Doilies are beautiful, and the amount of work and fine craftsmanship that goes into making one is downright impressive to anyone who appreciates fiber art. But all too often, once finished, we ask ourselves “What do I do with this thing?” Well, this is one of my favorite crochet projects of all time. It’s simple once you get the idea, and absolutely adorable! Best of all you can use up vintage doilies you’ve inherited, thrifted, or finished and never displayed.
So rather than have a pattern, this idea needs to be adjustable for whatever doily, napkin, or vintage fabric you want to use. All it takes is one ball of cotton yarn of your choosing (Lily and Cream works fine), a button, and a little hardware. I tend to think that very simple crochet pieces can be made more impressive by using real hardware, such as matching chain and findings. These straps were simple necklace chains from the jewelry section at Michaels, with a thin strips of crocheted fabric for the shoulder piece to make it comfortable to wear. The button can be any matching button you have that fits through some gap in the doily, no need to sew a button hole!
One thing you can decide is whether to use the teal or the navy bag as an example. On the teal one, I made two pieces of fabric in the shape I wanted, single crocheted them together, then hand sewed the doily to the back piece with invisible thread (so, the doily is whole, and shows on both sides). However! This meant it was rather small to fit all my stuff in it, and the top was flimsy since it was just a doily and no fabric. I would advise sewing a zipper to the top if you use this method, in addition to having a button.
The navy bag is slightly small, but rather than crochet the front and back pieces directly together, I crocheted side walls to it and attached all the pieces to make a more 3D shape. I also made a double-crochet half circle flap to stitch to the doily (which I then just single crocheted across to begin making the back of the bag). This made a more rigid bag, but the seams are more visible.
Ultimately it’s up to you to play with the design and tweak it to your preferences. It will be different based on what doily you have. You could even make a full sized tote with a table-runner! They can be round, square, or star-shaped, and can use pastels and jewel tones for a modern flip of the upcycled doilies, or more neutral colors with dull metals to keep the vintage look.
Hope you’re inspired to use up those doilies now!