There are two meanings to the word “retro”. One describes things that were trendy in the past, and you dust them off or make the same new ones. The second is about making new things look older – giving them past they did not really have.
I prefer the first way of being inspired with the past – there were so many beautiful things invented and designed it would be a huge waste not to use them anymore. That is the way I made you this list of my – at the moment – favourite retro patterns and vintage designs. You will find here original patterns from the past, along with past inspired modern projects. But what would be life without exceptions? There are a few techniques I use to distress the furniture, and I will give you a tutorial about how to do it with vinegar.
All the linked patterns and ideas are free, and they do not require purchasing any specific old items or furniture. It is truly DIY retro stuff!
You won’t find a thing more “retro” than this one. An original pattern from the 1950s that will show you how to make a beautiful and original shawl adorned with cute butterflies. In the linked article, you will also find helpful additional information about which cotton to use etc. The whole website is actually worth looking at; there are more vintage patterns to discover there!
This is what I call “old-fashioned”. Photography of cute little children turned into a pendant would be a perfect gift for mother or grandma. That may be true, but what is there for me here – you most probably ask right now. Well, you don’t have to put children photos into this pendant – instead, use flowers, for example. I put inside my pendant a photo of a poppy edited to achieve sepia palette, and the effect is stunning. I wear it with my spring and summer dresses.
Source & tutorial: sarahsaving
Vintage knit band
I noticed this picture of a woman wearing a headband when I was hunting for patterns on the Internet and immediately took interest as it reminded me somehow of Amy Winehouse. I think it’s very stylish and quite easy to knit actually. Combine the headband with a matching hairstyle, and you get yourself a very retro but fashionable look.
Source & free pattern: mamainastitch.com
Vinegar distressed furniture
Now something for making your home interior more retro. It’s a very easy and effective way to on the one hand refresh your furniture items and on the other – give them a real vintage look. First, you have to paint the table or whatever you’d like, and it’s best to use chalk paint. Then comes the distressing part. For the details, read those two articles linked below, you will find answers to all your questions.
Source & photo tutorial: whitelacecottage.com
Botanical wall art
This project will go really well with a distressed table. I love the way it combines the burlap with printed botanical art in sepia. AND it is so easy to make and affordable. In the article, you will find the link to the online library where you can find the art to print (you can also choose your own theme – there’s more than just plants to download).
Source & photo tutorial: canarystreetcrafts.com
Shrug knitting pattern
Have you ever wear a shrug? It’s perfect for a summer garden party or night out in the city, when you want to be warm but a jacket is too big of a bother. It is also surprisingly easy to make and will give your evening dress an air of sophistication.
Another retro detail for your interior. These silhouette doorknobs are easy to make and will turn your furniture into something special. The technique used here is really interesting as well – photo transferring allows you to decorate various objects with your favourite images. It’s definitely worth remembering.
Source & photo tutorial: thegraphicsfairy.com
Now an inspiration from a bit more recent past. A Tetris bag. I’m not a gamer myself, but I’ve played Tetris once or twice, so I know what it’s all about. But even if I didn’t, I would still love this project. Colourful, original and first of all – very thought through. In the linked article, not only you get the tutorial on how to make the pattern, but you will also find out how to make a bag. So after I’m done with the Tetris pattern, I will inevitably begin designing my own.
Let’s stay in the eighties for a little while longer, shall we? I know that now it’s summer and you probably don’t want to feel any warmer, but, well… winter is coming… And when it comes, you will fill grateful for these Sugar Rush inspired leg warmers!