Making The Mattress To Fit a Vintage Suitcase
You will need:
Main fabric – we used a lovely brushed cotton stripe
Self Cover Buttons 19mm x 6
Long doll needle
around the base of your suitcase. Then, using this template, cut 2
pieces of fabric this size. Then cut two strips at that are
approximately 2cm shorter than the height of your suitcase. I endied up using
approximately 60cm of 110cm wide fabric.
Join your two strips together along the short side, to create one long strip, but cut two 20cm pieces off the end of this.
one of these pieces, create a handle. I did this by pressing in the
ends, then folding the piece in thirds to create a piece that was
approximately 15cm x 5cm. I sewed several lines along the length of
this piece, and all around the edge, and then stitched each end to a
central-ish point of the long strip.
sure that the handle falls in the centre of one of the long sides of
the main pieces, and then, wrong sides facing, I started to sew the top
of the mattress to the side. I did this wrong sides facing because I
wanted to bind the edges, but if you don’t want to bind, do right sides
facing and turn through at the end.
stitching the top to the side, I then bound the edge using a lovely
satin bias binding. Satin binding is such an old fashioned bed type
thing, don’t you think? It’s always on mattresses, or around blankets.
I wanted this mattress to have a bit of a vintage style appeal – purely
for my aesthetics, but that’s as good a reason as any, when you think
I then repeated these steps to join the bottom to the side, and then bound it.
you get to the join, fold each edge in, and overlap slightly before
sewing into place. Make sure the top and bottom line up nicely, so when
it comes to it you have a nice easy to stitch finish. This hole will
be your stuffing hole.
all made and bound, it’s time to stuff. I used 2 whole bags, and the
leftovers of my duvet and pillow set. That was probably about 700g of
stuffing. Stuff firmly, making sure your spread is even and not lumpy.
Once you’re stuffed, slip stitch the side opening closed.
I feel like I should say a word of warning about the buttons, in that
they are small parts and this is designed predominantly as a small
person’s play thing. Make sure, if you use buttons, to use thick thread
and sew them tight. Make sure they’re not likely to be pulled off. If
you’re too worried about doing these, just don’t use buttons. You can
still create the effect but with little crosses of thread, rather than
Anyway, back to the making. Cover your buttons with the remaining 20cm piece of fabric you cut earlier.
If you’ve never made covered buttons before, here’s how:
a circle of fabric approximately 1cm wider on all sides than your
button. Turn your button upside down on the fabric, then using your
fingers, push the fabric around to the teeth of the button back so it’s
gripped into place nicely. I like to alternate the sides I’ve pushed
from and rotate the button as I go, so I get a nice even finish. Once
your fabric is all gripped nicely into place, push the back on your
button. Make sure you can hear it click into place. If you don’t hear
or feel the click, it’s not pushed in properly.
you’ve covered your buttons, take out your doll needle. (It’s amazing
how something that can look so much like an instrument of torture can
have such an innocuous name as a ‘doll’ needle.) Thread your thick
thread doubled on your needle. Then finding the middle of the mattress,
anchor your thread in the spot firmly. Then push the needle through
the mattress to the centre of the other side. Come back to the first
side, making sure to find the centre point, and repeat back and forth a
few times, cinching in the mattress as you go. Once you’ve got it
cinched in nice and firmly, thread the button on your needle, looping
over a couple of times for security, and then thread back through to the
other side. Thread your button on the other side, looping double
again, and then secure as firmly as possible. Tie off, and lose the
threads somewhere in the body of your mattress.
Next find the spot between this centre button and the left hand edge and repeat. Then repeat for the right hand edge.
That’s one mattress done. I made a pretty fat mattress, and at this
point I looked at it in the suitcase and thought to myself that it would
make a really awesome bed for a cat or a little dog. So unbelievably,
there are other uses for this mattress. Would you believe it?
The next installment will be on the 16th January, and we’ll start making the bed!