Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book Review: Jane Austen's Sewing Box + a lovely bracelet

As my birthday is nigh I bought myself a couple of little treats to celebrate the passing of another year, and I want to share them with you.  First, I acquired this lovely bracelet from Allie's Adornments on Etsy, made with antique Victorian buttons:

 Halley's Comet Bracelet

The buttons are so intricate and stunning!  (Why can't I find buttons like these at estate sales?).  Allie patiently answered my questions about the buttons and her work.  She's very nice and gave excellent customer service.  I could spend hours in Allie's shop, which is pretty dangerous considering that there was not a piece in her shop that I didn't like!

I also purchased a copy of the lovely Jane Austen's Sewing Box: Craft Projects and Stories from Jane Austen's Novels. You may have seen a review or two on other craft blogs.  As I am a Austen aficionado I could not pass it up:
It is a beautiful book, filled with gorgeous color fashion plates of the time that are worth a look.  I read it cover-to-cover and enjoyed every moment.  However, I would recommend purchasing it only if you enjoy historical Regency costume and /or are a die-hard Regency or Jane Austen fan.

As for the crafts themselves, some are probably of more interest to the costume enthusiast (like the cravat, the bonnet, or the tippet).  There is only one photo of each project and even one more photograph of each project would have enhanced this book. Yet one whole page might be devoted to one short quote from one of Austen's novels, or to a lovely painting from the time period:

The actual instructions for each project were also quite succinct and limited to only one page.  If you've ever read any of the antique craft books from the early-to-mid 19th century you know that project instructions were usually all text and that diagrams were sparse.  The actual descriptions of the the projects were very reminiscent of the actual books of the time.  Still, I would like to make this case for embroidery thread:

If you were living during the Regency era you would have
stored your embroidery thread on a bone or wood thread winder 

Austen mentioned each craft project in one of her novels, and it is fascinating to read the excerpts from the novels and then read Forest's commentary about the craft as it was practiced at the time. 

If you are interested in historical craft and want to know more about the role of crafts in the lives of Regency women you will love the historical detail in Jane Austen's Sewing Box.  It's definitely an informative and charming read!

Halley's Comet bracelet photograph from Allie's Adornments, used by permission. All other photographs from Jane Austen's Sewing Box, Murdoch Books, or in the public domain..


  1. Happy Birthday! That bracelet is TO DIE FOR! I love it!

  2. What lovely goodies! I really love that bracelet; it is something special. :) I love Jane Austen, too. I so enjoy looking all the elegant dresses from the period. I, however, have no sewing skills whatsoever. So I can just be content with looking at the lovelies but never hoping to replicate them! LOL Happy early birthday to you! I hope you have a lovely day. :) Theresa

  3. My interest is piqued by the book review! May your new adornment bring you lots of joy while reminding you that we are all made of stars. Wear in the best of health! Thank you, Allie

  4. Oh,my goodness!

    What a lovely bracelet, and what it must mean to the created it! I can only hope to be able to make things so wonderful myself soon. :)

  5. Thanks all! Glad you enjoyed the post!

    Definitely check out Allie's shop. I can't go back in there...I might buy something else!

  6. what an exquisite bracelet! good for you for spoiling yourself, Collette..i like to do that too..after all we deserve it lol!

    oh i must check out Jane Austens Sewing Box..i know i'm gonna love it!

    btw i hope your Birthday is extra special :) x

  7. great stuff!! very exciting fashion and photos. Thank's for it!
    Yuriy Mizyuk

  8. Hi, serendipity!
    I'm the "anonymous" commentor above. Just wanted to thank you for being on my new blog and helping to make it more interesting. I just love your posts, and the bracelet is to die for! And I do hope to make things that lovely soon!
    Thanks again,
    PS --
    I tried to put the blog with integrity badge on my blog, but I don't get how to do it just yet -- working on it, though:)


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