Friday, August 10, 2007

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I have finally finished my suitcase!
A while back, I purchased this gorgeous red suitcase from goodwill for a mere $2. Naturally, it came with the musty odor and stained lining, but the outside was in great condition, and I just couldn't resist it. I am always looking for suitcases to adopt. Retired ones that is; those that have led a full life of travel, and are content to settle down.
While some age gracefully, others most likely require a bit of work. Here are my tips for anyone who would like to adopt their own vintage valise:

-Before you buy: Plastic suitcases are easier to remove marks from than ones with a papery or fabric exterior. Check the outside for dents, cracks, scratches, and faulty hardware. Brace yourself, and open it up. If there are stains, see if the lining looks easy to rip out or to cover over.
-When you get it home: Spray some Febreeze inside, and leave it open to air out. The musty smell may not evey really leave, but it will become less noticeable. A good scrubbing w/ an old toothbrush is great way to clean the bumpy plastic textured surace. If you rip the linning out, you may want to put a layer of quilt batting down before the fabric layer. Don't try to cover with a single piece of fabric, because it will wrinkle quite a bit. Instead, cover in sections. I put down one large layer in the middle, part way up the sides, then add the side sections over it. Hot glue is my weapon of choice for adhering the fabric.
-Make it your own: Choosing a fun fabric for the inside will give your portmanteau some personality, but you may also want to add a luggage tag, or some travel stickers to spice up the the exterior.

This re-upholstry job is not intended for suitcase bound for heavy use, but they are great for storage or decoration. My mother is the one who got me interested in suitcases. There are many of them scattered about our house. Some stacked as an end table by the couch, several as under bed storage. It is really interesting to think about who owned them, and where they have been. My beloved red valise had the remains of an airline tag that said hawaii. Sometimes you find one that has a person's initials printed on it. I may just have to post a picasa album of our plentiful portmanteaux for you to enjoy!


1 comment:

Camplin said...

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