Quality Products: Practical Skills

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What makes a quality product?

A quality product is one that will do the job it is intended for and which has attention to detail on how it is made. This means it will be made in a technically correct way and look attractive. For products made at home or school, a good guide for quality is also whether it would be good enough for someone to buy it.

How do I get a high grade for my practical work in the exam?

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Exam boards are looking for a high quality product but they will also expect you to make a challenging product if you want to get a higher grade. You must therefore bear this in mind at the design stage to ensure you include sufficient challenge in your project. The table below summarises a range of textiles techniques and suggests what level of challenge they might be. Note the levels are a suggestion only, but you might find the table helpful in assessing how challenging your design is. Don’t forget that just including challenging techniques isn’t enough as they will also have to be executed to a high level. 


Click here to download the table.

Adapting or making a pattern

At GCSE you will need to adapt a commercial pattern in order to access the higher grades. You might also create your own patterns for simpler products such as bags and interior products. At A level your pattern adaptions should be quite complex and you might even consider creating your own patterns. 

Some ways you might adapt a commercial pattern include:

adapting a pattern
  • Changing the shape of something e.g. a neckline, hemline, trouser shape, skirt shape
  • Changing the size of something e.g. the length, adding pleats or gathers
  • Adding or removing something e.g. pockets, removing sleeves & adding binding to an armhole
  • Changing a technique e.g. changing a waistband for a facing, changing appliqué for an alternative decorative technique
  • Changing the appearance e.g. removing the fastenings from the centre front and adding a fastening to the back of the product

Ways of drafting your own pattern might include:

  • Tracing a pattern of a product that already exists
  • Modelling paper or fabric onto a tailor’s dummy
  • Using body measurements to draft a pattern from scratch
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Quality control

As you work you should carry out quality control checks to ensure your work is accurate and to identify any mistakes early on. Examples of quality control checks you might do:

  • Checking measurements e.g. against the original specification, against the original pattern, seam allowances, tolerance levels
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  • Correct choice of fabric, thread and technique in relation to the person, product, and its use 
  • Pressing each stage in making as you progress as this will give you a neater overall finish rather than just pressing when the garment is finished
  • Checking alignment markings e.g. notches on paper patterns
  • Checking stitch tension on machinery

Practice makes perfect!


Prototyping will help you achieve a better overall quality finish on a product. This is called a toile in the fashion industry. Prototyping enables you to perfect your execution of the technique. It also tests it in the fabric you will use and in many cases enables you to see a mock up version of what your product will look like. This enables you to test it and show it to a client before making any costly decisions. 

For more information on how to do a range of different textiles techniques

Contact:     Tel 01159 607061    Mob 07972 749240   Email julie@julieboyd.co.uk
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