Filet Crochet Information

The Basics of Filet Crochet

To discuss Filet Crochet, I found the following article. It discusses the subject much better than I can myself so I have left the article, for the most part, as it was originally published in 1911. Although technically this article on filet crochet information would be considered “Edwardian” rather than “Victorian” I have included it on this site because Filet Crochet had been around long before this date and was used often by Victorian women.

Filet Crochet

Published by The Priscilla Publishing Co, Boston, Mass., 1911. Edited by VEAC.

The definition frequently given of Filet Crochet is, "crocheting in imitation of Filet." While that is true, yet it is, in a way, misleading. The word "imitation" may be objected to because it usually carries with it a meaning of inferiority. Always, a substitute, a pretence, a sham comes to mind when an imitation of the "real" is mentioned.

Rather let us define it as "Crocheting in the style of Filet," for if Filet Crochet is rightly done it is no less a "real" piece of work than the Filet which it is like. It requires no less skill, no less care, and perhaps no less time to crochet a good piece of Filet than it does to net the fabric and darn or weave or embroider through it the pattern. Those who have done both can testify to the truth of this.

Our grandmothers did more or less crocheting, using this principle, so that it is nothing new; and yet, possibly, it has remained for this twentieth century to bring forward and perfect the work, adapting it to more uses and larger designs, and carrying out the designs in finer threads.

It is, like Irish Crochet, at its very best when done with fine thread and the very finest needle. And yet it may be done with coarse thread and. A suitable needle and produce a very handsome piece of work, always providing that the crocheting is firm and evenly done.


The materials used may be any spool thread that is at hand, or one may select any good crochet cotton.

Of the pieces shown in Priscilla’s Books, the most of the work was done with "D. M. C." Crochet Cotton (Cordonnet Special), Nos. 10, 30, 50, and 100.

For No. 10 crochet cotton, the crochet hook should be about No. 10, not coarser. For No. 30, a No. 12 hook, and anything finer can best be done with No. 14.

Patterns readily suggest themselves for simple bits of work, after one has started the crocheting, but for larger pieces and more elaborate designs, any block pattern is easily followed.

Having procured the needle and thread and pattern (a simple equipment!), one is ready for the lesson.


D c — double crochet; having a stitch on the needle, one loop over the needle, one loop through the chain or top of stitch below, one loop through two on the needle, one loop through the remaining two.

S c — single crochet, a stitch on the needle, a loop under the chain below, a loop through the two on the needle. This is used only in finishing edges, not in the designs.

T c — treble crochet, a stitch on the needle, two loops over the needle, one loop through the work, then crochet off two and two.

The first thing to do is to find out whether one crochets "square." Many people do this naturally; more, we are inclined to believe, do not. Much time is saved if this is one's habit.

Find out in this way; copy Working Model, Fig. 1. Notice there are ten meshes, then the foundation chain will be ten times 3, plus 1, plus 5 to turn, altogether 36 chain.

Turn, join with a d c in the 9th stitch from the needle, which completes the first open mesh. The following nine meshes are each made with 2 chain,1 d c in the 3d chain-stitch.

Take up two threads of the chain when crocheting the first row. Crochet 5 chain-stitches to turn, join with a d c in the top of the next d c below, taking up two threads.

Proceed in this way until ten rows are finished, and if the piece is square, one may be sure of crocheting easily. If the piece is longer from right to left, then either the chain-stitches and top of d c are too loose, or the d c is drawn up too short. In making the d c pull the top tightly, but do not pull the whole d c too short.

It is easier to apply the remedy in a little piece than in a large one, where a very little difference in the tension makes a big difference in the outcome. If, however, the greater length is in the other direction, the probability is that the d c is drawn out too long.

Then try Working Model, Fig. 2, with the same number of stitches. The first row is ten open meshes, like Fig. 1. The second row is made with 5 chain to turn, 1 d c in d c below, eight solid meshes and one open mesh.

A solid mesh is formed by a d c over the d c, 2 d c over the chain, 1 d c over the next d c, making 4 d c if it is a single solid mesh. If other solid meshes follow then there is added 2 d c for each chain and 1 d c over d c.

The number of d c in any number of solid meshes is equal to 3 times the number of meshes with 1 d c in addition.

Filet Crochet, Fig. 1
Click on picture to see more detail.

It will always be one more than a multiple of 3, as 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, etc.

Filet Crochet, Fig. 2
Click on picture to see more detail.

In the 3d row (following Working Model, Fig. 2, and Block Pattern, Fig. 3) there is, 1 open, 1 solid, 2 open, 2 solid, 2 open, 1 solid, 1 open.

4th row— One open, 1 solid, 1 open, 1 solid, 2 open, 1 solid, 1 open, I solid, 1 open.

5th row — One open, 2 solid, 4 open, 2 solid, 1 open.

6th row — Like 5th. 7th row — Like 4th. 8th row— Like 3d. 9th row — Like 2d. 10th row — Like 1st.

Always remembering to make 5 chain for the turn in the square work. This makes an open mesh, and it is always much better to have any design with at least one row of open meshes on all four sides.

It is really quite worth while to make a block like this Fig. 2 and find out if it is square.

When doing a long strip or band, it may not be so essential, although the work is prettier; but when making a square block, it should be square.

Working Model, Fig. 4, is a triangular block, made after the pattern. Fig. 5.

After making nine open meshes, use the t c (with two loops), and join to make the last mesh a triangle. To turn for the 2d row, make 3 rather loose or 4 quite tight chain-stitches and join with d c to make another triangular mesh. This is the first of 4 d c that form a solid mesh. Following the pattern — 1 open, 1 solid, 1 open, 1 solid, 1 open, 1 solid, 1 open. (Turn with 5 chain at this end.)

3d row — Seven open meshes, 1 triangular mesh.

Filet Crochet, Fig. 4
Click on picture to see more detail.

4th row — Turn with triangle, 1 open, 2 solid, 1 open, 1 solid, 1 open. Turn with 5 chain.

Filet Crochet Fig. 3

5th row — Three open, 1 solid, 1 open, 1 triangle.

6th row — Turn with triangle, 2 open, 1 solid, 1 open.

7th row — Turn with 5, 3 open, 1 triangle, etc.

In Filet, it is a rare exception that has not one row, or more, of open meshes outside the design, and we should follow the same rule in Filet Crochet. The edge of a medallion or insert is usually covered with single crochet, three stitches over each chain of two and four stitches over each triangular mesh. This corresponds nicely with the buttonhole-stitch with which the netted medallion is invariably finished.

Figure 6 is showing how to miter the corner in a way similar to Fig. 4. The two outer rows give the method that may be used to finish a Centerpiece.

Figure 7 is the model showing the heart of flower for the corner of a Luncheon Cloth.

A chain of five is made to cover the space of two open meshes.

In estimating the size a pattern will fill, with the various threads, it may be helpful to know that No. 100 hard-twisted cotton makes very good fabric, ten meshes to the inch; No. 50, eight meshes to the inch; No. 30, six meshes; and No. 10, between four and five meshes to the inch.

Individual workers vary some, but this is a good average, and represents the work here illustrated.

When crocheting for any length of time, and working as tightly as possible, the fingers may become chafed with the thread or needle. To avoid this, a good plan is to use chamois-skin glove fingers wherever they are needed. Bits of chamois skin may be sewed to fit whichever thumb or finger suffers most. The right-hand thumb, which holds the needle, and the first and second fingers of the left hand, which carry the thread and stopthe point of the needle, are the most often fingers to be protected.

Although the crocheting, when in process, can be kept immaculate, by powdering the hands, and keeping the work in a tightly covered box when not in process, yet it is very much improved by laundering.

This should be done by careful squeezing, rather than rubbing, in good soap-suds, and rinsing well without twisting the work. When it is soiled, dampen and lay it on a flat surface and rub soap well into it with a small bristle brush.

Filet Crochet Fig. 5

Washing shrinks the thread until it is considerably smaller than the original measure. Ironing face downward, between two pieces of cheese-cloth, on a thickly padded board (when not quite dry), will restore it to the exact size first measured. Careful finishingwith the iron next the wrong side, flattens the work and brings out the design beautifully

Filet Crochet, Fig. 6
Click on picture to see more detail.

Filet Crochet, Fig. 7
Click on picture to see more detail.

Filet Crochet is so simple, so easily understood, there is nothing intricate about it; but the fact cannot be overemphasized that great care must be taken to do the work evenly and rather tightly. When one can be sure of the right proportion between the chain-stitch and the double crochet, that one is tight and the other just loose enough, then the worker who can crochet rapidly will make the best work. It becomes almost automatic, and the result is a beautiful uniformity throughout the whole piece, whereas if one must, in a labored way, pull each stitch with a distinct effort, the work is very likely to look pinched and drawn.

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