Whenever I’m in a thrift store and I see a box or bin full of old sewing patterns, I can’t help but paw through them. Usually, I find regrettable patterns for 1980s-era dresses (think “Working Girl”) or early 1990s babydoll dresses and overalls (think “Blossom”). Truly fashion that should never have been fashionable! But that all changed during one recent thrifting adventure when my upcycling eye spied some older patterns peeking out from a bin.
I went through them one by one until I had accumulated the best of the bunch (in my opinion)- all of them from the ‘50s,’60s, and one from the early ‘70s.
Yes, I’ve previously played around with old sewing patterns…but that’s when I simply craved the patterned tissue paper within the envelopes. But this time…THIS TIME I wanted the envelopes themselves. Why?
To make wall art, of course! Simple, inexpensive wall art for a walk-in closet…the room of a child who just loves fashion …a sewing room…even a powder room. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.
Creating Vintage Fashion Wall Art
So, I of course nabbed some cheap-o picture frames from the thrift store, too- deciding that 8 x 10s would be a good size for what I had in mind.
With patterns and frames in hand, I went through my stash of vintage bed sheets and pulled out a few that had a “Mod” fashion vibe.
I deconstructed a picture frame, setting aside the glass pane to wash and the actual frame to paint. Then I trimmed down the cardboard backing (just a smidge on each side) and cut out a rectangle of bed sheet fabric larger than the cardboard, which I then ironed.
I carefully folded the fabric over on one side and used some watered-down Mod Podge to fuse the fabric to the cardboard. I did that on all four sides, pulling the fabric taut as I went along.
While the Mod Podge dried, I used my iron again and carefully used it on each pattern envelope. I knew they wouldn’t go totally smooth, but it gently pressed and flattened them. Then, I used more watered-down Mod Podge to attach the pattern envelope to my fabric-covered cardboard pieces.
The Big Reveal
When all was said and done- including spray-painting my frames in a glossy white- I reframed them under the original glass panes (which I washed!). Aren’t they stunning?
I thought I’d put them in my Etsy shop, but I’m not sure I can part with them- I just love how they turned out (but I *DID* put my extra vintage sewing pattern envelopes in the shop if you want to make your own!). And there’s zero waste since I can recycle the pattern tissue paper (if I don’t save it to make flowers). I just love a net-zero project!