Anika Mehta
May 22, 2014 1:00 pm

“‘Oh! certainly,’ cried his faithful assistant, ‘no one can be really esteemed accomplished who does not greatly surpass what is usually met with. A woman must have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, to deserve the word; and besides all this, she must possess a certain something in her air and manner of walking, the tone of her voice, her address and expressions, or the word will be but half deserved.’

   ‘All this she must possess’ added Darcy, ‘and to all this she must yet add something more substantial, in the improvement of her mind by extensive reading.’”

-Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 8

We’ve read about and seen what constitutes an accomplished women in Jane Austen’s time (I’m sure you all remember Caroline Bingley’s description- and Darcy’s addition!). And oh my, what an extensive list! I could only hope that I could do all that they did. Most young ladies in the Regency had many creative talents and were highly skilled in these arts. A well-done drawing or painting was usually evidence of a good education. No pressure!

Embroidery was a common skill and pastime; you can even see Emma and Harriet taking an embroidery break in the 1995 production of Emma. It is a very portable activity and could have been done while visiting someone or even traveling longer distances. Whitework was the a very popular type of embroidery: it entailed using white thread to embroider a delicate design onto soft white muslin in order to resemble expensive lace (hello, next DIY project!).

Today’s DIY are simple and easy embroidery hoop corkboards. We are taking inspiration from the past time of choice for Regency ladies and incorporating it into our 21st century décor. These are perfect for your house, office, or even dorm room! And while making your DIY project, remember you are becoming more and more accomplished as you are making modern-day decorative art yourself.

Supplies:

1. Embroidery hoops

2. Fabric – I used cotton quilting quarters, but just about any fabric will work

3. Cork board – Can be found at most craft stores

4. Glue – I used E6000

6. Exacto knife

6. Sharp scissors

Steps:

1. Trace the inner edge of the inner hoop (the one without the metal piece on it) onto the cork boards.

2. Cut out the traced circles with the exacto knife. Be careful here! The cork is very fragile.

3. One hoop at a time: put glue all the way around the inner edge of the hoop. Attach the cork circle inside the hoop. Push the cork down and push the edges in to make sure it’s tight. (Your fingers might get very sticky like mine did!)

4. Repeat this step for all of your hoops. Let them dry.

5. While the glue is drying, Lay the outer hoops on their corresponding fabric. Cut a large square around each hoop (about 1-2 inches away from the hoop).

6. Assemble the hoops. Place the fabric square between the two hoops and press down- it will “lock” in place. You can also glue the fabric down onto the outer edge of the inner hoop (the one with the cork attached). I want to interchange my fabric, so I did not glue it down (everything will stay in place without glue).

7. Pull the fabric tight. Flip the whole hoop over and trim the fabric very close to the edge of the hoop.

8. Mount onto the wall and you’re done!

A little inspiration: These adorable cork boards make great Regency-inspired décor! They are perfect for your office or work space; they add a dainty and feminine touch and will remind you of dashing Austen heroes when you look up from your computer. Next to your important memos, hang up your favorite Austen quote for inspiration. Not only are they functional, they can also be used as wall art! You can let your imagination run free when you pick your fabrics: you can choose soft and feminine, graphic and trendy, demure and earthy…anything that matches your mood, or your room.

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