How To Restore Vintage Suitcases

July 6, 2016
How to restore vintage suitcases

I found these beauties at a Volkswagen car show for $5 each!  I have always loved vintage suitcases and vividly remember my Grandmother traveling with them.

How to restore vintage suitcases

I originally purchased them to be used in my VW bus.  I used the train case as my tool box because I just couldn’t have ugly tools muddling about.


I can’t post this picture without shedding a tear or more. Dear word…look at how cute this bus is! I made the curtains. I made the seat covers, the poofs and the quilts. It was girly, and freakin cool all in one. I sold this bus because ongoing mechanical issues but another one will make it into my life soon. It simply must.

The other two suitcases I simply wanted to use for camping supplies and clothing for our camping trips.  Of course, I had to rid them of the “old smell”.  I aired them out for weeks, sprayed them with lysol, ripped out the original interior fabric and scrubbed them to no end. They turned out pretty well.

How to restore vintage suitcases

Just look at that fabric. I adore it. I have a fabric addiction. We all know that.

How to restore vintage suitcases

Can you even get over this fabric? Me neither.

How to restore vintage suitcases

This is where the tools lived. Doesn’t it look like a tool box?

I picked up these green beauties at a local garage sale.  They needed to be in my life.

How to restore vintage suitcases

My daughter wants to use them for her suitcases so I let her choose the fabric.  The suitcases were very clean but I just washed them with soap and water to make sure.  I also washed the fabric divider and pouches inside since there were in good shape instead of cutting them out.

How to restore vintage suitcases

Cat approved. I think he was hoping these were for him. These are the cases before cleaning…not too bad!

You will need spray adhesive to glue the fabric in.  Any brand will work I’m sure.

How to restore vintage suitcases

I roughly measured the fabric to fit the case and just started spraying it in place a little bit at a time.  You will want to make sure the wrinkles or air bubbles are out.  Don’t worry if you don’t cut the perfect piece of fabric you can patch up the places that you may be short on.

How to restore vintage suitcases

I actually found it easier to cut the pieces a little smaller and do patchwork at the end rather than cutting off the extra.  It’s hard to maneuver cutting the extra out and the corners can get bulky.  If you make patches it all blends together and still looks fabulous so don’t over think it.  It’s all going to be covered with clothing anyways.   I actually think a suitcase done with patches of different fabric would be fun and eclectic.  Another words…I will need to find more suitcases!

How to restore vintage suitcases

I absolutely love how they turned out.  Rose is so excited to use these.  They are very practical for a road trip but I don’t think they are for air travel.  I would love to see your suitcases if you have restored some!  I also use these suitcases as display cases in my craft booth, they work wonderfully!


How to restore a vintage suitcase






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  • Reply Cindy Harris July 6, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    Love them.

    • Reply fabulousindeed July 8, 2016 at 9:28 am

      Thank you!!

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