Are you concerned about your beautiful vintage suitcase that you’re totally and completely and utterly in love with getting dinged up while traveling for the holidays? Because I am. So, I decided to make a suitcase cozy to keep it protected! Here I’ve written up a simple tutorial (with no measuring required!) so you can do the same!
Fleece. The amount you need will depend upon the size of the suitcase that you are covering. It should be several inches wider than the width of the suitcase and should be long enough that it will wrap all the way around with several inches to spare. It is possible to use other fabrics but I highly recommend fleece because it does not unravel and is quite easy to sew with.
Snaps. I used 7 snap sets, but again, this will depend upon how large your suitcase it.
Snap setter. You want to use quality snaps and snap setter. I’ve been very happy with what I’ve bought from SnapSource.
To sew this case out of fleece, you will want to use a stretch stitch on your sewing machine. It is a much sturdier stitch than a normal straight stitch (I use it on any thick fabric that will take a lot of abuse like denim jeans or a canvas bag). It’s doubly important to use in this instance because fleece has stretch to it and you don’t want your seams busting from stretch in the fabric.
1) Start by sewing up one of the sides, stopping the seam several inches short of the top. I used a big piece of yellow fleece in my stash that had lived a previous life covering a headboard.
2) Pull the cozy onto the suitcase so that your seam goes up one of the sides.
3) Pin the fabric along the top of the suitcase. In my case I barely had enough fabric to meet at the top but it will be easier if you have a couple inches of fabric ease (it will get trimmed later).
4) Pull the fabric taught across the width of the suitcase and pinch it at the unsewn edge. Snip the fabric an inch away from the edge of the suitcase. This will give you ½” seam allowance with ½” ease.
5) Undo all your pins and sew up your other side seam with a ½” seam allowance, again leaving several inches of unsewn fabric at the end of the seam. These unsewn parts will remain in the finished cozy so that it can easily pull on and off the suitcase. You do not need to worry about finishing the edges as fleece will not unravel.
6) Pull the cozy on. You’ll notice that the bottom corners leave ugly flaps. Pin them up. Tack the tops down to where you have pinned them. You can do this by stitching forward a few stitches with a straight stitch, reversing a few stitches, and sewing forward over the stitches again. If you make the tack using your stretch stitch, it might jam up your machine to sew back and forth since it’s already effectively a doubled stitch.
7) Pull the cozy on and trim the top of the cozy so that it just meets across the top of the suitcase. Pull off the cozy. Cut two strips of fabric that are 4” wide and the length of the open seam across the top of the suitcase. Fold them in half long-wise. Pin them to the right sides of the open part of the cozy and sew the long seam with a ½” seam allowance.
8) When you pull on the cozy, it should now fit nicely with the two doubled strips of fabric easily overlapping a bit. Now, it’s time to add the snaps! The number of snaps you use will depend upon how large your suitcase is. I recommend at least one snap to go in the middle of the case and one directly oneither side of the handle. From there, put a snap every few inches. I used 7 on my large suitcase. Mark along one strip with pins or chalk where you want your snaps to go.
9) If you’re familiar with setting snaps then do your thing and skip to the next step. If you want a walkthrough of snap setting, keep reading. Setting snaps is very easy if you have quality snaps and a snap setter tool. Make sure that your snap size matches the size of your tool.
– Start by placing the capped prong ring through the top of the fabric where you want it to go. Make sure that you have a bit of space between the edge of the fabric and the placement of the snap. I leave at least 3/8”. Double-check that you have the capped prong ring poking through the correct side of the fabric – it should be visible on the top of the right side of the fabric.
– Place the snap top-side down in the snap setter.
–Place the middle of the tool on, making sure that the snap top is still gripping the fabric and is centered in the correct location in the tool. Place the stud in the hole, prong pointing up.
–Place the top of the snap setter on and gently hammer the snap together. Repeat for as many snaps as you would like set along the length of one strip.
11) Now you will set snaps along the length of the other strip to match the first strip. I find it easiest to lay the two strips next to each other and place pins or chalk along the length of the second strip at the points where the snaps are on the first strip. This way you don’t have to measure and it doesn’t matter if your snaps aren’t perfectly evenly distributed. Remember, fleece is pretty forgiving so you don’t have to be exact. For the second strip you will use the open prong ring and socket.
11) Put your cozy on and rest easy on your next flight because your bag is well protected!