Tweed Suitcase Teardown

Tweed style suitcase
The Sacrifice

Picked up this suitcase at a swap meet (the Great Junk Hunt) along with a blue make up case, (reviewed elsewhere.) The purpose of this is to understand how a decent piece of luggage is made.


I can’t really afford to buy and take apart an expensive piece of luggage. however, I can get a cheaper piece and extrapolate upwards.

That said, the first thing to deal with is the liner. There is a fabric liner with elastic bordered pockets. curiously they are just glued in.

suitcase liner

There’s one piece in the lid, 5 in the main case body, including the hinge cover. The first piece out is the one in the lid. this turns out to be a single piece of cardboard backed fabric. The elastic (that should be taut against the lid and is hanging slack here) is actually tacked with a stud through the lid that is peened down so as to be generally unnoticeable from the outside.

Liner being pulled away from the surface
Liner being pulled away from the lid.

But for the glue, this came out all in one piece. Of note is that the pocket is sewn through the cardboard backing.

just below the lid liner, the hinge liner is glued on. One of the first things to notice behind the liners and hinge is that the construction of the case itself is plywood, with a hardwood cleat in the corner the exterior corner of which is carved off to present a nice curve.

The side panels are similarly constructed. cardboard panels with a pocket sewn on and a nail used to reinforce the upper corners where the elastic is anchored.

The really interesting part of this deconstruction is actually the external stitching. It turns out that while in the case of quite expensive luggage constructed of very thick leather, where the stitching may be of the box variety or the miter reinforcement type. the stitching in this case just goes right through the plywood.

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