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  • Writer's picturePeter Smith

Bags and Cases Repairs and Restorations

Updated: Jul 7, 2023

When asked to do a repair, I will ask if you want a sympathetic repair or a full restoration. So what is the difference between 'sympathetic' repair and 'full restoration'?

Let's see what's in Bags and Cases Repairs and Restorations

I get a wide variety of objects to repair, some dating back to the mid 19th century to more modern designer pieces.

Most of the work I do is for heirloom pieces. It feels a bit like 'The Repair Shop' on the tele!

Sympathetic Repairs

This is where I will repair an item to a usable state, for example fixing handles or piped edges, torn stitches, etc. but leave the age on the article. Some people want to keep the age and marks that represent the true identity of the article over it's lifetime and use within the family.

Full Restoration

A full restoration is where I will do the repairs as well as restoring the article to as near to 'as purchased' as possible. This will mean treating scuffs, scratches, (paint marks in one example) and will mean re-colouring the article.

All repairs are done to as near as hidden as possible - if the damage is such that I can repair without the repair being visible...

In most cases (excuse the pun), I will have to remove the inner lining. Some bags are originally made (stitched by machine) inside out. The bag is then turned right side out and the lining stitched in last. To do repairs to these, the inner lining must be removed in order to do my repairs. Once the lining is removed, I then turn the bag inside-out, do the repairs, then re-attach the lining.

All of my repair work is done by hand, including the stitching, for two reasons. The first being that it is difficult to use a sewing machine on these shapes. The main reason however is so that I can use the same stitch holes that were originally created when the item was originally sewn.

I take restorations and repairs to heart and treat all items with absolute care, as though they are my own. That way, you can rest at ease knowing that I will take great care of your item.

Example work

These few examples show some of the work I have done, both in sympathetic repairs and restoration to repairs.

Motorcycle Saddle bag restoration

This is one of a pair of motorcycle panniers that needed full restoration. Some of the original buckles were missing and others were rusted. There were water marks in the leather and the bags were misshaped. This restoration required the removal of the water stains, new buckles and re-shaping. You can see more of this work here.

Holdall restoration

In this work below, the handle was broken and the holdall really needed some restoration work also. The holdall was colour treated to bring back the vibrancy of the colour. See more of this work here.

Briefcase sympathetic repair

This briefcase below was a real special project for me as it was a 30 year old briefcase given to the owner as a gift on graduation as a teacher.

The piping was particularly worn and torn and the handle was broken. The original handle was not repairable so I made a new handle. The rest of the work was to treat the leather as it was a little dry and lacklustre. See more photos of this project here.

Kit bag restoration

This poor fellow got run over by a car resulting in tears and scrapes. This was a case of 'remove the inner lining, do the repairs then put it all back together again. The project portfolio is here.


You can see from the work on my 'repair and restore' and 'before and after' pages that there is a great variety of objects, not just Bags and Cases Repairs and Restorations. I pride myself in the fact that I have the skills to work on objects like these.

Please contact me if you want something repaired or restored.

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