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Tutorial: how to line a vintage suitcase

Tutorial: How to line a vintage suitcase | Hello! Hooray!

Today’s post is a wonderful DIY tutorial: how to line a vintage suitcase. I bought this gorgeous vintage teal suitcase last year with the intention of re-lining it – in fact, I looked at my original post about it and realised that I got it in March! I had a bit of practice at re-vamping a suitcase when I made my travelling craft suitcase, but that was made from a new case rather than a vintage one. So this was new territory for me and I really didn’t want to mess it up! I spent ages looking for the perfect fabric, and eventually found this tape measure fabric on Ebay.

If you want to have a go at this yourself, you’ll need the following:

A vintage suitcase
Some fabric for the lining
Some ribbon to compliment the fabric
Paper to make the templates
Mod podge
Fabric glue
A paintbrush
A pencil and scissors

Step 1

Place the paper inside the lid of the suitcase and draw around the edges. Cut around the lines and double-check that the template is the right size! Repeat this with the base and sides, and with any extra pieces that you may need.


Step 2

Carefully remove any fabric or paper within the suitcase (I couldn’t get the paper out of the base or lid because they were sewn in below the trim around the edges, so I removed what I could!). Then wipe clean the suitcase with some antibacterial spray, making sure it is dry before you stick anything in.

Step 3

Lay out the lining fabric and pin the templates, before cutting out the pieces. Press the fabric to get rid of any creases.


Step 4

Next, starting with the lid, place the fabric inside the suitcase and trim off any excess. I made sure that the fabric covered up the ugly black trim, but left lots of the teal on show (any rough edges will be covered up with the ribbon later, but try to keep it as even as possible at this stage).


Step 5

Using a thin layer of mod podge, glue small sections at a time – it dries pretty quickly and doing it in small sections means that you can flatten it out much easier too!


Step 6

Next, brush some mod podge around the tops of the sides of the suitcase. Carefully place the side pieces in, smoothing out the fabric as you go. Continue around the bottom and cut two slits in the fabric in each corner to be able to fit it in. Trim any excess overlap, fold over to neaten and then glue.


Step 7

Repeat step 4 with the base of the suitcase. Then, using the fabric glue stick the ribbon around the edges of the lid and the two edges in the base (this velvet ribbon I’ve used here comes from RE in Corbridge).


Step 8

The final pieces from me to stick in were the pieces that support the lid – I used mod podge to secure these. The rectangular piece at the front has some thin card sandwiched in the middle to give it more support.


Ta-dah! That’s it! Now it just has to dry completely before I can put some of my fabric stash in it. I love the contrast between the fabric and the teal velvet ribbon and I’m really pleased that I didn’t wreck this lovely suitcase! 🙂


How to line a vintage suitcase | Hello! Hooray!

Post updated 14th August 2016.

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  1. Boomdeeadda on March 14, 2014 at 6:10 am

    such cute material you chose Clare! I love all the colours and it turned out darling. What are you using it for since you finished your project?

    • Clare on March 14, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      Thank you so much – I was really pleased with how it turned out! Thank you also for the handy tips on your blog, they were super helpful 🙂 I definitely want to do another one. I’m using it to store small bits of fabric – fat quarters tend to get lots in my fabric stash, so it’s good to be able to look through them all in the suitcase!X

      • Boomdeeadda on March 14, 2014 at 3:16 pm

        Oh, how sweet of you to say, thank you Clare 😀 Can’t wait to see what you do next.

  2. […] needle and foot when it isn’t being used. I used a scrap of fabric I had left over from my vintage suitcase project, and pressed the edges before sewing it all […]

  3. Rick on March 20, 2021 at 4:21 pm

    I looked at several tutorials about this before deciding to try this one. I share this article with others on Quora: I will post my results there as well.

    • Lori on October 23, 2021 at 3:03 am

      WOW! Thank you for the great instructions and boy did your case turn out lovely! I love the fabric choice ( I collect vintage tape measures 😊 ). I especially liked the velvet trim!

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