Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Cool Crafts That You Can Make With Old Sewing Patterns

It's thin, yellowed, crinkly and translucent, and if you've ever sewn a piece of clothing, you probably have one somewhere at home. I'm talking about old sewing patterns, whose tissue-paper-like quality has a unique look and feel all its own. The neat thing is that these patterns can be upcycled into something new, and they give craft projects a great vintage vibe.

Another thing that is great about old sewing patterns is that you can find them just about anywhere, and usually for pennies. I see them all the time at thrift stores and rummage sales, so if you don't have any at home, they're relatively easy to find and usually cost less than a dollar. Do you have a sewer in your family? Ask them, and I bet they'll have an extra old pattern or two that they'd gladly part with.  

Once you have your patterns, make sure that they aren't valuable - meaning, make sure they aren't an antique that shouldn't be damaged, or a pattern that is brand new that someone could use. Old, used patterns are the best for crafts. 

Now, what to do with them? Paper flowers are an obvious choice, but sewing patterns don't have to be a one trick pony! Here's a hint: Mod Modge just may be your best friend! You can decoupage the tissue paper patterns to wood, plastic, and many other surfaces. Some great ideas are lampshades, photo frames, and large wood beads and jewelry. And anything where light shines through is perfect (like the lamp shades), so think of ways you can use it to take advantage of it's transparency. And don't forget to repurpose the pattern envelopes too!

Check out these creative ideas for what to do with old sewing patterns and be inspired!

Use as gift wrap or and tissue paper for gifts. Image by Heather Bullard

Create a dress pattern bouquet

Sewing pattern decoupaged wood bangle bracelets

Use it in your Valentine

Sewing patter covered sketchbook 

Framed pattern and pattern envelope in memory of grandma from mommyto1

Sewing pattern twinkle lights by Velvet Strawberries
(I would use caution with this one and would not plug them in due to not knowing the safety of paper+the lights)

Lamp shades with vintage pattern envelopes

Tags made with old sewing patterns

Sewing pattern lampshade from BHG

Sewing pattern decoupaged tray

Bags made from images from vintage pattern envelopes 

Paper dolls from vintage sewing pattern bags from Abbies Paperie

Sewing pattern wreath by I'm Just Sayin'

Framed sewing pattern envelopes

Decoupage a picture frame

What do you think? 
How would you use it?

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Article copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2020 and may not be republished in print or other media without express written permission from the author. For any link corrections please leave correct info in comment area.


  1. Thanks Laura, lots of inspiring ideas!

  2. I made a series of ATCs by shrinking the front of the pattern packet and cutting out the women. I embellished the dresses and added sewing bits, like snaps and thread labels. They turned out quite nicely. They were for a swap, but I wish I would have kept them. I should probably make more. I have plenty of old patterns in great condition.

  3. I'm loving all these ideas for vintage patterns!

  4. I like all of these - the paper dolls LOVE those

  5. It's a really wonderful blog. You always come up with great ideas. Keep sharing
    I Love DIY Art

  6. Some awesome inspiration...thank you!!

  7. Fantastic ideas! Such clever & great ideas! Thanks for sharing.

  8. How do you make the paper dolls using vintage patterns shown in one of the pictures?


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