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Stage 3 Diploma

During this stage students will develop their practical skills, gaining knowledge and experience in the manipulation of a variety of materials and processes, within the context of a series of individual set projects. 


Students will acquire an understanding of the history of upholstered furniture and the development of techniques and materials used. 


Students should be encouraged to develop, where appropriate, their own creative responses to the assessment projects.


The students will receive workshop inductions, practical demonstrations and teaching in the use and application of core materials and techniques, both modern and traditional, including instruction on:


  • Health & Safety: when working with tools and equipment in a workshop environment

  • Understanding of Industrial and Domestic sewing machines

  • Frame repair and polishing including fitting castors: costs and time required to undertake repairs

  • Appropriate use of Fillings & Sundry Materials

  • Types of springs and suspension systems: coil, serpentine, tension springs, sprung units, pocket springs, rubber & elastic webbings etc.

  • Appropriate use of foams and rubberized hair sheets and various pre-formed profiles

  • Appropriate use of techniques and processes including Knots, Blind, Top and Slipstitching

  • Cutting, Pattern Matching and Finishing of Fabrics

  • Tailoring, including the fitting of caps and collars

  • Basic Design Skills: sketching, colour co-ordination and scale drawing

  • An understanding of the UK’s Furniture & Furnishings (Fire)(Safety) Regulations 1988 relating to domestic furniture and furnishings

  • Fabric Classifications – Martindale abrasion test

  • Estimating & Costing Materials and Labour

  • Working to a deadline including timing records

  • Business Studies:

    • Requirements of self-employment

    • H&S whilst working from home or a workshop

    • Legal & Safety requirements

    • Terms & Conditions

    • Insurances

    • PR & Marketing including social media

    • Resources

  • Evaluation Methods

Highlighted pieces will be assessed as part of the final mark/grade


  • Substantial Traditional Armchair of advanced techniques, which should include at least two of the following elements: the fitting of caps and collars, scroll arms or stitched-up edges to arms, sprung arms, coil sprung seats, independent sprung edges, deep buttoning, fluting, cushions or an iron framed chair.

  • Modern Chair with a concave inside back and seat cushion incorporating tailored fitting and top stitching i.e. shell frame

  • Portfolio containing notes and details of work in progress

  • Written Research Project

  • History of Upholstered Furniture – a timeline and overview of the styles of upholstered furniture and the development of upholstery techniques and materials used

  • ​or

  • 20th Century Furniture Design – an overview of the styles, periods and iconic designers of the 20th Century.

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