Megan Wakefield
College and Career Awareness, Family and Consumer Sciences Education
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Unit of Study
Middle School
CCA, FCS, Lesson Plan, Sewing, Sewing Machine, Texitles, Textile Design
Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike
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Fashion, Apparel & Textile Unit

Fashion, Apparel & Textile Unit


This is a 5 day lesson plan that will introduce students to the variety of careers in the fashion, apparel and textile industries.  Students will be introduced to the pathway and degrees available to them in Utah.  Students will be able to participate in different aspects of the industry by designing and creating a textile project. 


This unit will introduce students to the variety of careers in the fashion, apparel and textile industries.  Students will be introduced to the pathway and degrees available to them in Utah.  Students will be able to participate in different aspects of the industry by designing and creating a textile project. 

The full unit is formated for 5 face-to-face instruction days (approx. 70 minute class periods).

  • Day 1: Textile Designer
  • Day 2: Fabric Designing
  • Day 3: Machine Operation
  • Day 4: Practice Sewing
  • Day 5: Sewing Project

(Optional: If you do not have access to sewing machines this lesson could be shortened to 2 days where you focus more on the fashion and textile design careers and cut out the lessons about using the machine.) 

Background for Teachers

To teach this lesson, it would be helpful to know the basics of different careers in the fashion, apparel and textile industry. Here are also post Secondary Education Opportunities in the CTE Pathway in Utah:

To teach this lesson, you will also need an understanding of sewing machines and access to sewing machines in your classroom.  Although, if sewing machines are not available instead of making a pillow for the textile design project you can choose to do another project that doesn't require sewing.  For example, a premade tshirt, scarf, mask, dog bandana, etc.



Step 1 - Goals and Outcomes

Step 1 Goals and Outcomes

Learning Intentions:

  • Students will be learning about Fashion, Apparel & Textile careers including education and skills needed to be successful in the various career fields.
  • Students will be learning about how textile designers find inspiration for their surface designs to put together product lines.
  • Students will be learning about how to use the sewing machine, and basic sewing construction tecquniques to complete a project.

Success Criteria:

  • Students can identify requirements & skills needed for jobs in the Fashion, Apparel & Textile pathway (Career Detective)
  • Students can design and create a surface design by using processes similar to a textile designer. (Textile Design Assignment)
  • Students will be able to use the sewing machine to turn their textile design into a finished product. (Design Pillow)


Step 2 - Planning Instruction

Step 2 Planning Instruction

Student Background Knowledge

As this is an introductory and exploration course there is no prior knowledge a student must have to be able to be successful with this unit.

Strategies for Diverse Learners

Students may have prior experiene with the use of sewing machines that you can extend their learning by adding a project that requires a little more diffiulty in sewing.  These students can also be a great resources in helping students that need more one-on-one support by partnering up together to complete the projects.

Step 3 - Instruction

Step 3 Instruction

Day 1: Textile Design


  • Career Detective Handout 
  • Textile Designer Videos
  • Textile Design Handout 
    • Colored Pencils or Markers
    • Rulers, Shape Templates
  • Croquis handout - (Download Kids Template)
  • Couch handout
  • Google Slide

Instructional Procedures & Student Learning Activities:

  1. Career Detective: Fashion Designer
    (I use Career Detectives as a self starter for my class.  It is a way for students to be exposed to different careers that are in the cluster/pathways we are cover for that day)
    1. BLS Fashion Designer Video
    2. Talk about Salt Lake Community College Fashion Program:
      • This program prepares students for careers in fashion design, fashion merchandising, costuming, technical apparel design and custom dressmaking. Students will explore the world of fashion through fashion sketching, creative design, computer applications, draping, pattern drafting, and more. Associate of Applied Science Degree is Fashion Design & Merchandising  (2 year degree). Emphases:  Fashion Design, Fashion Merchandising, Technical Apparel.
    3. J.J. Collier
      • Pro-snowboarder buys a sewing machine with the dream of becoming a designer … and succeeds beyond his wildest dreams.
      • Worked for Salomon, Ralph Lauren (RLX), Spyder, VF Corp, Collier Brand 
    4. Tomasso Cardullo
      • Local Italian designer who opened a shop in Holladay, Utah
  2. Textile Designers - Show videos of different textile designers.
  3. Create A Design
    • Students create their own fabric design by first drawing the design in a square block on white paper
    • Students need to decide if they are going to be designing for Interior Design or Fashion.  They also need to think about their style and colors.
  4. Design Application (optional if time)
    • After completing their square design block they will choose to apply their design to a croquis or couch.

Day 2: Fabric Design


  • 9”x13” White Cotton Fabric (Broadcloth or Muslin works) - one for each student
  • Colored Sharpies
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (16-32oz per class)
  • Flat art paint brushes
  • Small plastic cups for isopropyl alcohol
  • Paper Towels for clean up (optional)
  • Table covering (newspaper, craft paper, contractor plastic, etc)

Instructional Procedures & Student Learning Activities:

  1. Career Detective: Costume Designer
  2. Fabric Designing
    1. Set up: Need to cover tables so sharpie doesn’t bleed through, cups of isopropyl alcohol (only need a small amount), paint brushes, sharpies, paper towels available for accidental spills
    2. Demo to students how adding the alcohol works with the paint brush. 
      1. ​​​​​​​First draw with sharpie, in the same setting you want to add the isopropyl alcohol to the design.  If you wait to add it, the design will not spread as much.
      2. Incorage students to practice on a scrap piece of fabric so they don't ruin their design. 
    3. Students design can be a copy from their original design from preiovous day or can be related to their original design.
    4. Have place designated for fabric to dry (especially if they use a lot of isopropyl alcohol on their deisgn).

Day 3: Machine Operation


  • Machine Part Handout​​​​​​​
  • Top Spool of Thread & Full Bobbin
  • Sewing Machines
  • Scissors

Instructional Procedures & Student Learning Activities:

  1. Career Detective: Textile Chemist
    • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Bob Gore - Gore Tex (Article)
  2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Machine Parts - Handout
    • If class is taught in a sewing classroom, I let students pull out machines and go through all the machine parts as we talk about them.  Letting them turn the hand wheel and see what moves, practice lifting and lowering the presser foot, and letting them push on the foot pedal to get comfortable with the speed of the machine before we actually have thread and fabric in the machine.
    • ​​​Go over parts of machines and expectations.
      • Presser Foot Down when sewing
      • Hand Wheel - Turn towards you
      • Thread Take Up Lever - at top when beginning to sew & threading
      • Foot Pedal - “School Zone” speed
  3. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Threading the Sewing Machine
    • ​​​​​​​Teach Students how to thread their machines (video)
    • If short on time/days to do this unit I sometimes will cut out teaching the students how to thread their machines.  Instead, I skip right to practice sewing and spend the remainder of the class practicing so we are ready to sew pillows the next class period we meet.

Day 4: Practice Sewing


  • Sewing Practice
    • ​​​​​​​13”x5” Fabric (folded in half) with circle (2.5), square (2x2) and line drawn, thread, bobbin & scissors
    • Optional: Paper Practice Handout

Instructional Procedures & Student Learning Activities:

  1. Career Detective: Industrial Designer
  2. Utah State University Outdoor Product Design & Development
    1. ​​​​​​​Video
    2. Emphases:
      1. ​​​​​​​Design
      2. Development
      3. Product Line Management
    3. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Highlander Podcast - Great Information Resource
  3. ​​​​​​​Practice using the Sewing Machine
    1. ​​​​​​​Option 1 - Sewing Sample (have machine already threaded to provide more instruction time)
      1. ​​​​​​​Demo Straight Line
        1. ​​​​​​​Explain how it’s important to sew with the presser foot down
        2. Show how to Backstitch at the beginning and end of stitching
        3. Show how to move the fabric to get back on track
      2. Demo Square & Circle
        1. ​​​​​​​Demonstrate how to Pivot (Discuss what it means to pivot in Basketball, compare to needing to pivot in sewing)
        2. Starting in the middle (easier to line up and turn when it’s not on the corner)
        3. Circle - slow and steady - if short on time skip circle or only use for fast finishers
      3. ​​​​​​​Demo ¼”
        1. ​​​​​​​Explain how you can know when to pivot using the presser foot
        2. ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Demo ⅝” around fabric
          1. ​​​​​​​Explain how you can know when to pivot using the needle stitch plate
    2. ​​​​​​​Option 2 - Paper Practice​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
      1. ​​​​​​​Students can practice sewing without thread getting comfortable with using the foot pedal, lifting and lowing the presser foot, pivoting using the hand wheel.
      2. If choosing to only do the paper practice you will have time to get an early start on the pillow.

Day 5: Sewing Project


  • Colored 9”x13” broadcloth fabric - 1 per student
  • Students Designed Fabric
  • Straight Pins
  • Thread & Bobbin
  • Scissors
  • Point Turner (optional)
  • Iron & Ironing Board
  • Poly-fil (approximately 1.3 oz per student)
  • Hand Sewing Needles
  • Pillow Rubric

Instructional Procedures & Student Learning Activities:

  1. Career Detective: Fabric and Apparel Patternmaker
  2. Sew Pillows
    1. ​​​​​​​Students pick up fabric & pin cushion, Demo pinning pieces together and marking
    2. Thread Machines (Either have them threaded to save time or have students thread
    3. Demo how to sew, clip, turn, iron, and stuff
    4. Give students time to work
    5. Demo how to hand stitch after stuffing
  3. ​​​​​​​Grade using Rubric
    1. ​​​​​​​If students don’t finish in time, I usually have an assignment the next class that they can be working on and I can go around to finish handstitching and grading.


Step 4 - Assessments

Step 4 Assessments

Textile Design Assignment is assessed on professionalism (is it neat, clean lines, colored/designed well) and effort.

To assess threading, I have students do threading races with their rows.  When completed I check to make sure they have their thread going the correct direction in the bobbin case and in the thread take up lever.

Practice Sewing is not graded but used as a formative assessment in preparation for their final pillow project

When the pillow is competed, students self-assess their completed project then bring to the teacher for a final assessment using the provided rubric.