Framed Pattern Envelope Pictures: A tutorial – Part 1

pattern pic tute - complete

Friends, I’ve been thinking a lot about how to style my ‘not quite finished’ sewing room and even though I’m not at the decorating stage, I’ve decided to start planning and preparing  for it. Firstly I want a vintage feel – but not totally vintage. I also want a French feel, but not totally provincial or shabby chic. I want hints of these aspects. I recently published a blog post about the furniture mouldings that I ripped off a wardrobe that I’m going to make moulds of to make more of them so I have plenty of them to decorate the sewing room – I really want to use what I already have where ever possible. So in light of that, it seemed perfectly obvious to use my vintage pattern collection to decorate. This tutorial is only going to be part 1 – to show you how I achieved the pattern inserts. I’ll be doing part 2; decorating the actual frame, in a few weeks after I’ve done the first Annie Sloan chalk paint workshop at Brocante in the Barossa.

 tools for pattern picture project


1.  A sheet or two of any paper or card stock to make the paper/card  template frame (front right)

2. Metal rule

3. Paper cutting knife

4.  Self healing cutting mat

5. pencil

6.  eraser

7. Access to a copier printer or photocopier

8. Vintage pattern envelopes.

9. The frame you are using – including the glass/perspex in the frame

10. A cutting guillotine or other cutting device  * these aren’t necessary (just good to use if you have them) as you can use the metal ruler/mat/cutting knife combo

 nyttja ikea frame - vintage pic tutorial

I’m using these ‘cheap as chips’ IKEA frames – there’s a reason for this; they are really light and very flat with barely any depth to them. I plan to attach them to robe doors so they need to be very light.

Folks, you know I would NEVER use the original pattern envelopes from my vintage pattern collection – it goes without saying.  For this project you will need a collection of vintage patterns and access to either a printer that copies or a photocopier. If you use actual vintage pattern envelopes, please please don’t tell me; my heart couldn’t take it.

 printer - pattern pic project

What I did

The first thing I did was to empty and iron my vintage patterns nice and flat so they were at their best to get their picture taken. I made sure to centre the envelope on the glass surface of the printer so that I would have a white surround around all four sides.  Centre the pattern on the glass. If you’re doing this on a photocopier at somewhere like Office Works then you might need an extra white piece of paper in A4 size so you can centre the pattern on the paper so that the copier recognises the smaller A4 size. Otherwise it may automatically print out a larger sized paper. If using a photocopier, you centre the pattern on the piece of paper and then put it the pattern face down on the glass with the paper behind it. Orient the pattern centred on the sheet of paper as you normally would for photocopying an A4 sized sheet (flush to the left side and top side of the glass either horizontally or vertically).

 printed patterns - pattern pic tute

Here’s the printed pattern fronts with their white borders. They aren’t centred perfectly; they don’t have to be. I just need enough white area around the pattern area for when I’m centre-ing the part of the design that I want to be seen in the frame. My frames are smaller than the pattern picture outline. This means that I will need to cut the pictures down to fit the frame. I will need to decide what part of the picture design to keep and what part to cut away. I have decided that I want to keep the baby graphics and lose the pattern makers name and pattern text details on the right hand size. I wanted to be able to play around with what would look best before I cut, so I made a mock frame that is the same size as the inner part of the frame. The mock frame would also be the template that I used to make the pencil marks to guide my cutting.

How I made the mock frame template

 template - pattern pic tute

Get an A4 sheet of paper or light card stock and the frame that you intend to use. Take the back off the frame and remove the glass/perspex. Lay the frame, right-side-down on the paper and draw around inner cut-out area of the frame. You want to draw a rectangle the same size at the hole in the frame.  Then you get your metal ruler, self-healing mat and cutting knife and carefully cut out the window. It doesn’t matter if the cut is jagged – it does matter that the rectangle you draw is as close to the size of the hole in the frame as much as possible.

 making the pattern marking frame - pattern pic tute

Next, take the  frame glass/perspex and centre it over the cut out. Try and get the glass/perspex centred so all the inner sides  of the cut-out section are equal in width. I eyeballed this part.

Then, press down hard on the glass/perspex to make sure it doesn’t move and trace around it. Remove the glass/perspex and then cut along the pencil lines. You will end up with a paper/card frame template that has two purposes. The first is to help you draw the outer cutting lines on the pattern picture and also to help you decide which part of the design you want to be visible in your frame.

Next, take your frame template and lay it over your pattern envelope copy. Move it around until you are happy with the design that is visible in the cut-out section.

 centre the template - pattern pic tute

 I used a slide blade cutter because I’ve got one at hand, but a metal ruler with a craft cutting knife will work just as well.

 cutting the pattern pic - tutorial

Here are all eight of the cut pattern copies.

 cut pattern pics - tutorial

And here’s a finished pattern copy in the frame.

 finished pic 2 - tutorial

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