Vintage Sewing Pattern Art

I’ve been needing some artwork in my craft room for awhile, but I didn’t want to put something up there just to fill the space.  It needed to be something that was both meaningful and worked in the space.  I’m a lover of nostalgia.  I also wanted something that was craft room appropriate.  I’ve had this project floating around in my head for awhile but just hadn’t gotten around to making it happen.

Last week I had an appointment up in the “city”.  Whenever I’m up there I try to swing into the Habitat Re-Store to see what’s new.  I came across this window for only $4, so I knew it was time to put my idea into action.

The window was pretty musty smelling.  So after removing the metal tracks from the sides, I sprayed it with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water and let it air out in the sun for a few days.  That seemed to do the trick for the “old” smell.  :)

I started my project using window cleaner on the glass cleaning both sides really well.  Then to make sure my “artwork” would be centered within each frame of glass I made a template so I could trace out a center rectangle roughly the size of the pattern prints.

Sorry for the terrible glare.


I made the template out of a scrap piece of cardboard.  The pictures would be secured to the back of the glass so I marked the front side of each pane using the template and a dry erase marker.

From there it was on to making my prints.

I have many of my Mom’s old sewing patterns.  Yes, I know, I’m probably a hoarder.  Anyway,…I selected six that I thought were kind of sixties kitschy.  I liked the colors and the clothes shown were really representative of the era.

The paper on the patterns was too brittle to use, and I didn’t want to destroy them.  Plus I wanted the images to be a tiny bit larger, so I scanned the pattern covers into my computer.  Once they were saved in the computer I was able to download each picture individually into a Word document to manipulate their size.  In the photo printing programs I have I am limited to standard photo sizes like 4×6 or 5×8.  In Word, once I put the photos into a document, I was able to fiddle with the image measurements to get the size I wanted.  I was shooting for 6×8.  Based on the size of the window panes (8.75×11.5) I thought that was a good size, not too small and not too big.

I printed up the images on matte photo card stock, enhancing the depth of color a teeny tiny bit.

I then cut out each image and laid them out how I wanted them to be placed in the window.

From there I put them in their respective frames to be glued.

You can see in the picture above that the blue lines are not the exact size of each sewing pattern print.  The lines were there just to guide me as far as centering up down and left right.  Each pattern brand was slightly different in size and with the age of each pattern the size differed slightly too.

To glue the prints into place I used Elmer’s Spray Adhesive.  It is SUPER STICKY!  It does make quite a mess too, so make sure if you use it to use a LARGE piece of scrap or drop cloth behind whatever you are spraying.  It works like a champ though, with secure adhesion, no lumps or bumps, and it does not make the colors run on whatever you might be spraying.

I did each print one at a time; spraying it up and down and then side to side to get even coverage of the glue.  Then I attached them to the back side of the window using my blue lines as a centering guide.

Remember those blue dry erase lines are on the front side of the glass so they don’t smear around or interfere with my prints.

Once all of my prints were glued down I wiped the marker off the front of the window panes.

To hang this piece I used sawtooth hangers attached to each top corner on the backside of the window.

Then it was just a matter of putting this little pretty into place.  Do you know this trick to help hang a picture with two hangers straight and level?

Put a piece of painters tape along the back of your piece between the hangers.

Mark on the tape where the hooks are.

Then take the tape off of the piece and put it on your wall using a level to place it in position.  Nail your holes in where they are marked on the tape and VOILA, perfect level placement every time.  :)   You’re welcome.

Here is my nekked wall before:

And after:

I know this artwork isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I like it.  Not only does it fill up my big blank wall with some whimsy and color it evokes a happy memory whenever I look at it.  I remember my Mom sewing a lot when I was little.  And if you knew her now, she’s very stylish and always dresses well, you would think it a riot to think she ever wore anything like these clothes.  She did!  :p  So this piece makes me smile whenever I look at it.

Even better, since I already had the glue, the patterns, and the card stock this project only set me back $4 and an afternoon.

Are you a nostalgia buff like me?  Have you used any unlikely memorable pieces in your decor?  I’d love to hear about them.

You can see a few more snippets of my craft room here, here, here, and here.

**I have received no compensation for specific products or retailers mentioned in this post.