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Vintage Clothing

The Vintage Clothing case provides an immediate compare and contrast using objects with which students are familiar. The case also introduces the idea of handmade versus mass manufacturing. The economics of frugality can also be addressed.


Two-piece, cotton summer dress, ladies stockings, sleeping gown, camisole and bloomers, alligator skin purse, handmade boy's shirt with patch, man's striped cotton shirt and crisping pin (Curling iron)


Have the students discuss or draw pictures of what they think people wore in the 1800's. Then display the clothes and compare with their ideas.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: OV.1.4.6, OV.1.1.9, OV.1.4.8)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: OV.1.6.6)

What might life have been like for the people who owned these garments?

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: IR.12.4.1, IR.12.3.7, G.2.1.1, H.6.1.7)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: W.5.6.1, W.5.7.1)

Write a story about the little boy who wore the patched shirt. Where do you think he lived, what did he like to do, what chores did he have, how did he tear his shirt?

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: W.3.2, W.5.2.4, W.5.3.1, W.5.3.6)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: W.4.7.6, W.5.7.1)

Using a Venn diagram or T-chart, compare the clothes we wear today with these older clothes.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: IR.12.2.6, IR.12.3.6)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: W.4.6.2)

Talk about machine stitched and hand stitched clothes. Demonstrate both methods.

Make Paper Dolls. Dress them in early 1900's clothes.