DIY Home + Garden

Published on February 15th, 2011 | by Becky Striepe


Fab Fabrics: Vintage Doilies and Projects to Get You Started

vintage doily
Your first mental image when I mention doilies is probably of a stuffy old home, where those lacy mats adorn the table tops, but doilies definitely have a place in modern crafting, too.

There’s something special about vintage doilies. They’re this perfect combination of nostalgic and fussy, but at the same time they’re simple pieces. With a little bit of love and some imagination, you can incorporate these vintage elements into your own crafting.

Next >>Where to buy vintage doilies

[Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by bcmom]

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About the Author

My name is Becky Striepe (rhymes with “sleepy”), and I am a crafts and food writer from Atlanta, Georgia with a passion for making our planet a healthier, happier, and more compassionate place to live. My mission is to make vegan food and crafts accessible to everyone!. If you like my work, you can also find me on Twitter, Facebook, and .

6 Responses to Fab Fabrics: Vintage Doilies and Projects to Get You Started

  1. Kerry says:

    If you have an “heirloom” doily you don’t want to ruin or use in a craft, I’ve seen many sites on the web show how to frame them. That is a beautiful way of displaying and protecting the piece.

  2. karen says:

    Great post, as usual!
    I love sewing laces and doilies on pillow covers. I’ve been thinking about making necklaces with them but didn’t know how to make them stiff. Still pondering the idea of using commercial stiffeners since they will last longer than glue and starch but not so eco-friendly, I bet. 🙁

    • Aw, shucks, Karen. 🙂

      Yeah, the stiffening thing is tricky, and I”m not sure how a home made stiffener would hold up, which is important if you’re planning to sell the necklaces. What about decoupaging the lace onto glass? Maybe you could even use some kind of reclaimed glass or sea glass?

  3. Kathryn says:

    I love vintage doilies.  I also love to crochet doilies from vintage patterns.  The latter make great gifts for people who appreciate them.  (I judge “appreciation” by what people say when they see me making the doilies.)

    Anyhow, I have a few ways to use the vintage ones (or the new ones, for that matter).  They can be recycled into covers for throw pillows or pillow shams. You could center one doily on the cover or use several different but harmonizing ones. I suggest fastening the doily to the fabric with clear packing tape (instead of pins) when hand sewing it on.  I haven’t tried machine-sewing doilies, so I don’t have any suggestions for that. 

    They can also make a charming valence.  Use a variety of doilies that harmonize with one another, then simply attach them to a curtain rod with spring  clothespins.

  4. carol says:

    I used to work in a fabric store and one of our customers sewed doilies to pastel colored blocks of just inexpensive broadcloth. The doilies were all different sizes so on some blocks she would put 2 or 3 small doilies on, another one larger, as she cut all the blocks the same size. The pale pastel fabric peeking through the delicate lace made a beautiful shabby chic quilt. It would be a great project if someone inherited a stack of doilies from their grandmother.

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