High tech fabrics for public transport seating, being an engineer & questioning

I hope you have all had a good start to your week. Apologies as this issue is a bit later than normal as it has been a busy couple of days! You may remember back in July that I wrote an article for Sewing World magazine about textiles in education and how much it has changed since many of the magazine’s readership went to school. I have been asked to write a series of 6 follow up articles for the January to June issues next year so I have been busy doing the planning work. The articles will focus on the use of smart, modern and electronic textiles with the aim of showing the traditional hobby sewer all the exciting new materials and components that are out there. These projects will also probably be of interest to many teachers as they could be used with students. The first issue is out in January and more information will follow nearer the time.

High Tech Fabrics For Public Transport Seating

DSC01887 _Snapseed

I have been using public transport a lot recently whether it be buses, trains or the tube and as always when I am out and about I always notice anything textiles related. This inspired me to think about fabrics used for seating in transport and the specialist properties they need to have.

Here are some links related to fabrics used in transport seating:

Buy furnishing fabrics based on seating designs used by London Transport. The site also includes information on the history of each fabric design. 


News article on new designs for tube seat fabric http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10586117

Why not use these 2 articles as part of a series of homeworks where students research the seating used in different modes of transport? From a textiles perspective they could investigate both the properties of the materials as well as the design of the fabrics? They could also go on to design fabrics taking into account different types of users. 

Other useful links are:

Anti microbial nanotechnology used on seating fabric used in public places http://www.nano-cide.com/

Car seats made out of bioplastic http://www.teijin.co.jp/english/news/2007/ebd070912.html

This link isn’t related to car seats but is still transport related and shows how a hot air balloon is made including fabric cutting and the use of the same seam that is used on jeans http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzCwOiqC8zY&feature=related

Be An Engineer (even if you want a career in textiles)

‘Tomorrow’s Engineers’ is a great website for students and teachers about careers in engineering. The site covers all areas of D&T and shows a wide variety of different career areas teachers and students may not have realised were linked to engineering. There are lots of free resources for teachers to download along with video clips, case studies and activities. The site shows how interesting and exciting engineering can be and it breaks down traditional barriers and stereotypes. If you are a textiles teacher in particular and have always thought engineering wasn’t relevant to you try typing ‘fashion’ into the search box and get a different perspective on the careers your students could be going into.  Visit www.tomorrowsengineers.org.uk

Questioning Technique

question mark

Last week I mentioned the use of lolly sticks for questioning in order to ensure all students engage and that the teacher doesn’t just focus on one person. Some students find answering questions very difficult often because everyone’s attention is on them and there is a natural fear about getting the answer wrong especially in front of their peers. Some of the ‘fear factor’ from questioning can be reduced by allowing students thinking time so that answers can be planned. Where a student is struggling when answering a question a ‘phone a friend’ strategy can be used where the student nominates someone else to help with the answer. As well as supporting individuals to take more of an active part in the lesson this also builds relationships between students who might otherwise not have interacted much. This strategy does however need careful handling by the teacher to ensure that the student who nominates a friend still takes part in answering the question rather than them just letting the other person do all the work.

Useful links 

Intruder detecting smart "Curtains” that could replace your burglar alarm - conductive threads are woven into the fabric and when cut they trigger an alarm http://www.ecouterre.com/intruder-detecting-smart-curtains-could-replace-your-anti-burglar-system

These have got to be the most uncomfortable & unflattering shoes ever - the things we do for fashion! Watch the video as it will make you smile. This could lead to some interesting class discussions about the things we will do for fashion and could also be used to prompt blue sky thinking for designing e.g. what else could be worn backwards? http://www.psfk.com/2012/10/reversed-stiletto-heel-front.html

Free Photo Download


This week’s image is train seating to help you focus on the high tech fabrics that are used in transport seating.

 Click on the image to download it.  

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© Boyd Education  2012   text, images & ideas on this website are the copyright of Julie Boyd & may not be copied or reproduced without permission.. All rights Reserved.