In the 1700s, girls learned basic sewing skills by making sewing samplers. A sampler is made by stitching a strand of embroidery thread into a piece of fabric using a sewing needle. The word sampler comes from a French word that means example. The sampler was an example of a person’s sewing skills. Sewing was a necessary skill during this time period. Most families sewed their own clothes, bedding, and curtains. Learning to sew well gave wealthy girls family pride. It gave poor girls a chance to earn a living.
Cross-stitch is a type of hand sewing in which x-shaped stitches are used to form a pattern or picture. It’s one of the easiest needlework stitches. A cross-stitch picture requires planning. The sewer has to count their stitches carefully to make sure the letters and numbers are the same height and are spaced equally.
3-D CROSS-STITCH NAMETAG
In this activity, your students will use a paper grid to plan how they’d make cross-stitches to sew their name on a piece of needlepoint fabric. (If you can provide an embroidery hoop, thread, and needle, each student can practice making the cross-stitches to form the first letter of their name.) But just using the paper grid to plan how to stitch the letters will be difficult for many students. They will get an idea of how hard it is to cross-stitch numbers, letters, and other shapes onto a piece of fabric. When they complete the project, they’ll have a cool pop-up nametag to display on their desk.
BETSY ROSS & THE FIRST UNITED STATES FLAG
There is no written documentation of who sewed the first flag. But several relatives of Betsy Ross have testified to having heard family stories of the flag’s creation. Betsy Ross was an upholsterer by trade. It was not uncommon for upholsterers to be tasked with making flags. Betsy Ross knew George Washington. She’d sewn buttons on his jacket. They also went to the same church. No one else has come forward with claims about who created the first flag. It was most likely Betsy Ross.
The colors of the flag are red (for valor and hardiness), white (for purity and innocence), and blue (for vigilance, perseverance, and justice). The original 13 stars represented the 13 colonies. They were sewn in a circle to signify that the colonies were equal in importance.