Jane Austen | Goldwork Embroidery

Goldworx with Hattie McGill

You may not know it but the Goldworx column is not just about goldwork.  I am also entrusted with the world of stumpwork and other fine embroidery types too – you lucky things.

Now, I didn’t want to mention the dreaded ‘C’ word but I fear I may have to … Whilst we are stuck at home, self-isolating, quarantining, doing our bit whilst this Corona madness is going on I thought I would share with you a wonderful new book, that I think is the perfect antidote for this crazy time.

jane austen book
The beautiful new embroidery book by Jennie Batchelor and Alison Larkin

I recently received a copy of the new ‘Jane Austen Embroidery- Authentic embroidery projects for modern stitchers’ book by Jennie Batchelor and Alison Larkin. Well I was just a little bit excited. I am HUGE Jane Austen fan, have been since I was a child (so much so that the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice had to be rationed by my parents because I was just watching it on repeat). Not many people know that apart from being an talented novelist she was also a very skilled needlewoman with evidence of this in the collection at the Jane Austen’s House Museum.

‘Autumn’ Embroidery patttern from the Jane Austen Embroidery book

The book opens with a wonderful in-depth introduction to embroidery in Jane Austen’s regency England accompanied with illustrations. Interspersed throughout the book are short essays to give history, context to the patterns and references to Jane Austen’s novels and letters. The main bulk of the book has 15 embroidery patterns that appeared in the Lady’s Magazine from the 1770s to the 1810s, designs straight out of the 18th century that Jane Austen could have stitched herself but with a suitably modern twist for the reader to try. The ‘Materials and Methods’ section is in-depth and covers all the stitcher needs to know but not in a daunting way – I particularly liked the ‘Fabrics Then and Now’ part.

Jane Austen | Goldwork Embroidery
The book features beautiful illustrations by Polly Fern

It’s obvious the authors have spent a great deal of time researching and a clearly experts in their field. It’s a beautifully put together book, with enchanting illustrations by Polly Fern, quotes a from Austen’s novels and letters and gorgeous embroidery patterns  – its perfect for any Jane Austen fan and embroiderer of any level. Find out more and where to buy the book here.

Maybe you want something to watch whilst stitching up your Jane Austen inspired needlework, or maybe after all this chat about Regency England you just want to throw yourself into that era? Well I have that covered too.

If you follow me on instagram you may know that I do a lot of embroidery for film costume, this has ranged from superhero films, to Art Deco dramas to sumptuous Elizabethan biopics, its a varied and exciting job. Earlier this year saw the release of Autumn de Wilde’s adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma, a colourful visual delight that I was lucky enough to be the embroiderer on.

Jane Austen | Goldwork Embroidery
The costumes in Emma are delicious and a treat to embroider – especially this sartouche cord spencer jacket.

I have worked with the films costume designer, Alex Byrne on many occasions and have loved every single job, her eye for design and attention to detail is amazing. Emma is no exception, it’s a beautiful, colourful, funny, joy to watch (with a super cast too).

Jane Austen | Goldwork Embroidery
Anya Taylor-Joy and Johnny Flynn, the leads in the new EMMA adaptation in a photo shoot for Vogue magazine. This pink tulle dress with delicate chenille embroidery was my favourite piece to embroider for the film.

And since we are all housebound and the cinema is closed it’s been available to stream across many platforms so you can feast your eyes on the beautiful costumes from the comfort of your own home whilst stitching up some gorgeous Jane Austen embroidery. Suddenly quarantine doesn’t sound too bad does it?

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