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TEXTILES

A-LEVEL

Add texture to your career with an A-level in Textiles...

You might have heard about Behrens; sixth-generation family-owned business. Launched in 1834, Sir Jacob Behrens grew Behrens into one of Britain’s largest textile manufacturers. In 1840, Behrens’ annual turnover was about £300K. By 1889 it reached £40 million – with branches all around the world, including London, Glasgow, Kolkata and Shanghai.

Behrens is one example of Manchester’s celebrated textile industry. Once known as Cottonpolis – for the role it played in the finished cotton trade – the city was naturally blessed through soft water for washing and bleaching, a coalfield to fire steam engines, salt for developing chemicals, and easy access to the west coast for importing raw materials and exporting the finished product.

Inspiring stuff for today’s Textiles students. Of who we ask only one thing, as was asked of your city ancestors: dare to be different.

That, and a real passion for sewing, and looking for ideas in all kinds of places.

We’ve worked with a wide range of influential artists, and exhibition spaces including Whitworth Art Gallery, Platt Hall Costume Museum, and Manchester Art Gallery. 

We’ll support you to secure a work placement in the city, and you might get the chance to have your work showcased through high-profile events and initiatives including the Runway On The Runway charity fashion project. 

Recent student trips have included the Knitting & Stitching Show, Clothes Show, and Alexander McQueen at The V&A. Oh, and we should probably mention we also head out to New York City.

It’s your passion that will drive lots of independent work. 

There’s a lot of ground to cover on this course. You’ll need to have plenty of energy and enthusiasm to stay the pace. We work fast, and dream big.

But the rewards are incredible. You’ll be developing a fantastic and extensive body of work that will draw admiring glances throughout your career.

Projects will be loosely-themed to give you lots of creative latitude to experiment and find the outer reaches of your imagination. 

You’ll cut your teeth on Abstract Art, Surface Pattern and Illustrative Textiles. Learn from some of the most creative minds in the city. And we’ll set you loose on the kind of machines you’ll use throughout your career as a textile designer.

We can’t wait to add your inspirational work to our Xavtextiles Pinterest account. Go check it out today for a taste of what you’ll be doing while here at Xaverian College.

LESSON TIME!

Embroidery plays a big part in your Textiles studies, and tutor Emma’s going to take you through the basics to create some eye-catching designs.

You’ll start the course with illustrative textiles – drawing with stitch.

Today we’ll be looking at how you can communicate a message through embroidery.

Think of an image you wish to embroider based on a theme or issue that inspires you – it could be anything, from festivals to flowers, body positivity to Black Lives Matter.

We’ll start off by drawing round a stencil on to fabric using a friction pen and some carbon paper.

Then we’ll stitch on top, getting that thread through the eye of needle – using a needle threader, something I for one didn’t know existed.

We’ll start embroidering using a running stitch to make a regular pattern, making sure the stitch and space between are the same size. And then we’ll use a back stitch to create a solid line.

This is a wonderful lesson giving you a sense of the course but also insights into the creative value of using a variety of embroidery techniques – including couching, and creating a two-tone effect by threading twice through the eye of a needle.

Finally we work with patterned fabrics and Bondaweb – double-sided iron-on adhesive to create dazzling embroidery.

If you can draw something on to fabric, stitch over it, get creative with threads and stitching, you can make a striking piece of work that sets your Textiles portfolio apart at interview for your job or higher education course.

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What’s next?

Accordion Content

Xaverian’s Textiles students have later assumed roles in:

  • Fashion design
  • Fashion textiles
  • Costume design
  • Digital textiles
  • Printed textiles
  • Domestic textiles (such as wallpaper)
  • Interior design
  • Constructed textiles
  • Art textiles

Textiles is an intensive A-level. As such it’s generally studied by those who are intently devoted to a degree and career associated with the subject.

Your next steps in higher education related to Textiles might be fashion design, marketing, promotion, styling or illustration.

If you ever need help, just ask for it, everyone is so supportive around college and will listen to any concerns you have.

Sonny Gibbons - Xaverian Graduate

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