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Topic: Make retro suitcase (canvas, webbing handle, foam/cardboard) - how to sew?  (Read 1547 times)
Tags for this thread: suitcase , luggage , reinforced  Add new tag
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« on: November 22, 2019 07:42:37 AM »


I'm making my own suitcase!

The shape is fairly "naive" - a square box with rounded corner. 3 large pieces:

1. Side wall #1
2. Side wall #2
3. The round "belt" going around the whole case


I have managed to make the three pieces quite good looking, but I have some big issues:

1. The suitcase does not hold its shape
So far I have only used 10mm closed cell foam (an old sleeping mat haha) - it looks and feels great, but is not good/sturdy enough. I've seen plastic canvas and cardboard being recommended - any experience here? So far (on my prototypes) I've just pushed the foam in after or during stitching, so they are not really attached to the outer fabric at all.

I wonder several things regarding reinforcement:
1a. What material is best for stiffening a suitcase?
1b. Is it best to actually stitch this part or just let it be "trapped" inside like I'm currently doing?

2. How on earth do I sew two 10mm thick pieces nicely together with a 90 degree angel as in my photo?
On my first shot I tried sewing with the 10mm foam inside - horribly results so far.
Second shot I kept small holes in all 3 pieces and stuffed the foam in afterwards (difficult) and finished the edges with hand stitching (ugly)
Now I'm considering sewing all three edges separately with bias binding and hand stitch the pieces afterwards with a heavy thread, but if there is a good technique for doing this with a machine I would love to learn. Note that I am not stitching through 2 * 10mm - as the foam is "trapped" between the two cotton layers. The issue is that my sewing foot simply can't get all the way to the edge near the foam.

3. How to make the handle?

I want ideally the handle to just be a cotton webbing, but when I tried now with heavy load, it got really bent. Is there some stiff material that can be used (hidden between the area where the handle is sew to the bag) that makes it resist the bending?
Note that just stiffening the bag as I'm asking for in #1 could actually solve this issue alone.

4. Any good tutorials on hiding zippers?

I would like to hide my zippers as much as possible - only the cotton canvas to been seen. Currently I tried to sew two "flaps" covering the zippers with the fabric I'm using for the rest of the suitcase. It looks great when flat, but when I sewed the whole suitcase together the flap that is attached to the 90 degree corner gets thrown out of shape and I'm left with a very ugly result.

Many questions, sorry about that!
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