11 June 2013

Jane Austen and a Georgian Coverlet

Lat September my husband and I visited Chawton and the home of Jane Austen.
 I have wanted to visit and see her coverlet in person since I first heard about it several years ago, the colours are still vibrant after all these years.
Little is known about it, the only reference being a letter  in May 1811 from Jane to Cassandra in which she asks "have you remembered to collect pieces for the Patchwork? -- we are now at a standstill."
The quilt features several beautiful chintz fabrics, most of the colours have of course faded, but the small diamond border is still very vibrant, it must have been very colourful when new.

Several years ago Makower produced a fabric range based on this quilt, I bought several yards of the diamond print, which is very similar to the original.
I even have a collection of chintz and other fabrics waiting in a basket to start this quilt.
I think the reason that I am not keen to replicate it, is that I have the attention span of a gnat! I don't really want to fussy cut and sew hundreds of diamonds :) I get bored making the same thing over and over.... So when I saw Esther's post about a fabulous free 18 month BOM she is starting this month, my mind started to whir...
Esther has painstakingly drawn the pattern from a black and white photo in the book Patchwork by Avril Colby from the 1950's (this is a wonderful book, I was luck enough to find a very cheap second hand copy last year, it mentions Jane's coverlet too!)
It is described as 'A fine linen marriage coverlet with appliqué patterns of early wood-block cotton prints in red, pink, rose, blue and white patterns on dark grounds of purple, madder brown or black. c.1790' No one knows where the quilt is now - it is not in the British Quilt Museum or the V & A. The photo was included in the book with the permission of a Mrs Erith of Dedham.
This is much more my kind of quilt! I know it is earlier in date than Jane's coverlet but I have decided to join Esther on this journey and to pay homage to Jane by using the fabrics I had collected to reproduce her coverlet, I may even have enough to make both :)

Full details of the 'Love Entwined' project can be found on Esther's blog HERE


  1. thank you for posting that link! I have seen so many really neat reproductions of quilts on some Australian sites but the patterns are so expensive. I went to Esther's site to look at this quilt - my what a challenge! Are you going to join in. I just signed up for the yahoo group to see what it is all about

    1. Yes! Esther is so generous to provide this for free :)

  2. Hi Elaine,

    Exciting isn't it! This is going to be a stunning quilt.
    I'm joining in too, even though I'm nowhere near completing my Heart's Desire.

  3. Wow, what an amazing challenge you are taking on. I'm going to enjoy following your progress on this one. Highly unlikely that boredom will set in with this project!

  4. Oh wow! That BOM looks amazing! As does Jane's quilt -- so beautiful to see in person! Thanks for sharing all this.

  5. Quilt is beautiful--above my skill level

  6. Lovely! Oh what a beautiful and intricate quilt project your taking on. I so look forward to seeing your progress. Love all the fabric colors you've collected - its going to look amazing. love Annette

  7. Goodness, thanks for directing us to that BOM - it looks fantastic! I might have to give that serious consideration - so exciting. Your collection of fabric looks perfect.

  8. What a wonderful story and amazing to see Jane's quilt!
    Thank you for sharing. I look forward to seeing you work this new project.

  9. Hi Elaine, it was lovely to see Jane's quilt up so close. Side colours sue are vibrant. It's sad that she did not write more about it. I have just started to unpick the green kimono I have chosen to try for my back ground fabric for L.E. there is 7metres in a kimono at 14" wide, I hope it will be enough. Cheers Glenda

  10. Crikey, I think you will need more than the attention span of a gnat for this quilt, will be stunning though!

  11. Love your photos of Jane's quilt. I think we are all going to have fun in this journey. For some reason there are so many of us drawn to that Era. I too love it and our trip to London and Paris last spring had be drooling in museums windows. LOL.
    Hugs Bunny

  12. Oops I was so excited on our river tours on the Thames so amazing. bunny

  13. My dream is to one day visit there so I can see Jane's coverlet...your quilt is going to be amazing...currently I am sitting on the fence about this one.

  14. I love Jane Austen's quilt, and in fact, it was a picture of it in a book that got me interested in quilting. I went to visit it too, and have always wanted to make my version of it. However, I am very intrigued with the BOM that you referred us too, and would like to do that quilt. WOW! What a beautiful quilt. Thanks for sharing your visit to Jane Austen's home and her quilt.

  15. gracias por estar todas por aqui ,no puedo evitar mirar y sentir placer por todo lo que haceis , de todo corazon miles de gracias

  16. Jane's quilt looks amazing. As a beginner to quilting I think your new BOM is out with my capabilities at the moment. I look forward to watching your progress.