Crochet: Lace Circular Vest (a doily to wear!)

Rainbow Willow lace

Sometime in 2015, a friend of my aunt’s asked if I could make her a “lacy sweater thing that looks like a rainbow.” She showed me a photo of a circular vest and my mind went, “ohhhhhh” and my mouth went, “YES!” I had known for a little while that I wanted to convert one of my doily blanket patterns into a wearable accessory.


For this version, I decided to use Anya and Red Heart’s Unforgettable yarn. I made some notes about my adjustments and prayed it would fit. I didn’t really have any sizes to go by, just estimations. When I gave it to her, she immediately put it on and…it fit! I was so relieved.

I had plans to edit my pattern and include the adjustments, so folks could make a vest if they wanted to. Maybe include instructions for making different sizes, because ‘Anya’ is mostly concentric circles and it was easy to place the armholes wherever I needed them.

Fast forward two years and my cousin asks if I could make a circular vest for her daughter to use as a swim coverup. I think about the one I made in 2015 and realize I never transcribed my notes. Actually, where IS that notebook? WHAT NOTEBOOK DID I EVEN USE?! You can probably imagine me tearing through every notebook I’ve used in the past few years. I had to start from scratch.

I asked my cousin for size examples (so I can google size charts! I love that brands have their size charts online) and favorite colors. She said teal, pink, and purple were favorites and I spent the weekend looking up yarn choices. After checking out Unforgettable again, I realized it would be a little heavy for summer time use. Plus, I made an adult size vest, last time, and I needed one to fit an eight year old.


I ended up coming back to Lion Brand’s Shawl in a Ball a lot. I bought two different colors from Craftsy: Restful Rainbow and Lotus Blossom. The latter was almost exactly the same colors my cousin specified. I was so happy when they arrived!

I sat down to make the vest and realized I wanted to use Willow instead of Anya, this time. I used a 6.0 mm (US J/10) hook and started. Since my son is only a few months older than my cousin’s daughter, I decided to use a t-shirt of his to estimate when/where I would need to place the armholes. I simply laid my work on the shirt, the center of the circle a little below the center of the chest. I wanted the armholes to be on the top half of the doily, not right at the center, so the diameter of the circle needed to be bigger than the width of the chest.

When I got to the size I needed, I figured out where in the round I wanted to put the armholes. I decided that the beginning of the round should be in the bottom half, so I worked a small part of the round, then made a long chain and skipped a good amount of the repeats, then started again. I worked the pattern until I got to where I wanted the second armhole. I made another chain, skipped repeats, then finished the round. Armholes! I had armholes. I lined it up with my t-shirt and it was a pretty good match, so I moved on to the next round.

This round was a lot easier than I thought it would be. When I got to the chains, I just worked them like they were regular stitches. However many repeats I skipped in the row below, I just made that many repeats in the armholes. After the round, I counted the stitches (stitch counts are listed at the end of every round) and it matched up. Wheeeeewww!

rainbow lace

I finished the rest of the pattern. I didn’t add any extra rounds, but I DID decrease the number of DC stitches in the scallops of the last round. I went from 12 to 8! I had only a few yards of yarn left, so this was a good adjustment! Plus, the round worked up far more quickly. I’m happy to report the vest fit, not only my son, but my cousin’s daughter, as well!

Willow Vest: restful rainbow
Restful Rainbow

Willow Vest: lotus blossom
Lotus Blossom

I’ve added these adjustments to the pattern on Ravelry (willow-web-alt.pdf), putting in the specific directions I used. I would LOVE to have other sizes, but I haven’t been able to find the time to try and work them out, plus I don’t know if it would be possible with this yarn, since it feels more lightweight than worsted. The diameter of the doily, laid flat, is 32″. The bottom of the armholes are about 16″ apart. The tops are 9.5″ apart. Maybe a larger hook would make a larger doily? If someone has a teen they want to make this for, try a 6.5 mm hook! If you want to make it for an adult, you may need to find a thicker yarn and use a 6.5mm or a 7.0mm hook. I would love to see any vests you make!

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