Book Review: Jane Austen Embroidery

If you follow Drunk Austen on social media, then you know that Admin Bianca (me!) can rabbit hole weird and wonderful parts of regency costuming. So months back when I heard a book called ‘Jane Austen Embroidery’ would be coming out, I was excited but worried.

“Would this be another book that slaps Austen’s name on it to sell copies?” I wondered.

Well now I have read the book and I am delighted to say it’s a great historical resource and prime inspiration for history bounding enthusiasts. Jennie Batchelor presents a wealth of research around The Lady’s Magazine (a popular publication during Austen’s time that would have offered readers news, chemists, essays, poetry and embroidery patterns) and Austen’s own style. There is wonderful detail about the clothes in Austen’s books and period, which is just a great primer for people reading her works.

Batchelor gives us the wonderful research, history and reproduction of embroidery patterns from The Lady’s Magazine and Alison Larkin gives us projects we can try them out on. From reticules to tablet sleeves, there are fun projects for all occasions that incorporate these historical patterns.

I feel like this books is a perfect combination of historical research and creative ways to use the reproduced patterns. If you’re a historical costumer, you can totally just copy these patterns for use on dresses and accessories. If you aren’t into costuming, you can easily use these on some of the projects in the book.

I think this would make a really good teaching tool to be honest. Take one of these patterns, use the chapter to explain how important The Lady’s Journal was and remind people that “accomplishments” like sewing and embroidery shouldn’t be downplayed just because they are often seen as women’s work.

Who should read this: Embroidery enthusiasts with a soft spot for Austen. Historical costumers.

What you should drink with this: White orchard tea. Enjoy this book and pick your next project carefully.

-Admin Bianca Hernandez

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