Traveling can be a frustrating experience if your luggage becomes damaged in transit and you don’t have a warranty on it. But ditch the duct tape – DIY fabric luggage repairs are fairly easy if you prepare for these travel mishaps before departing by purchasing and packing repair supplies, like a sewing kit. If you have basic sewing and patching skills, you can sew tears in fabric luggage. If you have no sewing experience or repair kit, using fabric glue or superglue will work just as well but might not be as pretty as a sewn repair. You can also use fabric patches or iron-on patches for fabric repair. Sometimes you can even find leather patches to match a the specific piece of fabric your luggage is made of.
1. Assess the size of the tear.
Assess the size of the tear. If it is a minor tear, stitch the edges of the torn fabric together using a tight whip stitch starting at one end of the tear.
2. Push the needle through the fabric
Push the needle through the fabric from inside the luggage and pull the needle and thread through the fabric.
3. Pull the thread across the tear
Pull the thread across the tear and insert the needle into the other piece of torn fabric. Pull the needle and thread through the fabric. This should begin to close the tear. Repeat this looping stitch to pull the torn fabric together to create a strong repair seam.
4. Back stitch a few loops
Back stitch a few loops when you get to the end of the tear. Tie off the thread on the inside of the luggage and clip off excess thread with the scissors.
5. Sew a patch of matching fabric
Sew a patch of matching fabric on the outside of the material using a traditional straight stitch if the tear is too large to whip stitch together.
Fabric Glue Repair
1. Hold the patching fabric
Hold the patching fabric on the inside of the luggage where the tear is located.
2. Apply glue to the inside edges
Apply glue to the inside edges of the torn fabric.
3. Press the torn edges back together
Press the torn edges back together to close the hole while also pressing against the patch fabric. Apply more glue along the tear seam on the outside of the bag if it doesn't meet up tightly. Wipe off excess glue with a paper towel. Allow to dry for the amount of time recommended on the glue label before using the luggage.
If you purchase a repair kit at a repair shop, usually there will be a repair guide and materials inside that can help you fix other problems you may be having with your luggage as well. From replacement wheels to fix a damaged wheel to lubricant or solvent for a stuck zipper or stuck telescoping handles to a pair of pliers for a damaged suitcase zipper or broken zipper teeth to screwdrivers to fix loose luggage wheels or luggage handles, these kits are very useful and worth throwing in your carry-on or backpack for your next trip. You’ll be glad you had a repair patch for that small tear so you can keep your trusty travel bags looking as good as new!