How to Filet Crochet

What is Filet Crochet?

Filet crochet is a technique of making lace using double crocheted squares and open squares to create pictorial designs.  Once you learn this technique, you can not only use filet crochet patterns, but can convert other charted needlework designs, such as cross stitch or knitting patterns, into a filet crochet pattern. 

While crochet is generally believed to have originated in France (crochet comes from the French word for hook) in the 1500s, filet crochet is a newer technique.  Crochet was used by women of modest means to copy the beautiful needle and bobbin laces worn by the rich. Creative needleworkers developed forms such as Irish crochet to make floral and leaf designs which were then arranged and joined by a background mesh of crocheted netting.  Filet crochet makes a faster lace fabric by creating the designs and the open mesh at the same time.

Filet Crochet Sample by Cgoodwin, License CC By-SA 4.0By Cgoodwin - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Filet crochet. (2019, April 12). In Wikipedia

Filet crochet as a term appeared in publications as early as 1912, although the technique was already in practice, known by the term “square crochet” for the blocks of filled and open spaces in the designs. (See McLaughlin below.) While some older patterns may give only written, line by line instructions, filet crochet is most conveniently shown in a chart with shaded and unshaded blocks to indicate solid and open mesh areas, respectively.

How to Filet Crochet

Make a foundation chain according to your pattern instructions. Next, look at the filet crochet chart.  Each row of the chart represents a row of crochet.  Odd numbered rows are read from right to left, while even rows are read left to right. This is to mimic the way you turn your work in crochet, alternating right and wrong sides as you work back and forth.

Every vertical line in a row is a double crochet (dc) stitch (the starting chain 3 of each row is the first dc.) Between the vertical lines, a shaded block is made of 2 dc stitches while an unshaded block is made by skipping the next 2 stitches and doing chain (ch) 2 instead. Note that some patterns will call for you to use blocks of 3 dc or 3 chains between lines, but 2 is common.

Filet Crochet Stitches

Once the pattern of blocks and mesh spaces is established, filet crochet is actually not difficult. You only need to know two stitches: chain and double crochet.  Those two crochet stitches are sufficient to create the entire design.

To summarize, every block of the filet crochet pattern begins with a dc and is followed by either 2 more dc (shaded block) or ch2, skip next 2 stitches (open block.) The last stitch of each row is a dc for the final vertical line.  While this might seem difficult at first, soon you will find working with the chart makes the work go quickly.  After the first few rows, you will see the lace picture taking shape and everything will make sense. It really will!

Tutorials and Patterns

When learning a new technique, it can help to see videos of the stitches. Scroll down this page for links to some helpful tutorials and resources.  We have also curated a collection of free filet crochet patterns for your convenience.

Filet Crochet Ideas

This modern lace technique is traditionally done in cotton crochet thread in various weights to create doilies, place mats, or tablecloths.  The technique can also be used in heavier yarn to make afghans and bedspreads.  In lightweight wool it can make a lovely shawl or even a wedding veil.

Try a smaller project in yarn to begin your filet crochet journey.  Once you see how this block by block method works, try more detailed projects with finer yarn or thread and smaller hooks.  You may find this becomes one of your favorite crochet techniques!

McLaughlin, T., The Origins of Filet Crochet,, 2013
Thomas, M., editor, Favorite Doilies of Rita Weiss, p. 9, American School of Needlework, 1982 
How to Filet Crochet

Supporting Products and links: Some of the links below may be affiliate links. We make a small commission on sales through the affiliate links, at no extra cost to you. Thank you in advance for your purchase and your support! Please see our full Affiliate Statement for more information.

 Bees & Sunflowers Runner

Bees & Sunflowers Runner #ad

Brighten your table with this bee and sunflower filet runner. Affiliate Link to Annie's Craft Store

 Blosem Crochet Pattern

Blosem Crochet Pattern #ad

An adorable vintage style blanket featuring a delicate filet flower motif. Finished size: 35" x 50". Affiliate Link to Annie's Craft Store

 Crochet Filet Online Class

Crochet Filet Online Class #ad

Join crochet expert Susan Lowman as she shows you just how easily you can master the basics of filet crochet using light (DK) weight yarn and a size G/6/4mm hook!m Sign up for the class. Affiliate Link to Annie's Craft Store

 Filet Table Runners

Filet Table Runners #ad

Easy-read stitch charts are provided for all 8 filet crochet designs. Affiliate Link to Annie's Craft Store

7 Tips and Tricks for Perfect Filet Crochet

Filet crochet is a technique with which you can create wonderful pictures, words, and intricate patterns using solid blocks of crochet in combination with open mesh. Here are some tips and tricks for you. Interweave

Basic Filet Crochet

There are many different types of filet crochet. This is a brief introduction to filet crochet. Nezumi World

Chain Stitch

Chain Stitch

Learn how to make a crochet chain stitch with video and step-by-step instructions.

Chain Stitch - Left-Handed (Video)

Chain Stitch - Left-Handed (Video)

This video shows have to make a chain stitch using the crochet hook in the left hand.

Double Crochet (dc)

Double Crochet (dc)

How to make a double crochet stitch.

Double Crochet - Left Hand

Double Crochet - Left Hand

How to make a double crochet stitch using the hook in your left hand.

Filet Crochet #ad

Stitching guide for filet crochet - beginning block, double mesh, ending block, ending mesh and lacet. Affiliate Link to Annie's Craft Store

Filet Crochet - Complete Guide

This blog has pretty much EVERYTHING you could ever ask to learn filet crochet. It also includes worksheets to help you figure those confusing graphs out! Dream A Little Bigger

Filet Crochet - How-To

A brief article on learning how to filet crochet. Interweave

Filet Crochet - The Basics

This article helps you learn the basics by teaching you to crochet a heart motif. Designs By Key

Filet Crochet Basics

Filet crochet patterns are made up of open meshes and solid meshes. Learn the basics of filet crochet. The Spruce Crafts

Filet Crochet Pattern Graphs

Lots of FREE pattern graphs! Nezumi World

Filet Crochet Pattern with Pinapple

This simple crochet tutorial will help you to learn how to crochet filet pattern with pineapple. My Crochet Pattern

Filet Crochet Patterns & Guides

Filet Crochet Patterns & Guides #ad

In this article, you will learn all that you need to know in order to read a filet crochet chart pattern. Affiliate Link to Yarnspirations

Filet Crochet Stitch Tutorial

In this post, you'll understand the basics of filet crochet with this filet crochet stitch tutorial. Craft-Her

Filet Crochet Tutorial

Take a traditional thread technique to new levels! Filet crochet inside and outside the box. Interweave

Filet Increasing and Decreasing Techniques

The key to increasing is knowing the number of stitches needed to add blocks or mesh at the beginning and/or end of a row. For decreasing, it will vary based on the location of the decrease. Learn how to increase and decrease by reading this blog post. Interweave

Filet Zig-Zag Crochet Pattern

This simple crochet tutorial will help you to learn how to crochet the filet zig-zag crochet pattern. My Crochet Pattern

How to Filet Crochet For Beginners

This article is a wonderful resource on filet crochet for anyone who wants to learn it. Truly Crochet & Knit

Learn All About Filet Crochet

Learn All About Filet Crochet #ad

Find out everything you could want to know about filet crochet plus some extra tips and tricks to help you master the technique. Affiliate Link to

Versatile Filet Crochet

Versatile Filet Crochet #ad

Filet crochet is a popular choice for tablecloths, placemats, curtains, bedspreads or a lace shawl. Learn the basics of this technique here. Affiliate Link to Craftsy

Working Filet Crochet from Cross-Stitch Charts

This informative article tells you how to use cross stitch charts as the design element in filet crochet. Art Threads

Profile Photo

Annette & Chris are a mother/daughter team. We've brought you craft projects and tutorials through this web site for over 20 years.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Crochet Shopping

Crochet Topics

Profile Photo

Annette & Chris are a mother/daughter team. We've brought you craft projects and tutorials through this web site for over 20 years.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Looking for something you cannot find on our site? Click here to e-mail the Needlepointers Information department.

Copyright ©2003 - 2019 All Rights Reserved. | Powered by w3.css

Secured by RapidSSL