Thursday, February 11, 2016

Luggage Rehab


Our family is planning our first big family vacation since...well...probably my husband and I's honeymoon 8 years ago. (Man..that sounds terribly sad to type out!) When we started to plan everything, I pulled out our luggage to see what kind of shape it was in. Other than moving, the last time we flew with our large luggage was the honeymoon. I fly a couple of times a year for work, but I always stick with a carry on since it's usually only a few days.

So, when I pulled out the luggage I saw that it was in pretty sorry shape. The thing is, why buy new luggage when our next family vacation is probably a couple of years away? Luggage and vacations aren't exactly cheap, so I decided to take inventory of our problems and see if they were up to a little DIY.

Problem # 1: Burn Holes.

So, no I don't have a secret smoking habit. These lovely looking holes actually came from the luggage sitting up against a trunk light. Yeah, I didn't know that could happen either. Since my luggage has pockets in the front, the hole was only through the first pocket. The integrity of the main compartment wasn't compromised. So, I could just leave the hole. But, I knew that stupid hole was going to drive me insane. Plus, it took prevented me from using a pocket.

My solution was to add an applique to the front of the luggage. By some miracle, the burn mark was directly in the center, so I could easily add an applique without looking completely janky. This method would work well if you had a small tear that was on a similar pocket. I would hesitate to use this method if the hole had been down to the main compartment. I can just imagine a bag handler throwing this on a belt and entire thing splitting open. Not exactly a stress free vision.

I created an applique by using a sturdy fusible interfacing on fabric. I simply had to cut out a shape from the fabric and hand sew it on to the luggage. Ta Da! A fix appropriate for our family vacation.

Problem #2: Torn Inside Pocket

This was a relatively minor problem. The mesh pocket inside the luggage was torn. Since I already had thread out to sew on the applique, I took a few minutes and just quickly threaded zig zag like up the tear. After a few sturdy knots, the tear was repaired.

Problem #3: Broken Wheel

This was a bigger concern. I almost almost decided I couldn't fix the wheel and decided to buy a new carry on. As I said before, I actually use this suitcase quite a bit, and after 10 or so flights, the cheap suitcase decided to protest my very heavy packing style.

I sat down and looked at the wheel. The wheel itself was actually good shape. It looked like the glue that held the wheel in place had given away. (I guess that's what you get for a cheap bag..glue not screws!) Since the structure of the bag seemed to be okay, I decided to re secure the wheel to the hard sided suitcase.

After inspecting the problem, I decided to drill two holes through the hard sided luggage through the wheel unit. After I drilled the holes, I put a set of bolts from the outside to the inside. I added a locking washer and nut on the inside. The bolts I had on hand were a bit long, so to prevent them from punch through the interior lining, I added some cushion with a couple of layers of duct tape around the bolt. I've done a couple of test runs to make sure my fix wasn't just superficial. The entire unit seems to be in pretty good shape.

I hope someone else who is equally as cheap as me will find these small fixes helpful! Although I'm pretty sure our cat Max would have been happy with just taking them as a new bed.


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