Jane Austen’s Sewing Box

Whilst researching the Bronte Samplers yesterday I discovered a book that was published in 2009 – Jane Austen’s Sewing Box – Craft Projects and Stories from Jane Austen’s Novels by Jennifer Forest


All well-bred Regency ladies aspired to be highly accomplished. They painted tables, covered screens, and netted purses as Austen’s character Charles Bingley matter-of-factly describes in Pride and Prejudice (among other talents), all to allure and secure husband.

Women of this era were great at handiwork – sewing, drawing and trimming bonnets. Author Jennifer Forest has researched Regency crafts compiling this lovely volume of projects to turn you into the accomplished woman that even Mr. Darcy might admire. (Publisher’s description) Jane Austen’s Sewing Box opens a window into the lives of Regency women during a beautiful period in arts, crafts and design. Jennifer Forest examines Jane Austen’s novels and letters to reveal a world where women are gripped by crazes for painting on glass and netting purses, economise by trimming an old bonnet, or eagerly turn to their sewing to avoid an uncomfortable conversation. Based on Jane Austen’s novels and with illustrated step-by-step instructions for eighteen craft projects, this beautifully presented book will delight Jane Austen fans, lovers of history and literature and craft enthusiasts alike. Murdoch Books, ISBN: 978-1741963748

Emma at 200 – An Exhibition celebrating Jane Austen


This year is the bicentenary of the publication of Jane Austen’s novel Emma. It was published by John Murray II on 23 December 1815, with 1816 on the title page. In March Chawton House Library  will be launching an exhibition to commemorate this landmark in Jane Austen’s publishing career.

Items from the Chawton collection, and the Knight family collection  will be used to talk about the world of the novel and its reception through the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

It has been suggested that Donwell Abbey in Emma was modelled on Chawton House.

An entire room of the exhibition is going to be devoted to the topic of female accomplishments – music, painting and, of course, needlework – which readers of the novel will know loom large in this, as in all, Austen’s novels.

Embroidery from the Great Lady’s Magazine Stitch Off will be on show at the exhibition.

The exhibition runs from 21 March to 25 September 2016.

Chawton House Library is an internationally respected research and learning centre for the study of early women’s writing from 1600 to 1830. Access to the library’s unique collection is for the benefit of scholars and the general public alike. Set in the quintessentially English manor house that once belonged to Jane Austen’s brother, Edward.