As the recession continues toBeading2 bite, there has never been a better time to turn to craft. Near pristine vintage items are frustratingly scarce and all too often, high-quality pieces fall outside many of our budget ranges. 

If you have fallen in love with an unattainable vintage treasure or simply wish that a heartbreakingly beautiful object better matched your colour scheme, then crafting your own pieces in a retro style or from vintage patterns could be the perfect solution. Alison Rowley has found five step-by-step vintage craft projects.

Unique, tweaked to suit your own taste and designed to last another half a century, mock vintage creative projects are both enjoyable and rewarding to undertake. Here are five of the most useful techniques and step-by-step walkthrough examples of the striking items that they can produce.


With modern décor typically featuring cleaner lines and minimal embellishment, retro-style beaded furnishings can be hard to track down. Even if you are lucky enough to find a beautifully fringed piece, it is likely to have suffered some wear and tear over the years and to be in need of some delicate cleaning and difficult repairs.

If you are seeking to add a bit of Twenties bling to your boudoir or wanting to create a hazier hue elsewhere in your house, then consider crafting your own beaded items. After all, sourcing a decent quantity of loose vintage beads to finish the edge of strings is bound to be less time consuming than tracking down the exact match for that faded Forties fringing!

This comprehensive guide to daintily beading a lampshade includes step-by-step diagrams and can be adapted for decoration of other household items or even accessories such as bags and scarves.

If you are already a beading expert, you may want to look at this more complex vintage tutorial on how to complete a stunning beaded purse.



Hot on the heels of the knitting boom is crochet (for the uninitiated, it’s a bit like knitting but makes use of a hooked ‘needle’ and a single looping technique). Crochet is an extremely versatile craft, so a wide variety of items can be whipped up by a savvy stitcher, including shawls, toys and bags.Crochet2

Vintage patterns are abundant online, but many rely on existing knowledge of the process. If you like the look of the Forties ‘Sunbeam Sweater’ pictured but feel a little overwhelmed as a beginner (especially when confronted with the technical abbreviations), then swot up on crochet and progress gradually by clicking here for beginner’s instructions.

However, if you have already caught the crochet bug, are up for a challenge and want to inject a bit of vintage glamour into your wardrobe, then follow the instructions below and you’ll hopefully have you own neat knitwear before the days get too chilly.

Be sure to check size measurements before you start.

Read on for felting, using vintage buttons and macramé!

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4 Responses

  1. Rashell

    My mom and I were at an Antiques & Collectibles store the other day where she found some great craft books for $3-$5. As I was thumbing through I realized many of those step by step projects were being taught in “modern” books & videos that sell for $20-$30. The only difference was black & white vs color photos.

    I love the classic Jackie O look so I tend to enjoy the vintage books & the blog post, more!

    What a great article!


  2. erin

    I LOVE vintage crafting. You’re right about now being the time to jump on it, what with the recession and all….I’m new here but I thought I should mention that today is the last day to enter my little giveaway for six vintage knitting magazines! Hop on over to http://www.patchworkunderground and get yer comment in there, girl! good luck! <3 erin

  3. Rebecca

    I love vintage things, but not confident enough to wear them 🙁
    I love little things like rings just to add to a simple outfit 🙂
    Charity shop i think tomorrow… x

  4. Jo, Owner,

    Great post! Every time I go to a vintage fair I can’t help but take a look at the vintage buttons and supplies on the table. They are such a brilliant way to jazz up a boring cardigan or top. I found this bag full of large gold buttons once from the Clerkenwell Vintage Fair for a fiver! I put them on the shoulders and cuffs of an ordinary black sweater and have gotten so many compliments on it. I can’t wait to try making my other buttons into jewelry as noted in this post! xx