Cabinets of Curiosity activity 10: what a stitch up!
Investigate the history of samplers, why they were made and why needlework was such an important part of a Victorian girl’s education and of some boys’ apprenticeships and military service too. Children then create a sampler inspired by that of Elizabeth Brazier.
Knowledge and understanding of Victorian schools and the lives of Victorian children.
KS1-2 History (Victorians, schools in the past, Local History Study)
KS1-2 Art and Design (needlework, making a sampler)
Use Learn with Objects A Cabinet of Curiosities 17: sampler as your starting point. Investigate the photo of the sampler of Elizabeth Brazier as a mystery object.
- What is it?
- What’s it made from?
- How was it made?
- When was it made?
- Where was it made?
- Who made it?
- How old was she?
- Why did girls make items like this?
- Did boys make them too?
Ask the children to do some research using A Cabinet of Curiosities 17: sampler and other websites to discover more about Victorian samplers, and why needlework skills were so important. Children can then report back to the rest of the class.
Children can make their own samplers inspired by the one's they've seen or create one with their own message.
- children's cross-stich kits (NB: kits are available from most educational suppliers and include open-weave backing cloth, coloured thread, child safe needles and instructions).
Tip: You may wish to enrol the assistance of some experienced parent or grandparent stitchers or a local sewing group to help the children with this activity.