different sizes and configurations—much more useful than a stack of same-size drawers. There are tiny wells for paintbrushes, deep ones for rolls of paper, bulk cubbies for chunky stuff, and shallow drawers for small pieces. In other words, perfect for sewing supplies!
Rather than floating around the room at random, rolls of fusible web, freezer paper, and stabilizer can live in the deep sections, along with my slippery quilting mat. Instead of brushes, a seam ripper and screwdriver are kept close at hand. And the flat top gives a surface to corral spools, bobbins, and any of those other current-project things that tend to float around a sewing table. My Boby’s shorter than the standard model, so he rolls right under the sewing table when not needed.
But the drawers—oh, the drawers! My Boby model has three shallow swing-out drawers instead of two deeper ones. This is ideal for presser feet and machine needles. I’m constantly switching feet while I sew, and my Janome 8900 uses some fairly bulky dual-feed feet that now have a home of their own in the top drawer.
Things like spare spool caps and spool pins live in the next drawer down—easy to get to, but tucked away. (Away from dust and curious cats, that is.) Bulkier machine attachments and occasionally used stuff is here too.
The bottom drawer holds various pins and clips. Like the fusible rolls, these previously didn’t have a proper home and wandered untamed around the sewing room. Just getting the rolls, pins, and presser feet in order was worth the $2.
The cubbies round the back are just right for mid-size items like quilting gloves and a bobbin winder. They were always awkward when I had them in drawers with smaller items like thread spools.
I haven’t decided on a definite purpose for the largest cubby at the base of the unit. There’s a molded signature down there proving Boby’s no knockoff—along with some bits of paint and ming I wasn’t quite able to get rid of, proving that this particular Boby’s no mere showpiece. I fully intend to continue using and loving him.
And though I tease the Other about his near-constant thrift-store circuit, I should probably just appreciate it! He scored another great mid-century find which I’ll share next time.