“Jane Austen Embroidery” by Jennie Batchelor and Alison Larkin Is exactly what a craft-enthusiast Jane fan would want it to be! It is packed with interesting Jane facts, historical notes and beautiful embroidery patterns.
I so enjoyed the research put into the book both in finding the patterns and in understanding their context. In our world of modern conveniences, the historical aspects clarify why needlework was abridged to be called just “work”. It was not a hobby but a necessity. Jane is reported to have been particularly skilled in this area of life and her personality has been stitched throughout.
The embroidery patterns are whole projects rather than just the attractive elements and including sewing and make-up as well as embroidery. Each pattern has been carefully chosen, related to Jane, and modernised to make it relevant to today, I appreciated all the guidance included for the less knowledgeable reader – a.k.a. Me – about fabrics and threads as well as how to sew each stitch. It is detailed with great photos and lots of tips!
The COVID-19 pandemic has limited my ability to access the various resources to put into practice what I have learnt but I look forward to doing so in the future. If you love Jane Austen and embroidery, this is one to get! It is five out of five on the enJOYment scale and highly recommended.
From the back cover:
Jane Austen was as skillful with a needle as she was with a pen, and this unique book showcases rare and beautiful embroidery patterns from her era, repurposed into 15 modern sewing projects. Derived from Lady’s Magazine (1770–1832), a popular monthly periodical of fashion, fiction, and gossip, the projects consist of embroidered clothes, accessories, and housewares. Designs include an evening bag, a muslin shawl, an apron, a floral napkin set and tablecloth, and other pretty and practical items with timeless appeal.
These authentic patterns — many of which have not been reprinted in more than 200 years—are enlivened by vivid glimpses into the world of Regency women and their domestic lives. Fascinating historical features, quotes from Austen’s letters and novels, enchanting drawings, clear instructions, and inspirational project photography trace the patterns’ origins and illustrate their imaginative restoration for modern use. A must-have for every Jane Austen fan, this book is suitable for needleworkers at every level of experience.
I received a complimentary copy of the book from Dover Publications through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.