Free resources, degree show inspiration, skateboarding, & celebrating the importance of textiles 


My regular free #ThinkDo activity cards have gone a bit quiet recently as I haven’t had time to make any new ones, but hopefully normal service will return soon! In the meantime try out the freebie created by my husband, Paul, on the Igloo programable board by Kitronik. He has created 8 visual, step by step help sheets for getting some of the basics up and running, and they can be downloaded both on my websiteand on website.  Don’t forget there are also lots of other free resources on my website to help you out with lesson planning, and these pages are regularly updated, so keep popping back to see what’s new. 

Free Resources 


Quick activities with a free photo & thinking point. 

Fabric spreading IMG 4898

#ThinkDo #Textiles Fabric spreading machine. How is fabric cutting done in industry? What are the main differences to fabric cutting in school? How might CAD/CAM be used?

Click on the image to see a larger version. Free download image to use in your classroom. 

Find out more about #ThinkDo activities & see ones posted on Instagram & Facebook

Did you see my Facebook page this week?

This week’s Facebook updates have included: 


Click on the links below to see more:

Calendar    Things coming up soon include:

23rd June - National Women in Engineering Day

26th June - Online support for teaching high level practical skills in food  (Food Teachers Centre

29th June - 2nd July - New Designers Part 1, London (textiles, costume, jewellery)

1st & 2nd July - Technical Textiles: Smart & Modern Materials course, York (with Enthuse Bursary to cover the cost of fees & accommodation)

4th July - EBacc debated in parliament

6th - 9th July - New Designers Part 2, London (Furniture, Product Design, Graphic Design)

13th July - Technicians course on servicing sewing machines, Nottingham (with Enthuse Bursary to cover the cost of fees)

13th July - GCSE D&T 2017: Textiles in the New Qualification course, Nottingham

Resources To Support Lesson Planning

Free Programmable Components Resources


If you are looking for support to develop the use of programmable components my husband has produced some FREE step by step visual help sheets on using Kitronik's Igloo. Although the Igloo was designed for e-textiles it can also be used in other material areas, particularly if you want something with a small footprint. Paul also does similar help sheets for Crumble but these are only available on courses at the moment. There are 8 different sheets which can be downloaded here or from his website at

Free 3D Printing Resources

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Paul also posted a link on my Facebook page this week to some good information on 3D printers from Technology Supplies. You will have to submit your email address to them but it’s worth it if you are confused by the plethora of advice from sales and marketing literature. There are also some free resources on 3D printing on my website that Paul has created, particularly a video tutorial on using 123D Design. 

Degree Show Inspiration

I recently visited the degree shows at Nottingham Trent University and Sheffield Hallam and a selection of images from several of the courses can be seen here. If you have any degree shows still on near you it is worthwhile encouraging students to attend as it is inspirational, as well as really helping to put their own work into perspective as part of the bigger picture. It is particularly useful to see sketches, models, prototypes, user testing, and all the other things we do in schools, done within a degree context so students see how they are following a similar process. Attending New Designers in London is also an inspirational day out and is a good way of seeing a range of different universities at the same time (29th June - 2nd July for textiles, costume, jewellery and ceramics courses and 6th - 9th July for graphics, product design and furniture).

Sheffield Hallam

Skateboarding Links


Take a look at the Stair-Rover, an eight wheeled long board that will get skateboarders in your class engaged in design. The board has a wheel mechanism that enables it to glide smoothly down steps and along uneven terrain. Use this with the Exploratorium website which has great information on the science and art behind boards. 

Stair-Rover website
You Tube video for the Stair-Rover
Website Exploratorium on the science & art of skateboard design

In The News

Diana Choulerton, Ofsted Lead for D&T, Talking about Textiles & Food

Last week Diana Choulerton, HMI and National Lead for D&T for Ofsted, spoke at the Inspiring Learning event where I was running a workshop. She spoke with passion about textiles and Food within D&T and also attended several of the workshops throughout the day, including mine, where she got fully involved asking lots of questions and talking to teachers. The slides from her presentation can be found here and may be of as much interest to all D&T teachers as they are to textiles and food specialists. 

The Importance of Textiles 

This week I came across an article which is a must read for textiles teachers, as well as everyone else in D&T. It is quite long but is excellent at explaining the importance of textiles in history, as well as it’s importance in the future. As well as illustrating the journey of textiles to the high tech fibres we use today, there’s also an important message about how the more we become familiar with technology the more we take it for granted, hence the throwaway comments often thrown at the fashion and textiles industry. Yet, as the article points out, the story of technology is the story of textiles with the origins of chemistry lying in the colouring and finishing of cloth and the industrial revolution stemming from the textiles industry. The article says that we take textiles for granted and that we just expect fabrics to do the super high tech jobs they do. It says no technology is as powerful as fabric with it being what they describe as ‘among the greatest products of human artifice’. The end of the article has a particular focus on high tech textiles and illustrates really well the importance of textiles and how it is as much about science as it is about pretty dresses. This article shows why textiles is an essential part of D&T and equally why science is a key part of textiles. (Original link via Being Knitterly)

Want to Know How Textiles Fits into the New GCSE?

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If you are uncertain about how textiles fits into the new GCSE D&T qualification take a look at the course I am running in Nottingham on 13th July. We will be focusing on how textiles can retain its unique identity as a creative subject, along with reassurance on how to manage the changes so they don't increase teacher workload. We will also be considering some of the opportunities the new curriculum might offer if departments want to be a bit more adventurous. Places are limited as the aim is to offer personalised support based on the needs of individual departments. For more information click here.

Competitions  Click here for information on other D&T competitions 

5 WEEKS to the Deadline for my 'Product In A Tin’ Textiles Competition

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There’s a small write up on last year’s competition winner in the July edition of Sewing World magazine. This could be you & your student next year! There’s still time to get entries started - why not use the competition as a homework or end of term activity and hold your own internal competition & then send off the best pieces of work. Click here to find out more & to see supporting resources. Closing date 1st August 2016.

Course Updates

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

Technical Textiles: Using Smart & Modern Materials in Your Classroom - 1st & 2nd July 2016 (2 day course), STEM Centre, York
(note this course is organised by the STEM Centre & the link takes you to their website). 
State funded schools & academies can apply for an Enthuse Bursary which pays the course fee (as well as any accommodation required). Click here to find out more about the Enthuse Award. Click here to see photos from the course

GCSE D&T 2017: Textiles in the New Qualification
13th July, Nottingham NEW GCSE

Textiles Technician Course: A Basic Introduction to Servicing and Maintaining Sewing Machines NEW 13th July, Coles Sewing Centre, Nottingham (note this course is organised by the STEM Centre & the link takes you to their website but it is held in Nottingham). State funded schools & academies can apply for an Enthuse Bursary which pays the course fee (as well as any accommodation required). Click here to find out more about the Enthuse Award. 

The Textiles Teacher Roadshow, 8th Oct, Nottingham 
New content for the new academic year with a focus on the place of textiles in the new GCSE

Promoting Creativity, Imagination & Independence: Outstanding T&L in D&T (including info on the new GCSE) (this course is delivered by Paul & Julie Boyd on behalf of Keynote Educational)
9th November, London

Outstanding T&L in AQA A Level Product Design Textiles
This course is delivered on behalf of Keynote Educational
10th November, London

Preparing to Teach the New D&T GCSE 9th & 10th December (2 day course), STEM Centre, York (note this course is organised by the STEM Centre & the link takes you to their website). State funded schools & academies can apply for an Enthuse Bursary which pays the course fee (as well as any accommodation required). Click here to find out more about the Enthuse Award.

Why not build attending a course into your Performance Review? 
Dates or venue not suitable or type of course you want not available? Additional courses can be added to the course calendar at your request at no additional cost to you. Email for more details. 

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