Mini book review: Jane Austen’s Sewing Box

6 Feb


Oooo, I do love a charity shop find. I’m a bit obsessed with embroidery at the moment, so when I spotted this gem for £3.50 I couldn’t resist.

Jane Austen’s Sewing Box, by Jennifer Forest is an absolute treasure trove of crafty happiness.

Jennifer’s charming book looks at what arts and crafts meant to Regency women, as reflected in Jane Austen’s novels and letters. There are 18 lovely projects, which include pin cushions, thread cases, and pillow covers, but for me it is the story behind each of these objects which elevates JASB to a higher level.

The hidden code of craft at this time is absolutely fascinating. Women in high society were expected to stitch (by hand) linen shirts and trousers for their brothers and husbands, nursery sets for poor village families, and also be highly skilled in embroidery. But plain sewing was strictly done behind closed doors. Only the ‘finer’ crafts were appropriate for company.

I have just embarked on my most ambitious embroidery project to date, and my stitching skills are woeful compared to what would have been seen as acceptable in the 1800s, but to read this now gives me a real sense of connection to women in the past.

I wonder what they would think of the craft culture of today…





One Response to “Mini book review: Jane Austen’s Sewing Box”

  1. jenniferforest February 7, 2012 at 2:43 am #

    I’m glad you enjoyed the stories too behind the projects. That’s actually a big part of the book and I guess my approach a lot to craft too. I’ve made so many crafty things over the years that its nice now to add a bit more meaning to a project by knowing the story behind it.

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