Textiles at Downe House is a versatile subject that gives girls a chance to create, and one that boasts excellent results at GCSE and A Level.

Head of Department: Miss Amy Majerski

The number of girls choosing to study Textiles at GCSE in the Lower Fifth is growing, and in turn leads to increased numbers of girls taking A Level. The Department is proud of the 100% pass rate at GCSE and A Level with a 100% A – A* pass rate at GCSE.

Projects for all year groups in Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Key Stage 5 are new, innovative and encourage all students to excel creatively.

Textiles departments 620 x 580 sewing machine downe house
Textiles statistics 100% A_ to A I_GCSE downe house
Textiles 100% pass at I_GCSE A Level Pre U results downe house departments
Textiles Departments jacket half block

Lower School curriculum

Key Stage 3 (Remove – Upper Fourth)

The girls in Lower School enjoy five to ten week rotations including Textiles dependent on their year group.

Remove: Girls work towards a brief where they are asked to design and make a fair-trade textile product. This includes an introduction to the sewing machine, becoming confident with the process of threading and operating the sewing machine and becoming familiar with the full range of stitching techniques. Surface decoration techniques using block printing and batik are used to create fabrics as used in developing countries. The fabrics created are then used to create a patchwork lavender heart; girls learn how to join fabrics, how to press using the iron, and finally how to create seams.

Lower Fourth: Pupils look at the work of the contemporary artist Kurt Jackson and interpret one of the artist’s paintings in order to create a landscape from textiles. Each pupil will examine distance and perspective, breaking up the background, middle ground and foreground, and placing the horizon to form an interesting and striking composition, using a combination of materials such as fabrics, paints and a range of decorative hand and machine stitches. Each pupil will have the opportunity to explore a wide variety of techniques and demonstrate the ability to use colour effectively in a composition. A completed canvas displaying their work will form the final outcome.

Upper Fourth: This year group is tasked with designing and customising a T-shirt inspired by 80s Punk. They have a specific client in mind and are asked to consider the target market group that they are designing for. Customisation techniques are taught such as stencilling, slashing jersey, plaiting jersey, creating flounces and distressing denim. These techniques are then applied onto the blank canvas of a plain t-shirt with stunning effect.

Upper School curriculum

Key Stage 4, GCSE (Lower Fifth and Upper Fifth)

Art and Design: In Textiles Design, pupils learn to work as both artists and designer makers. Girls are taught the skills required to produce outstanding GCSE controlled assessment coursework. They are provided with A3 sketchbooks in which they are expected to present all work created to an exemplary standard. A range of skills are taught including sketching, mark making, drawing with stitch, the manipulation of textiles, printmaking and pattern drafting. The girls begin formal controlled assessment coursework in the second term, and this is assessed as part of their GCSE qualification.

Component 1: Personal portfolio: 60% of the qualification
Component 2: Externally set assignment/practical exam: 40% of the qualification

Sixth Form curriculum

Key Stage 5, A Level (Lower Sixth and Upper Sixth)

At A Level, girls study Art and Design and Textiles Design. Students will be introduced to a variety of experiences that explore a range of textile media, processes and techniques.

Students explore the use of drawing for different purposes, using a variety of methods and media on a variety of scales. For example, a student may select a theme ‘Travel’ and then investigate the theme by creating paintings, collage, pencil and ink sketches. These investigative methods are then used to inspire the development of techniques to include: quilting, embroidery, print methods, dyeing methods, pleating and laser cutting.

Girls use sketchbooks, workbooks and journals extensively to underpin their work. Once techniques have been explored, a textile outcome is created which include fashion clothing, fabric design, soft furnishings, artwork and more.

Further information about the teaching and learning of textiles may be obtained by contacting Miss Amy Majerski; Email: majerskia@downehouse.net

Alumnae: In September 2017 two of our pupils, Katherine Lyons and Kezia Dubens commenced their first year on the Fashion Design Programme at Parsons in New York. Marina Hacking is a former pupil who has recently completed the Fashion Folio course at Central Saint Martins; she has been awarded a place on the degree course at CSM, and we look forward to seeing her final collection.

Tours & Open Mornings

The best way to find out more about Downe House is to experience it for yourself. Book a personal tour or join us at one of our Open Mornings, available throughout the year.

Listen to the latest Downe House PodcastHere