Textiles Gcse Coursework Sustainability Conference

Responsible Wool Standard Forum | Tues. Oct. 10th

Stuart Adams starting a farming career in the Southwest of Western Australia growing up on a merino sheep farm / grain production operation. In 2011 Stuart began grain farming in Canada.

In farming, Stuart is known for his pioneering approach to using technology to increase efficiency and lower environmental impacts.  In Australia he initiated the development of a sustainable farming program for wool growers, working with Curtin University.  Stuart has a strong background in supply chain management, having designed a traceability system to track wool from farm to shelf for the i-merino value chain he created in the late 90’s.  In 2005 the i-merino value chain was awarded the European Union Ecolabel. A global first for a merino wool value chain.

Stuart has worked closely with all parts of the textile value chain for cotton and wool, establishing relationships, visiting factories, facilitating large orders to global brands and ensuring quality management across a value chain.

 As a member of the technical committee for the Responsible Wool Standard, Stuart advises closely on the standard writing, with responsibility for the development of the land management modules.   He also takes on the calibration of the auditors, shadowing a number of the audits, and setting qualification criteria. During the last 12 months Stuart has been in Argentina, Uruguay, USA, Germany, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, England and will be in Argentina again at the end of the month auditing farms, educating farmers and some of the worlds largest retailers on the importance of agricultural standards.

Textiles Key Stage 3:

Within KS3 students develop their imagination, creativity, knowledge and understanding of the subject. Textiles is a fun subject where pupils work from a set design briefs and meet the needs and requirements of a manufacturer/situation. Within their timetabled lesson pupils will explore:
  • What is Textiles?
  • Fibres and Fabrics
  • Designers/Artists that link to Textiles
  • Decoration, Construction and fastening methods
  • Develop research, design and presentation skills
  • Develop design ideas and annotation skills
  • Develop sewing machine confidence.
  • Develop hand eye coordination skills
  • Develop practical skills including decoration, construction and fastening knowledge and application.
  • Use numeracy skills in relation to seam allowance and sizes of fabrics

Pupils will use a range of fabrics to develop these skills and create a range of different products.
The examination Board (AQA) provide a selection of briefs to choose from- these change yearly. Once pupils have chosen a design brief they have 45 hours to complete an A3 design portfolio and create a final piece(s). The portfolio and practical work will see pupils through the rest of year 10 and part way into year 11.

Alongside the portfolio work pupils prepare for a theory exam. The final examination (which is worth 40% of their final grade) is divided into two sections. 

Section A- This is the design section. The examination board provide preliminary information several months prior to the exam to allow pupils to prepare well for this area. Pupils will need to research and generate ideas prior to the exam so that they are fully prepared for the exam day.

Section B- This is based on general theory. This tests the knowledge and understanding which has been taught in Textiles throughout the course as well as the revision sessions and homework prior to the exam.

Textiles Technology 

There are Textiles all around us… In our everyday lives we rely on Textiles, through the fabrics we wear or the products we use. From protection; shelters (tents), Coats (for different weathers), medical supplies (bandages, slings etc.), health and safety (bullet proof vests, specialist uniforms, work/school uniform), bags (work wear, function or fashion) and much much more.

What we study

Textiles technology focuses on the knowledge and understanding of fabrics, designers, textile components and processes, whilst teaching the students to consider sustainability and environmental impact in their designing. Students will learn how to design, manufacture and construct their own textile items, including clothes and accessories. 

As part of the course students will learn how fabrics and textiles products are made in industry; from fibres through to finished textiles. Students also learn how to produce a wide range of decorative techniques and learn how these are created in the industry including the use of CAD/CAM. 

Students will study some fashion designers and the ways that textiles have influenced the way we live today in particular; environmental, ethical, social and moral issues related to the Fashion and Clothing Industries. 

Textiles Technology is constantly changing and is at the forefront of recent scientific innovations, as a result students learn about technical textiles, including smart, modern and electronic textiles.

Year 7

Pupils work on two different design briefs. The first is ‘Mors bags’. This helps pupils to understand the need for recycling, the ever increasing amount of fabric bags and the reasons they are so popular, whilst thinking about environmental issues. This project enables pupils to develop their confidence with using a sewing machine, whilst learning about construction skills.

The second project is a Pop Art inspired bag. Pupils develop their understanding of Pop Art, looking specifically at Andy Warhol. The project enables them to develop their research skills on a variety of activities before designing and developing their making skills. 

Pupils use a range of decorative techniques including: a resist method, block printing, transfer painting, a resist method and hand embellishment to help them meet the requirements of the brief.

Year 8

In Year 8 students get to further develop their knowledge, understanding and ability within textiles this time working on fastening techniques.

Again, pupils work on two briefs. Firstly, they work with oil cloth or PVC, learning about the history and purpose of the fabric, before recapping their sewing machine skills and creating a basic pencil case or make-up bag.Pupils recap construction skills (plain seams and single hems), as well as using patterns, cutting fabric accurately and learning how to insert a zip correctly.

Leading on from this mini project, pupils complete research tasks based on their main brief- artist inspired cushions. Within this project pupils look at 6 different artists, before selecting 1 artist to base their project on. Pupils will continue to research, completing activities such as moodboardsand fact files, before developing design ideas with full annotation.

Pupils then independently develop a final product using a minimum of 4 decorative techniques. Pupils create samples prior to their final product and therefore have a wider range of decorative techniques available to them than they did in year 7. 
Technique options include:
  • A resist method,
  • Applique/ Reverse applique
  • Hand embellishment
  • An easy method (fabric crayon, transfer crayon, fabric pen)
  • Direct paint
  • Transfer paint
  • Hand embellishment/Hand embroidery
Once decorated pupils will insert a fastening method- some pupils opt to perfect their zip insertion skills, where as others opt for a new technique for example applying a button and button hole. In terms of construction, pupils are encouraged to add a piped seam so that they have a higher order technique- which is good preparation for GCSE.

Year 9

During Year 9, students build upon existing skills as well as developing a new range of skills based on components. This project is a fashion based project ‘Dress a girl around the world’. This project also links to recycling(a pillowcase), developing technical skills, and producing a dress for 3-8 year olds in a developing country.

Pupils enjoy the challenges of meeting a ‘real’ brief. At the start of the project pupils are introduced to the charity and complete a range of research tasks to help them to fully meet the requirements of the brief.

The fabric used is a pillowcase- this can be recycled (to link to environmental issues), sustainability and fair trade is discussed and paper activities are completed- these activities give a great base knowledge for the introduction to Textiles at GCSE. Decoration methods may include:
  • Dyeing methods- batik, space dye or dip dye
  • Printing methods- block printing, digital transfer (CAD/CAM), transfer print/paint
  • Basic methods 0- Fabric pen, crayons, direct paint
  • Surface decorative techniques including- applique, reverse applique, trapunto, patchwork, quilting. Digital embroidery, hand embroidery, hand embellishment.
Students develop their independent skills, as well as following teacher led demonstrations on pockets, inserting elastic and bias binding- before attempting these independently.

Once completed the dresses are thoroughly inspected (for health and safety reasons), and then pupils can make the decision as to whether they want their dress to be sent off to Africa. Dresses are sent off in 1 batch at the end of the summer term.

Textiles at KS4


You will need an interest in making textiles products and/or Fashion products. Basic sewing and designing skills are advantageous, but not compulsory (the knowledge gained from KS3 is ideal). An interest in computer aided design would support this subject, particularly if you are not confident at drawing.

Areas of Study:

During year 10 pupils will complete a wide range of ‘mini’ projects that will cover a large amount of the required theory and skills necessary for the examination at the end of Year 11. Students will then start a ‘Major’ project of their choosing worth 60% of their GCSE mark. This is called the controlled assessment.

During year 10 pupils start off on the skills folder- this draws on skills from KS3 and is a good recap from year 7-9, but other skills are also added for example fabric manipulation and fashion techniques- darts, tucks etc. Pupils use the folder right the way through the GCSE as it is an excellent reference point. Pupils also develop their knowledge of fashion designers working on a small research project, which may include presentation.

There will also be an opportunity for a collaborative fashion task based on ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’. Pupils have the option of whether to work individually or in pairs on this task. This is a fun project to ‘show off’ their fashion manipulation skills by developing and enhancing existing products.

Other projects studied along the way may include fashion or interior items as well as an E-Textiles product- where pupils learn about the developing textiles industry of adding electronic circuits into products. Whilst we focus on LED’s in class there are other possibilities including charging devices (for phones), GPS tracking systems, or musical devices.

From the start of February in year 10 pupils will start the controlled assessment element of their GCSE. This project is worth 60% of their final grade and pupils will be given a minimum of 4 different design briefs to choose from. Previous design briefs have included;
  • Cultural Textiles products
  • Children’s Toys
  • Children’s Clothing

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