Friday, June 23, 2023

Ideas For What To Do With Old Lace

What to do with old lace? Upcycle it!

One question I get asked quite often is what people can or should do with old lace - whether it be old lacy curtains, sewing scraps, a bridal veil or doilies, there are lots of different ways you can recycle, or upcycle these items into something completely new. 

Turn old lace or doilies into scrap lace curtains

With a simple needle and thread (and sometimes with only a glue gun!) you can transform your old scraps of lace and hand-me-down doilies into something new.

Clothing, accessories, jewelry, and home d├ęcor items are just some of the things that you can create with these remnants. I've created a collection to inspire you and give you some ideas - enjoy!

Use a needle and thread to attach lace pieces together to create a belt. Lace medallion pieces are perfect for this.

Use heavy starch to shape and form crocheted lace into shapes, like this bracelet. Sewn-on beads add texture and interest. 

Upcycled chandelier made with old lace and doilies

Cotton and old lace steampunk style slip dress

Starch lace pieces to transform them into jewelry. To create an easy necklace, simply add jump rings and some lengths of chain and a jewelry clasp to a lace medallion.

A project for the more adventurous: sew a collection of remnants together (along with embellishments such as buttons, tassels, and fabric flowers) to create a hobo-style shoulder bag (two different looks, above and below)

For larger pieces of lace, such as old lace curtains or tablecloths, you can create larger projects, like this upcycled lace dress. Wash all pieces beforehand to remove stains. Check the material for dyeability; rayon and cotton are a go, polyester is a no.

Another great example of lace turned into jewelry. The beads on this necklace can be stitched on after it's put together, or glued on with a strong adhesive such as E6000. Remember to wash and starch the lace beforehand, and attach pieces together (and add a chain) with jump rings. 

An artsy, chunky scarf is the perfect project to use up old lace and fabric scraps (above and below). Buy or make silk or fabric flowers and add them for color, texture, or interest - there are lots of tutorials online for how to make them yourself.

Here's a tip: White glue can be diluted and used like starch to stiffen lace. You can form lengths of lace into bracelets or even crowns.

A lace and fabric bunting banner garland (above and below) is an easy and fun way to use old lace, fabric, and even vintage hankies. Create the triangle shapes (or square, rectangle, or half circle), and attach them to a long length of narrow lace, ribbon, cord, or fabric piping.

Headscarves on these beautiful models (above and below) are instant inspiration!

A table runner is a great project to make if you have a lot of doilies! Wash and dye them with fabric dye, then simply assemble and stitch together. You don't need a sewing machine or any sewing experience to create this, only a needle and matching colored thread. 

A book cover for a special book is a project for special lace, such as wedding lace.

A project for the more adventurous, this fab lace and denim skirt with an uneven hem is forgiving for beginners. It's made from a pair of old denim jeans. Again, add the fabric flowers once it's finished. Tip: If you make the flowers into pins instead of sewing them directly to the skirt you can remove them for washing or for when you want to switch up the style. (Lace and denim skirts, above and below)

That's all for today, it's back to my workshop for me, I have lots more to do.
See you soon and happy summer! 


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Article and images copyright ©Laura Beth Love 2023 and may not be republished in print or other media without express written permission from the author.