Homemade Gifts Vintage Style
Old baggage comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes and many bags and cases still have interesting labels from their last journeys and some clues as to whom they belonged. They were built to withstand robust handling as they were portered between boat, railway luggage car, cart or carriage, stacked high and packed full, or simply left for ages in an attic. As a result, many pieces are now battered and worn and often in need of a little repair. There are heaps of different designs and finishes, from scuffed canvas to beautifully aged leather. The subtle tan leather cases and trunks should be left to improve with age, but from all the rest you can choose anything from the smallest, cardboard child’s case to the biggest steamer trunk to turn into a swanky new present.
Homemade Gifts Vintage Style by Sarah Moore is published by Kyle Books, priced £16.99. Readers can buy the book at the special price of £14.99 inc free p&p (UK mainland only). To order your copy, ring: 01903 828503, quoting ref. KB HGVS/COAK or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Whatever suitcase you choose, make sure that it is structurally sound, opens and closes easily and has no sharp nails or hinges on the inside or outside. Begin by giving the case a really thorough clean. Start with the outside and any catches or metal. Remove any rust with some fine wire wool and oil the catches so that they open smoothly. Polish any wooden beading or leather corner supports with a soft duster and some beeswax polish.
Using a well-stirred mixture of two-thirds PVA glue and one third water, paste the glue thickly and evenly onto the area that you want to cover. Then start smoothing on the little squares or whole pieces of trimmed fabric. It doesn’t matter if any glue gets onto the surface of the fabric as it be comes clear when dry. When you get to the edges of the lid of the case, continue sticking all around the lip, gluing a little of the fabric to the inside of the case to keep it neat. Use lots of glue so the fabric is stuck firmly in place.
Glue pieces of fabric right up to locks and catches, then use a sharp-bladed craft knife or little scissors to trim off excess fabric around their edges. Leave the case open to dry.
When the glue has dried, repeat the process and do the same on the inside. Cut scallop-shaped strips of fabric for borders, stick on braid or even use old wallpaper or maps to trim the inside.
Finally you can stencil the initials of the lucky recipient onto the baggage, add a luggage label with your message, or fill the whole thing up with whatever takes your fancy.