Thursday, June 21, 2012

Vintage Train Case

Last month I gave you a tour of my aunt's little cottage and told you how she gave me a vintage train case. Well, this train case was some vintage goodness, but also really nasty. It stunk. I did my research as to how to "re-do" a train case, and everyone said that 99% of these train cases wreak. I'll tell you exactly what they smell like: dog and cigarettes left over from the 1970s. You'd never believe that this: 

upcycled train case

was once this:

upcycled train case before

When Cailin visited in May, I tore out the disgusting insides, hoping that the stench was just being stored in the old fabric. 

upcycled train case before

upcycled train case before smellupcycled train case before closed



It wasn't. Even after tearing out it's insides, this little train case still stunk. 

upcycled train case

I took one of Ivy's toothbrushes and began to scrub. (And yes, I got her a new one...)

upcycled train case clean with toothbrush
upcycled train case


I used baking soda concoctions. I used perfume. I poured pine-sol in it. I let it sit closed for 3 days with this cleaning deodorizer in it. I finally just hosed the sucker out. I Magic-Erasered it, inside and out. Nothing worked. I was on the phone with Cailin telling her I was just going to throw it away, and she said, "No! You already bought the perfect fabric! Just finish it." So on Father's Day, while Kit was at work, I busted out the scissors, glue gun, modge podge and the sewing machine and got to work. 

The stinky insides had been sitting in a brown paper bag since May. Kit almost threw them away a few times, and I found he'd also been putting the lint from the lint trap in the bag, thinking it was trash. They were not trash. They were my template:

upcycled train case pattern

I wanted a good line on the edges, so I sewed the edges that were going to go around the perimeter of the bottom of the case. 
upcycled train case with fabric

I wanted something to "cushion" the bottoms a little, rather then put the nice fabric right on the disgusting bottom/top of the case. So I cut out some rectangles of old sweat pant material and glue gunned them in.


upcycled train case liner

Then I modge podged the bottoms and tops on top of it, and glue gunned the edges. I didn't want to use a ton of glue gun, because you can sometimes see/feel the bumps when it dries.


I pinned the corners so they'd lay nicely.

upcycled train case fabric inside

This is the case, upside down:
upcycled train case

Then I glued the edges of the long pieces around the perimeter of the bottom of the case, really close to the top edge. The corners were tricky, but I finagled them.

upcycled train case


For the top, I used a thick piece of canvas ribbon to cover the raw edges of the material. There was no way I was going to be able to sew it exact in that small section. 

upcycled train case

To cover the raw edges in the bottom where it wraps around, you use a square piece (which I sewed it's edges) and glue it from the bottom of the case to the top, covering where the hinges are. 

upcycled train case

And here it is! Finished! 

upcycled train case after

I'm kind of in love with it. It's sitting on my entertainment center, as a catch-all.




upcycled train case catch all

The good news: It no longer stinks. The fabric somehow covers up the raw insides. I dunno. It's nothing like it was. 

upcycled train case on entertainment center

So go find a vintage train case, and re-do it. 

Aloha, Rebecca

39 comments:

  1. WOW! Not sure I would have even touched the inside of that case. Now it looks FABulous!! I'm impressed!

    robin :-)

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    1. Thanks Robin! Yes, it WAS disgusting. Not so much now... :)

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  2. I love the retro fabric you chose for the case, it turned out fabulous! Good to hear it no longer smells, the wonders of wonders.

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    1. Thanks Victoria! I'm so surprised how easy it was to put together.

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  3. A couple of years ago I bought a vintage suitcase with the intention of re-doing it, but I haven't touched it yet. Thank you so much for showing us how you did this step-by-step! Now that I know how to go about it, I am excited to update mine!

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  4. I just found your blog via Sew Many Ways' Find a Friend. What neat idea for a catch-all! I think I'll have to keep my eye out for something like this to re-do myself!

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  5. Love the old/ redo case. The fabric you used it so cute. I have used fresh coffee grounds to take out / cover up smells. I have a old sewing box that an egg got left in (Easter egg)I found it years later. The coffee really helped.

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  6. Visiting from Find a Friend Friday at Sew Many Ways.

    What a transformation! It turned out great. One thing I've found that works really well for getting rid of odours from fabric and books is to put the item in a large paper bag and then pour fresh kitty litter over it, close the bag and in a few days the odour will be gone.

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    1. interesting! thanks for stopping by.

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  7. What a great upcycle! My grandma had a case like this, I wonder what ever happened to it? I love how yours turned out!

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  8. What a great save and love the fabric you used inside! Thanks for sharing.
    Quilting at the River Linky Party Tuesday

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  9. Love the train case do-over! Very pretty fabric choice!

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  10. I love the after! The fabric is fabulous! Not sure if you plan on tackling another project like this put maybe you could paint it with Kilz or some other odor blocking paint? Thanks so much for sharing on Tout It Tuesday! Hope to see you next week.

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    1. oooh, Kilz sounds like a great idea.

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  11. Hi Rebecca,
    I love what you've done with the train case! It looks amazing. You've got your Mom's sewing talent, I see. Template? I would've never thought about that. Loved the tips on removing odors, too, as I have a perfect looking book that smells like fireplace smoke.

    p.s. I picked up 2 more train cases at a yard sale yesterday. I swear, I am going to stop, but I couldn't resist:one off-white Samsonite, and a brown leather-colored one.
    Love, Aunt Jaymee

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    1. thanks for reading my blog Aunt Jaymee! Couldn't have done this post without you! If you want to see anymore train cases re-done... send them over!! i don't think I'll find any here on Maui. You're so lucky to get them there.

      did you see the post on Megan's Apartment?

      http://jedandivy.blogspot.com/2012/06/my-cousins-san-diego-apartment.html

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  12. I have revamped these old train cases for years. Usually shabby chic with roses. I have 6 of these old cases and you have inspired me. Time to get out the glue gun..... Love your case. great job!!

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    1. 6?! I'm so jealous! I wish I had 6 to re-do. Such a fun project.

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  13. Fantastic! It looks amazing and so glad you got the smell to disappear. I totally want a case like this now! Thanks for linking to Craftastic Monday at Sew Can Do:)

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    1. Thank you for featuring this, Cheryl! Love your blog!

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  14. Such a cute little train box!! The fabric you chose for it is perfect!

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    1. Thank you Dee! I love retro blue/green fabrics.

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  15. If it does start to smell, sew a calico bag and fill it with Baking Soda (not Powder) and leave it in there. You can also spritz the fabric with a bit of vanilla and water, this will not stain the fabric but leaves a lovely vanilla fresh smell.

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    1. Ooh, I love the vanilla idea! Thanks!

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  16. I found one of these at the thrift store and almost bought it...I am going back there today and hoping it is still there to buy it! It wasn't a cute blue like yours but, I am sure I can do something with it! Thanks for the tutorial.

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    1. I hope you got your hands on it! This seriously was so much fun to do, and not extremely difficult. So rewarding. Thanks for stopping by!

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  17. It's perfect and you did an amazing job on it! Thank you for sharing this at my Make it Pretty Monday party at The Dedicated House. Hope to see your prettiness again on Monday. Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

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    1. Thanks Kathryn! Thanks for hosting the party. :)

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  18. Way to turn drab into fab! This really was well worth the effort (and stink). I absolutely love the fabric you chose (and it perfectly compliments that picture of the waves crashing on the right side of your entertainment center. Beautifully done! (And I'm so glad you liked my vintage purse makeover. Isn't it wonderful to make something old new again?)

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