If you do doll costuming chances are people give you lace and trim. Then, of course, there are your own “finds” in the vintage lace department. The question is what do you do with your treasures.
I am not a fan of reusing truly old fabrics. Everything has a life span. Fabric starts to break down after a while and the older the fabric is the more likely it is to be fragile.
This means that the creation you have spent so many hours on will have a limited life span.
Antique lace however, if in reasonably good condition, can be carefully mounted onto fresh fabric and become part of a new creation. Although there is no way of saying how long it will last, a costume made this way should give years of pleasure if it is displayed carefully and cleaned infrequently. Obviously this means the doll should be stored in a glass front case out of direct sunlight.
To determine the best costume for each doll research the age of the doll then look for pictures of similar dolls in their original costumes. Fashion plates are also a good source of inspiration. If you do not own any original magazines from the period look in the library for fashion history books with reproductions of antique fashion plates (illustrations).
Don’t overlook old paper dolls as a source for period styles and colors. It’s impossible to look at Sheila Young’s Betty Bonnet or Lettie Lane paper dolls and not wish for some of the beautiful clothes. How wonderful it would be to create a doll wardrobe based on just one of these paper dolls.
Here is one of my original paper dolls from "Letters from Miss Mary".