Designing & prototyping, assessment without levels & revising denim

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All the final preparations are being made this week for my stand at the Sewing for Pleasure/Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch show at the NEC next week (March 19th -22nd). Because of the show there will be no blog next week but it will return the following week as normal. 

Come and see me showcasing e-textiles on stand ZN22 if you visit the show (just behind the main fashion show stage). This will include new e-textiles projects. If you can’t make the show but want to see the new projects they will be included in the e-textiiles course for beginners on 24th April (click here for more details on the course)

Click here to find out more about the Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch

Focus on D&T:  For all D&T teachers


With the exam coming up soon, get students thinking about design, and in particular how they can approach design questions in a more innovative way: - 8 design projects in less than a minute by designer Pierre Lota.  (via Nia Sian Hogarth on Product Design Surgery Facebook page). Also take a look at his You Tube channel as well as his website The website is in French but many of the videos have no voice overs and there is lots of useful information on the website.  The 8 design projects would be a good exercise to do in the classroom. 

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If you don’t want to do something on quite such a big scale try a more basic approach by getting students to use everyday objects such as pen lids, pencil shavings, & pegs to generate a range of designs - Spencer Nugent does a sketch a day and archives them on his website. Great drawing inspiration for students especially as many of his sketches have videos where he talks about what he is doing. 

Prototyping - Jude Pullen, a design engineer with Dyson who works on new project ideas. His website has lots of videos, tips and ideas on prototyping and modelling. Also take a look at his You Tube channel - cardboard prototyping by a company called Quirky, including why the designer sometimes prefers this material over new technology like 3D printing

Course Updates: For All D&T Teachers

Click on the links below to find out more or click here to see the full course calendar

New KS3 Curriculum: Maximising Progression in D&T (Wed 13 May, York & Fri 3 July, London)

Focus on T&L & Leadership:  For all D&T teachers (& other subjects too!)

Assessment Without Levels

Durrington High School have done some interesting work on assessment without levels that is worth a look. The school was awarded a DfE Assessment Innovation Fund to develop strategies for assessment without levels for the new KS3 curriculum. You can see details about their initial ideas at  If there is one thing you should look at on the page it is the video on Austin’s Butterfly. This sums up in a simple way what good assessment might look like and how it makes a difference. 

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The school have also recently reviewed their progress so far and the reflections on their journey will be useful for many still deciding what route to take The website also has a wide range of other useful resources linked to assessment and teaching and learning and is also worth a look. (via Sarah Middleton on Food Technology Teachers Network Facebook group)

If you are looking for support with assessment and the new KS3 curriculum in D&T generally take a look at my course New KS3 Curriculum: Maximising Progression in D&T (Wed 13 May, York & Fri 3 July, London) 

Focus on Textiles: Back to  my roots!

Revision on Denim

fig 8.4j Construction techniques 2 - pockets – hip  JB copy

Denim is always a fashion staple and from an exam perspective it is a popular focus. It is popular as there are so many angles from which questions can be asked, whether it be related to the fibre, fabric, weave, sustainability issues, styling or products. Denim is therefore always a good revision staple to focus on. Check out these links on denim: - see the 2015 new trends for denim - history of jeans (this website also has some other good stuff on history of fashion generally) - the website page above has a great video on how jeans are made including cotton growing, manufacture and distressing. This link is where you can find the video on You Tube. 

jeans distressed 4837 - infographic on jeans production - glossary of terms linked to denim. Look at other sections on the website too as there is lots of useful information on jeans and denim -  denim that is recycled in to insulation material for buildings - Ultratouch insulation made from recycled denim - Levi Strauss and their approach to sustainability

Whether students are revising for GCSE or A level, or if you are focusing on denim as part of the KS3 curriculum, get students to do some research of their own rather than you having to look at all of these links. Divide the links out between students and give them a set of criteria they have to do research on e.g. 3 line summary of what the link is about, 1 image that represents the focus of the link, 1 exam question related to the content in the link, 5-10 bullet points on key information in the link, a new link they have found themselves that relates to the information. Students could do this work as a group task or as individuals. The information could be summarised onto paper; keep it brief; a one page summary is less marking, and creates a good visual and concise revision resource, or could be done a a mini presentation. Both could potentially be used as part of a lesson starter and would give you a ready made classroom resource. 

fig 8.4h Construction techniques 2 - pockets – patch  JB

If you are looking for other ideas for A level revision lessons take a look at the course Maximising Progression & Developing Exam Technique in A Level Product Design Textiles (Tues 21 April, London)

Course Updates: For All D&T Textiles Teachers

Click on the links below to find out more or click here to see the full course calendar

Maximising Progression & Developing Exam Technique in A Level Product Design Textiles (Tues 21 April, London)

Basic Introduction to E-textiles for Beginners (Fri 24 April, Nottingham)

Back to Basics: Developing Your Textiles Practical Skills (Thurs 7 May, Nottingham)

KS3 Textiles: Planning an Outstanding & Engaging Curriculum (Mon 18 May, Nottingham)

GCSE Textiles Revision: Preparing for the Written Exam  (Tues 26 May, Nottingham)

Basic & More Advanced E-Textiles (Including Basic Programming) (Sat 6 June, Nottingham)

A Level Product Design Textiles: Developing Key Knowledge and Skills for Units 1 & 3 (Tues 9 June, York)

STEM in Textiles: Using Maths to Inspire & Develop Your Textiles Curriculum (Mon 29 June, Nottingham)

Introduction to A level Textiles (Thurs 2 July, London)

Advanced Programmable E-textiles: Meeting the Electronics Requirements of the KS3 Curriculum (Mon 6 July, Nottingham)

Back to Basics - An Introduction to Textiles Practical Skills for Beginners (Wed 8th July, Nottingham)

The Textiles Teacher Event (Sat 3 October, Nottingham)

Free Photo Download

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How might you use this glass roof to inspire a design? What techniques might you use to interpret the design?

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