A green crocheted doily or antimacassar. Doilies are small ornamental, openwork mats traditionally placed under cakes or other sweet foods. They are named after a 17 century London draper of the same name (spelled Doiley). Doilies, which are still made by handicrafters today, can be crocheted, tatted or knitted from cotton or linen thread. In the early 20th century there were many doily patterns available for crochet or knitting, in various shapes and designs. The ‘fillet crochet’ technique was used, staring from the centre and working outwards.

An antimacassar is a type of doily used to protect the backs and arms of chairs and sofas from soiling. They were originally developed to protect furniture from the macassar oil used as hair conditioner in the 1880s/early 1900s; macassar originally being the name of cloth flap ‘collars’ on sailors’ shirts to keep the oil off their uniforms.

More information:

Date 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s
Material(s) Cotton
Item number MBPO64

User Stories

People used to hang antimacassars on the back of armchairs and over the arms to keep them clean. There were also mats people used to put on sideboards to stand ornaments on. I believe crochet was an easy replacement for lace

We always used them on everything and my mother-in-law used to make them.

It looks like it had been made with lace bobbins my mother-in-law used to make that sort of thing.

I remember my mother and grandmothers having doilies and antimacassars on much of their furniture – and my mum still does! I particularly remember the doilies on our sideboard forever slipping around, particularly when it had been polished!

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