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Did you know Jane Austen made a Quilt?

Did you know that Jane Austen made a quilt? Most likely she made more than one, but there is one quilt of Jane’s in particular that is beautifully preserved by the Jane Austen House in Chawton, England. (I’ve always felt like Jane and I were kindred spirits, but it’s nice to have it confirmed.)

*this post contains affiliate links

I first visited the Jane Austen home in Chawton about 6 1/2 years ago.

(I honestly can’t believe it’s been that long!)

The Jane Austen House Museum is housed in Jane’s home in Chawton, Hampshire, where she lived with her sister Cassandra. This is also the home where she revised, wrote and published all 6 of her completed novels. The home also displays many of Jane’s own personal possessions. I had my two girls with me and we loved seeing her home, piano, gardens, letter desk, etc.

But imagine my utter excitement when we walked around a corner and saw this beautiful hand-pieced quilt, made by Jane herself! Probably along with her sister Cassandra, so she deserves a share of the credit too.)

(Pardon the not great photos – it was behind protective glass = glare and bad lighting.)

Here is the information that was posted next to the quilt display.

The whole quilt would have been pieced by hand. And all of those tiny diamonds in the border were pieced using English Paper Piecing techniques.

Again, these are my original pictures I took back in 2014. Aren’t those prints beautiful? I think it’s amazing how the quality of the fabric and colors has been maintained. I’m sure, in part, because the quilt has been cared for meticulously. 

English Paper Piecing by Jane Austen

Here is a much better close-up of those EPP diamonds in this photo from the Jane Austen House museum.

image from Riley Blake Designs

Here is a flat shot of the entire quilt so that you can see the big picture. Not to mention the sheer number of all of those paper-pieced diamonds!

You can read more about the Patchwork Coverlet on the Jane Austen’s House website and see much better photos. It looks as if the quilt display has been modified since I visited.

Jane Austen at Home fabric collection from Riley Blake Designs

And now, here’s why I’m talking about Jane’s quilt… in 2020, Riley Blake Designs released a new fabric and accessories collection called Jane Austen at Home with prints carefully reproduced using the fabric using design motifs and colors from the original quilt.

One print that is not a reproduction from the quilt is this print called Correspondence – which is a reproduction of a letter in Jane’s handwriting. Many of these prints are still available from various fabric shops on Etsy.

The collection also includes a printed panel version of the the center portion of Jane’s quilt. Also available are printed panels of the diamond borders. So if you want to make a quilt just like Jane’s you can do it without any tricky cutting or English Paper Piecing 1,000’s of little diamonds. I’ve seen both panels (center and borders) still available on Etsy.

And, if you don’t feel the need to recreate the entire quilt, but still want a taste of Jane in your life, there is also a kit to make this charming pillow. Even Lady Catherine would be envious.

 

You can learn more about the inspiration and the reproduction process for this collection in this video. 

And if you don’t need more projects, but still want to feel connected to Jane’s quilt, you can find some of the other coordinating Jane Austen at Home accessories like bookmarks, notebooks, playing cards, here.

I’ve been having fun playing with some of these Jane Austen at Home prints.

Can you guess what I’ve been making with them???

Union Jack quilt blocks. Obvs. 

I think they look pretty dang good.

Or maybe it’s more appropriate to say, I think they look positively splendid.

I’ve been pairing the floral prints with these Buttermilk Basin Basics in pinks and red. They match perfectly and provide great contrast for the busier florals and larger prints.

Here’s a more close-up look at how this is going. Isn’t that text print great?!

I feel like Jane and I are sharing a cosmic connection. We are both homebodies after all, as she wrote: “There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort. Nobody can be more devoted to home than I am.”

Or turns out it was Mrs. Elton (unwanted chum of Emma) who said that…

Either way, it seems like an appropriate gift and talent for the past year of staying home.

Do you have any favorite Jane Austen quotes or characters? (There are so many good ones!) Share them in the comments. I’d love to hear them!    

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29 Comments

  • Reply
    Gwyn
    January 28, 2021 at 5:31 pm

    This Janite is trying SOOOOOOO HARD not to be envious!! If you haven’t, listen to Lucy Worsley’s “Jane Austen at Home” on audiobook while you are sewing. Good times. 🙂 Time to shop. Thanks for the links!

    • Reply
      Amy
      January 28, 2021 at 8:02 pm

      Oh, that sounds awesome! Thanks for the recommendation! I luuuvv audiobooks while I sew!

  • Reply
    Jocelyn
    January 28, 2021 at 6:12 pm

    My sister in law gave me a layer cake bundle for Christmas. I’m not sure what I will make but the fabrics are so pretty.

  • Reply
    Cher Merriman
    January 28, 2021 at 7:03 pm

    I think your Union Jack would look great upsized to placemats.
    Beautiful fabrics!

  • Reply
    Kay
    January 29, 2021 at 1:30 am

    How wonderful. I haven’t been to Chawton for decades as I now live in a completely different part of the country but I used to go every summer just to feel her presence there. My absolute favourite book is Persuasion. I am about to turn 56 tomorrow and for my birthday I asked my husband to buy a copy of it in a nice hard back version, I still only have the paperbacks from my university days when I studied literature, it will be just lovely to have beautiful copies of her books to read.

    • Reply
      Amy
      January 29, 2021 at 9:07 am

      I love Persuasion too! That has become one of my favorites as well. Although I remember reading it a few years back and realizing I was the same age as Captain Wentworth’s “matronly” sister. (Now I’m even older than her!) I guess I’m no longer the young heroine. Now I’m probably more Mrs. Bennet’s age. lol

  • Reply
    Medaja
    January 29, 2021 at 4:32 am

    This is so inspiring!. I like how the video is well explained.

  • Reply
    Brenda
    January 29, 2021 at 4:51 am

    I loved this newsletter. It was really cool learning about and seeing this quilt. Thank you
    Brenda

  • Reply
    Lesley Gilbert
    January 29, 2021 at 5:47 am

    I’m English and a lot of tuts I’ve seen making the Union Jack flag have that ‘corner to corner’ red line centred, so I was happy to see you got it correct. I remember reading your posts when you visited England (& Ireland?) so I must have been following you for quite some time. When you explained about the way they made a certain block (think it was Isle of Man?) I shared the info with my small crafting group. Thanks for all the lovely photo’s you share with all your posts – I do enjoy seeing where you go on your travels 🙂 🙂

    • Reply
      Amy
      January 29, 2021 at 9:05 am

      Aww, thank you, Lesley. I’ve got the Union Jack wrong before – trying to do a better job! Thank you so much for saying Hello. Sending lots of love to the UK right now. xx

  • Reply
    Carol
    January 29, 2021 at 5:58 am

    I’ve made two reproductions of this quilt. The first was a wedding present for a friend who is a fellow Jane Austen fan. The diamonds in the original are not the usual 60 degree/120 degree diamonds. It is theorized that the Austens did a different diamond due to the center block.

    • Reply
      Amy
      January 29, 2021 at 9:03 am

      Oh, that is so interesting! Makes sense, but adds a layer of complexity, I’m sure. And what an amazing wedding gift! You are a great friend!

  • Reply
    Rosemary B
    January 29, 2021 at 7:36 am

    I am a homebody too.
    I love this fabric and now I want some.
    this quilt is so adorable. I might just blow $60 on etsy.
    Thanks for the encouragement.
    Happy Friday

  • Reply
    rtrittel
    January 29, 2021 at 7:43 am

    Oh, thanks so much for the inspiration. I have a fat quarter bundle and was trying to figure out the best way to use it. Your Union Jack pattern is perfect! I will definitely be copying your idea!!

  • Reply
    Lynette Caulkins
    January 29, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Oh, wow! Yes – the Jane fabrics make gorgeous Union Jack blocks! Love them. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica Short
    January 29, 2021 at 11:23 am

    I am waiting (feels like forever) for your Notting Hill fabric! I have a crazy obsession with everything English and this just feeds right into that. I actually stayed in Notting Hill not long before the pandemic and just fell in love with it. Anyway, thanks for sharing this because I need to add this place to my list for my next trip. Now I need this fabric as well! I already have a couple of London themed quilts in the works, what is one more? Thank you!

    • Reply
      Amy
      January 29, 2021 at 3:48 pm

      There can never be too many London-themed quilts, right?! 😉

      The wait for Notting Hill is almost over! Should hit stores in the next couple of weeks! 🙂

  • Reply
    Nicole
    January 29, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    I love the colours in Jane’s quilt. They are so pretty, so calm and subtle. I’d love to have all those fabrics, each and every single one. Thanks so much for sharing this!

  • Reply
    Veronica
    January 29, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    Beautiful work. A friend once told me that Jane Austen didn’t add backing. Anyone know if this is so?

  • Reply
    Arlyn Parker
    January 29, 2021 at 2:59 pm

    Erin Russek (One Piece At A Time) is running a free Jane Austen quiltalong. The center block is Jane’s profile-check it out!

  • Reply
    Cheryll
    January 30, 2021 at 5:13 pm

    Have you read The Jane Austen Society? It is written by Natalie Jenner. It is a novel based on a neighborhood group forming a society to save Jane’s house? It is a charmer.

  • Reply
    Kristi
    January 30, 2021 at 5:39 pm

    I see that you have Jane’s panel on your design wall. Will you be reproducing Jane’s quilt with all those border squares or something else? I love Jane’s novels and am contemplating watching Pride and Prejudice again (who doesn’t enjoy Colin Firth in a wet shirt)? I loved this post and see that I need to return to England to see Jane’s home.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    January 30, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Your post is aptly timed! My friends and I have started a book club during this pandemic, and we are currently right in the middle of Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”. What fun to find she was a quilter too! Another place to add to my ever-growing bucket list of places to visit. Thanks for this post! Now I really want the fabric… Just when I told myself I don’t need more fabric, but we all know how that goes!!

  • Reply
    Melissa Decker
    January 31, 2021 at 7:00 am

    I’ve never notice before that the ‘corner to corner’ red line was not centred. I’m 53, and not British, but, have loved the British Isles since I was small. As many times as I have drawn or cut and pasted a version of the Union Jack, I cannot believe I missed such an important detail. Thank you, for pointing it out to me! 😀

  • Reply
    Sandra B
    January 31, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    What a great post, Amy!
    Thank you so much for sharing this quilt…it is amazing! I cannot imagine how long it must have taken to stitch all those little diamonds together….I am predominately a hand piecer, so seeing this quilt, and knowing the countless hours that went into its making is quite an inspiration for me!!
    Again, thanks so much for sharing….

  • Reply
    raniss
    January 31, 2021 at 6:45 pm

    I guess they’re making more of the coverlet kits. I just preordered it as I too love Jane Austen. I love your Union Jack blocks.

    • Reply
      Amy
      February 1, 2021 at 11:36 am

      I have heard there are more coverlet kits coming. I’ll see if I can find out more details on timing!

  • Reply
    Karen Wheeler
    April 7, 2021 at 1:12 pm

    I received the boxed kit of the Jane quilt and plan to make it. Thank you. I wonder if there’s a sew along or group online that’s doing it?

    • Reply
      Amy
      April 7, 2021 at 7:38 pm

      I personally don’t know of one, but there may be one out there! That sounds really fun. I’d try googling it and hopefully something comes up!

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