Thursday, June 2, 2016

What To Do With the Past

How many of us have doilies and linens that we have inherited from our mothers and grandmothers? I (Kara) have accumulated quite a few over the years. Whether they were given to me as gifts from my grandmother or whether I picked them up on my thrift/antique store adventures, my pile is quite large.

My collection

But the question is, what do I do with them all? My grandmother and great-grandmother, and even my great-great-grandmother spent a lot of time and energy on creating these beautiful works of art. Even if I used them in my home decor on a rotating basis, I would still not be able to adequately show them off in a way they deserve. So instead, they languish away in drawers, boxes, and cedar chests. 

A tablecloth my grandmother started

It's been on the back of my mind to do something with them all, but lack of time and energy has prevented that from happening. Recently, I became a member of the Facebook group, Quilting Vintage, and have been inspired by the amazing things that machine quilters and long-armers have been doing with vintage linens of all kinds. 

I have also searched through Pinterest for doily re-purposing ideas, and I was bit overwhelmed at all the creative options I found. 

Doily pillow from "Ode to Inspiration"

What a gorgeous use of color for these doilies by Sadie Seasongoods

This lovely quilt can be seen at "V and Co."and in the book Make It Sew Modern: Gather, Twist, Pleat, Texture

The above ideas are just a few creative ways that I've found to use doilies, but I think I will put my inherited doilies in a quilt. When I came across these inspirational quilts from Suziqu's Threadworks, I was in awe.

I love the use of velvet as a background

The neutral palette is beautiful

So many different types of needlework were used in this quilt

Now that I have some inspiration, I will need to sort through my collection and plan. I really like the idea of a neutral background in taupes, tans, and beiges. I think that this project will be one that has to be fluid and dictated by the doilies themselves, since they vary so much in size, color, and style.

What a variety!

The doily on the right is a classic pineapple design

My great-great grandmother made these adorable filet-crochet animals.

Handmade crocheted trim
A lovely cuff made by a friend

A sweet bib

Do you have vintage linens stashed away somewhere just waiting for new life? I love the idea of using these doilies, made by my grandmothers' hands, and giving them another story. Hopefully you will be inspired to create something with your collection and visit some of the pages we have linked here. If you have already re-purposed your doilies and vintage linens, please share your creativity. We'd love to see it!


  1. You have inspired me! I have about a dozen doilies my mom had...I think her mom made them, so they'd be over 50 years old. They are stashed in a drawer, but now can be on display. Thank you for sharing !

    1. You are welcome! Please share pictures once you have them out on display.

  2. I made the most beautiful bedcover of old linen and lace pieces.Today while sorting out cupboards I found
    more..I'm going to make another full length cover from pieces collected from the UK and my native SA.