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Fashion Knitwear Summer School

  • Level(s) of Study: Short course
  • Course Fee:


  • Start Date(s): Dates for summer 2024 coming soon
  • Duration: Monday to Friday 10 am - 4 pm, three weeks
  • Study Mode(s): Short course
  • Campus: City Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information


This practical course combines the two interconnected disciplines of fashion and textiles through the medium of knitted fabric design.

It will start with design and trend research, followed by technical workshops on the industrial knitting machines to create knit samples, and will finish with garment construction.

By the end of three weeks, you’ll have a portfolio of work and a finished, accomplished and wearable piece of knitted fashion.

  • Nottingham Trent University has one of the most famous fashion and knitwear departments of all UK universities, with a team of expert tutors and specialist technicians that work with students and industry on innovative and creative projects.
  • You'll experience industry-level resources, explore design processes, extend your portfolio and create some amazing new work.
  • And all this takes place in the centre of Nottingham, a city that’s famous for its textile and fashion heritage.
  • This course is ideal for a range of people, especially students who have completed at least one year of an undergraduate course in fashion or textiles, fashion or textile professionals looking for inspiration, teachers and technicians looking for ways to engage with knit design and technology.

Here's what our previous attendees have said:

"The fashion knitwear summer school has quite simply changed my life. The course gave me so much confidence and provided everything I needed to design and make a garment from start to finish. Jane and the staff at NTU were so welcoming, their skills and expertise made everything look so easy and they were always on hand for questions and guidance" - Louisa Crompton, 2022

"As a total beginner the course gave me the chance to learn so much about the knitwear industry. It was the exact course I needed to help me make a decision about studying knitwear design back home in Belgium" - Billie Vermandere, 2022

What you’ll study

During the course, you’ll learn about and experiment with:

  • knitted fabric design - specialising in the industrial Dubied machine
  • fashion knitwear trend research
  • yarn and material awareness
  • knitted garment construction techniques
  • the toiling process
  • digital knit workshops.

You’ll also see the future of smart knitted textile technology.

The projects will enhance your knowledge of garment specification and terminology, enabling you to understand the potential in taking a piece from concept to manufacture.

Aims and Objectives of week 1

To deepen your knowledge, build your skills base and develop your initial fabrics on hand flat knitting machines.

First CAD session, focusing on methods of information gathering relating to research and context, and the documentation of technical processes. Sketchbook and design development begins.

Design tutorials held during the week, providing you with informal critical feedback. Introduction to pattern cutting and garment make up.

Day 1

  • Introduction to course and opportunity to meet staff and fellow attendees
  • University resources tour
  • Presentation and discussion of set brief
  • Opportunity to view sketchbooks and portfolios of recent Knitwear graduate leavers from NTU
  • Self-directed study and sketchbook development

Day 2

Hand flat machine knitting

Intensive day of demonstration, instruction and guided exploration of the machine knit process using domestic machines, covering basic techniques.

Day 3

Gathering, organising and presenting research information

CAD Information gathering

CAD Development of mood board.

Day 4

Hand flat machine knitting

Intensive day of demonstration, instruction and guided exploration of the machine knit process using domestic machines, covering basic techniques.

Day 5

Pattern cutting and garment make up

Intensive day of demonstration and guided exploration covering the basic methods of garment construction. Development of personal garment block.

Aims and Objectives of week 2

To build your skill base, and continue to develop knitted fabric swatches, selecting appropriate techniques which identify links between contextual research and own sketchbook development. Through CAD, develop garment flats and illustrative skills directly linked to knitwear and knitted fabrics. Factory visit. Design tutorials will be held during the week, providing you with informal critical feedback.

Day 1

Power knit

An insight into computer aided knitted fabrics. Lecture, demonstration and development of own fabric design.

Day 2

Hand flat machine knitting

Knitting trials and experiments of individual design ideas Invite to attend Master’s Degree Fashion and Textiles Private View.

Day 3

CAD for design communication Garment ‘flats’.

Developing the skills to communicate your final outcome (i.e. garment flats and specification sheets).

Day 4

Hand flat machine knitting

Knitting trials and experiments of individual design ideas

Day 5

  • Factory visits (morning) Studio (afternoon) Visit to John Smedley head office.
  • Personal research and development.
  • Knitting up of final garment.

Aims and objectives of week 3.

  • To use the structures developed from your knitted swatches (from weeks 1 and 2),
  • knit and construct your final designed garment.
  • Complete your portfolio sheets, outlining illustrations of final garment using CAD.
  • Finalise your technical files, using specific technical terminology.
  • Two design tutorials will take place, providing you with informal critical feedback.

Day 1

Fabric manufacture Knitting of final garment.

Day 2

Garment assembly Garment development. Garment construction.

Day 3

CAD for portfolio design CAD. Developing a series of portfolio sheets. CAD. Developing a series of portfolio sheets.

Day 4

Garment assembly Garment development. Garment construction. End of course social event.

Day 5

Project presentation Completion of project. Presentation and farewell celebration.

Further information on what you'll study

By the end of the course you’ll have:

  • the expertise to produce samples and swatches on the Dubied knitting machine that you can develop in the future
  • the creative and technical ability to design, knit and construct a basic yet accomplished garment
  • innovative, contemporary work for your portfolio
  • a new network of knit practitioners.

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How you’re taught

Learning will take place during scheduled workshops including technical knit and garment make up sessions, sketchbook and research investigation, and portfolio development.

You’ll be encouraged to use the University's extensive library resources and visit galleries or museums to help generate your own personal concepts.

Supporting your studio work, and to help put your skills and knowledge into a historical and global context, there’ll be a visit to a famous knitwear manufacturer (subject to availability) during the course.

Tutor profile:

Jane Thomson is an accomplished knitwear designer and co-founder of Acorn Conceptual Textiles.

She has over 25 years’ of experience in knitwear design and fabric development for the interior and fashion knitwear market.

Jane is highly skilled in the use of industrial and domestic machines, competent in both hand knit and crochet, and has worked with clients including Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Burberry, Abercrombie and Fitch and French Connection.

A dedicated knitwear designer, lecturer and mentor, Jane teaches on both the BA Fashion Knitwear and Knitted Textiles, BA Textile Design and MA Fashion Knitwear design courses at NTU.

With her vast and varied experience in the knitwear industry, she’s been able to identify and develop creative talent in those she’s employed and lectured, helping them discover their potential.

Jane will be joined by CAD and garment make up specialists during the course.

Campus and facilities

You will be based in the Bonington building at the City Campus, our dedicated art and design hub.

You will have access to an excellent range of facilities and equipment in the knitwear studio, with knitwear hand flat workshops and dubied / domestic machines, and industrial flatbed hand knitting machines.

There are also knitwear make-up workshops, with circular machines, linkers, overlockers, lockstitch machines, and button hole machines and fully-fashioned Shima and Stoll v-bed digital machines.

You’ll also have access to our library to use outside of your short course; whilst you can’t reserve or take away books, you are welcome to use them as a resource for research and referencing.

Entry requirements

Entry requirement: You should have a background or interest in fashion or textile design. Knit experience is not required.

Entry requirement: You should have a background or interest in fashion or textile design. Knit experience is not required.

Fees and funding

The fee for this course is £1,890.

Payment is due at the time of booking.

You can read the terms and conditions of booking here.

Secure your place with a deposit

If you're booking more than two months before the course starts, we can accept a £200 deposit to secure your place, and the balance is due one month before the course starts.

Ask us if you'd prefer for an invoice to be sent to your company.

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, trips and most materials and includes great benefits such as the use of our modern library.

You will need to bring with you:

  • your everyday art box contents including pens, pencils, paints etc.
  • choose a sketchbook that suits your style of working – A4/A3 allows you to have some freedom yet isn’t so large that it becomes intimidating to use
  • a project brief and further details will be sent to you separately, prior to the course starting.

How to apply

***New dates for summer 2024 coming soon***

Browse all our fashion, textiles and costume short courses.

Any questions?

Contact the short course team:


Tel: +44 (0)115 848 2813