Doilies and Huipiles

 Doiley Bags for Produce Tutorial…..

There are various outdoor markets here in Rome that sell second hand clothing and, if one is lucky, also sell second-hand linens including doilies or, as they’re called in Italian, “centrini” (“small centers” probably because objects are placed on their center).

When I arrived in Italy many many years ago, it was quite common in small villages to see women of a certain generation, sitting outside their door crocheting these centrini .  More than a pastime, making them could even be considered a form of meditation….handwork focuses the mind and thus allows our Psycho Self a chance to relax, a  chance to float instead of resisting  gravity all the time.

In the past, in Italy it was custom for the nuns to teach young women how to sew and embroidery for their corredo da sposa (hope chest).  And  the work produced was exceptional.  It’s not difficult to understand how Italy became a protagonist in terms of fashion having had so many highly skilled seamstresses.

But eventually centrini were considered de mode and, as a result, who inherited them generally gave them away to charity groups.  That’s why they periodically surface at secondhand markets.

If the prices are good, I try to buy them.  Not just for their beauty but also because I’m fascinated by their role in terms of giving women a psychological space for their thoughts.  Because sitting down and focusing your attention on your handwork gives you a chance to isolate yourself from the rest of the world and re-synchronize the self with itself.

I like to make huipiles.  They are easy to wear, easy to make and look a lot better on me than a t-shirt does.  In fact, in my opinion, t-shirts are not flattering in general.

And because of their simple structure, huipiles provide a format for all kinds of experimentation.  For example, that of repurposing centrini.


Above is the Muy Marcottage Huipil “United”(still to be washed and ironed).  It’s made primarily from second hand silk and cotton skirts as well as from doilies bought at the San Lorenzo outdoor market.


The word “united” is stitched on the front. I like the idea of uniting doilies made from different women, women who don’t even know one another. So philosophical, no?

United” is also a continuation of the concept “parts make the whole.”

United”  is available via Blomming.


DOILIES: A doily (or doilie) is an ornamental mat, originally the name of a fabric made by Doiley, a 17th-centuryLondon draper. Doily earlier meant “genteel, affordable woolens”, evidently from the same source.——– Doilie, doily, doyley, doiley, d’oyley or d’oilie?dabbling with doilies…

   These are antimacassars…….men use to cover their hair with macassar oil.  So to protect the  armchairs,   antimacassars were used.    —-Antimacassar Painting Antimacassar and me—

 Oscar de la Renta dress

Vintage Lace Handmade Dress Altered Couture Cotton Doilies Upcycleddoily wedding dressResurrection Rags’ photostreamPatchwork Couture by Gibbous Fashions—–another doiley style dress—

  This dress is created from dozens of doilies from Susanne’s collection of antique linens. Some of the hand-made laces are more than 100 years old. Susanne collects them from all over the country to repurpose them into one-of-a-kind pieces of wearable art—-Magnolia Pearl doiley dress

 Vintage Doily Lampshade DIY

Fab repurposed Seeoily décor—– Jane repurposed an old doily into this beautiful lacey bowl—– Upcycling, recycling, crafting and repurposing: Doiliesgranny chic, specs & little doggies…—-Embroidered doily——-more embroidery HERE—–

Italiano:  Come riciclare i centrinilibro PAZZE PER il crochet—Uncinetto Irlandese: una tecnica antica da riscoprire—-

P:S: working with your hands does help the psyche. See Interview Excerpt: My History of Learning to Crochet Through Depression via Tangle With Tami—10 Health Problems Helped by Crochet—-Crochet Saved My Life | On My Bookshelf—-

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1 Response to Doilies and Huipiles

  1. Pingback: Yūgen dolies | art for housewives

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