#ThinkDoMAKE: Technical & Modern Textiles Materials

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#ThinkDoMAKE: Modern Materials Tetrahedron

Fluorescent, reflective and phosphorescent materials and components are used that react to light in different ways. The tetrahedron creates a 3D shape that will hold a variety of different items.  

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This is a starting point for an idea only. The idea will need to be developed and a scheme of learning created in relation to the context of learnersAn iterative design approach is encouraged. Credit should be given to the original source where appropriate.

  • Textiles materials - any could be used - rip stop nylon works well as does warp knitted polyester 
  • Modern materials & why these materials are suited to a particularly context/set of users (fluorescent pigments, reflective materials, phosphorescence)
  • Properties of materials
  • Textiles fabric construction
  • Attaching Velcro
  • Basic appliqué using machine embroidery stitches    
  • Using the sewing machine
  • 2D and 3D shapes
  • Adding shape/structure to a product (use of tetrahedron)
  • Tetrahedron shape (including maths links)
  • Functional product: keyring/storage for headphones or similar small items

Developing the idea & the learning further (these are a few examples only)

  • Developing the idea to meet the needs of a specific user/design context
  • Develop the functionality of the product e.g. adding an e-textiles light feature
  • Develop the size and shape of the keyring
  • Substitute materials and components e.g. use a different fastening, use a waterproof material, create your own 3D printed keyring attachment
  • Decorate the fabric differently e.g. sublimation printed, more challenging appliqué
  • Experiment with different nets
  • Model different outcomes (iterative design)
  • Consider the levers and mechanisms used in the keyring clip attachment
  • Link to the design theme e.g. Bauhaus, a designer, a culture
  • Identifying resources, costs and planning manufacture
  • Evaluating the impact of the product
  • Marketing and branding of the product

Review the learning that could be included in this project against the key learning areas curriculum document

Materials & any specialist equipment used in the example

  • Sewing machine
  • Glow in the dark sewing thread (e.g. Gutermann Glowy)
  • Square of fluorescent fabric  
  • Sew in reflective tape (5cm one is more cost effective)
  • Piece of Velcro (7cm)
  • Keyring and split ring

(www.chesterfords.co.uk sell both fluorescent fabric and reflective tape)

Cut a 16cm x 16cm square in fluorescent fabric (this can be increased to get a larger L IMG 2915bag, particularly if students are younger and will find it hard to work on a small scale). Appliqué the reflective tape design into place. 

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Iron over the top edge of the square by the width of the Velcro plus 0.5cm (check the heat on the iron is suitable for your fabric). Quality control tip: Does your fabric fray? If it does neaten off the edge of the folded fabric to stop it from fraying. If the fabric doesn’t fray you might still want to neaten the edge just to give the product a more professional finish. 

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Cut out a piece of reflective tape 1.5 x 4cm (the tape usually doesn’t fray so the edges should not need neatening). Fold it in half and position just below the fold in the fabric  (use the picture to help you with this). Stitch into position. 

Stitch the Velcro into position just below the fold line. Use the picture to help you. Note that it must not go over the fold line. 

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Fold the fabric to face the inside and stitch along the bottom edge to hold it in place. 

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Place the right sides of the fabric facing each other and stitch down the side seam using 0.5cm seam. This will create a cylinder shape. Note: Don’t stitch along the bottom edge. If the fabric frays this seam will need neatening. You might choose to neaten it even if the fabric doesn’t fray so you get a more professional finish.

Create a tetrahedron shape by folding the cylinder so that the bottom 2 edges meet and the seam sits in the middle (see photo). Stitch the bottom edge using a 0.5cm seam. Note that the cylinder no longer sits flat as the top edge with the Velcro closes in one direction and the bottom edge sits facing the other (See bottom photo).

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Trim the corners off so that they will lie flat when turned through to the right way. Turn the keyring to the right side. 

The keyring can be used in a number of different ways and the fluorescent, reflective and phosphorescent materials enable it to be seen in different light conditions.

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Practical activities and ideas are provided as a starting point only. Students should use these as inspiration as part of an iterative design process developing the idea further themselves. Credit should be given to the original source where appropriate.

Find out more about how fluorescence, reflective and phosphorescent materials work

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