Jane Austen’s Sewing Box by Jennifer Forest

I’m revisiting some of my craft books.

‘Craft Projects and stories from Jane Austen’s novels’

So, Gentle Reader, you are interested in the crafts practised in Miss Austen’s novels?  Perhaps you wondered about all of that stitching that genteel women pursued while discussing life and marriage?  How did they do it and what materials were used?

In this beautifully illustrated book, Ms Forest provides a social history of the late 18th century as viewed by Miss Austen and her characters.  She includes snippets of the novels relevant to the craft projects described and illustrated.

Which crafts? Mainly fancywork: the type of decorative work undertaken by ladies while visiting.  There are eighteen projects in this book: each illustrated and with clear directions so that you, Gentle reader, can also make pieces familiar to Miss Austen and her characters.  You can make a muslin cap; a reticule; a workbag and linen pillowcases.  You could even make a man’s cravat, and diagrams show the many different ways in which a cravat can be tied.

Perhaps you chose instead not to make any of these projects but instead to enjoy a link with Regency women during what was a beautiful period in arts, craft and design.  Many of the projects in this book (particularly the workbag and the huswife) would be useful to women who enjoy similar handcrafts today.  These two projects in particular are ones I intend to undertake.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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