Materials for your course

What materials do I need to get my hands on? Where can I get them and how much will it cost? These questions are commonly asked by students and in this post we will provide you with some tips to help you avoid unnecessary overspending.


Remember your student discount

Bring your British Academy of Fashion Design student card to Vibes and Scribes or add a comment to an online order (letting them know you are a student) and they will apply a 10% discount to items not on special offer. Wherever you buy materials, you should always ask if they have a student discount. Don't have a British Academy of Fashion Design student card yet? Just email us a recent headshot with your student number to [email protected] and we will post one out to you.


Basic list of materials needed to start your course (all students)

The list below is a breakdown of what you will need when starting the course and what you can expect to pay (note, prices may vary*). Your biggest investment is a sewing machine. Amazon sells sewing machines from £99 but make sure to shop around. This equipment can be found in most office supply outlets and fabric shops.

£6.99      A3 sketch book  

£7.99      Two scissors (one for fabric and one for paper)

£1.20      2H & 2B pencils (or a clutch pencil)

£8.50      Black pens with a variety of nib sizes (e.g. Fineliner 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, 0.7)

£4.95      Colouring pencils (e.g. Polychromos by Faber-Castell)

£0.50      Eraser

£99.00    Sewing machine (Classroom-based students will need to take their sewing machine to class for some sessions).

£2.10      Thread (120 gauge. Note: Gutermann thread is better quality but more expensive with a starting price of £2.49) 

£1.39      Measurement tape

£2.29      Box of pins

£1.76      Sewing needles

£3.60      Calico


As you progress through the course you may be required to pick up a few bits and pieces such as mounting boards and foam boards for presentations. You will also need fabric swatches for experimenting and fabrics for garment construction but, these will all depend on the nature of the design project that you work on. It is these types of materials that you will build on as you progress through your career. 


Additional materials for Diploma, PG Diploma, HNC and HND students

For students on the Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma, Higher National Certificate and Higher National Diploma courses, the items listed below are required. Note: Students on the Certificate course do not require any of the items listed below.

Keep in mind that most of the items mentioned here are one-off investments. For example, one of our tutors recently said that she still uses all of the original materials that she bought when she first began studying fashion design back in 1996. The prices listed below should be considered a guide only so please shop around for the best deals.

These items will be with you for many years and will be used and reused throughout the course and onwards into your fashion career. Eastman Staples sell polystyrene mannequins for approximately £129.


£129.00    Mannequin (polystyrene)

£17.50    Set square

£7.95      Long ruler

£23.00    Pattern Master

£9.00      Paper for pattern drafting (spot and cross pattern paper - Roll with 10 meters)


For those studying the Postgraduate Diploma, Higher National Certificate or Higher National Diploma, you will learn how to use Adobe Illustrator in our computer-aided design (CAD) unit. Note: Adobe Illustrator is not required until unit six of your course. Your tutor will discuss this with you in more detail before you start this unit.


To effectively participate in our online learning programs, it's essential for students to have access to a personal computer with high-speed internet connectivity. Students should also possess basic computer literacy skills including web browsing, email communication, document management (uploading/downloading), document creation and presentation skills. These skills are necessary for utilising our Online Learning Centre, where all course materials are accessed.

While these fundamental skills are a necessity, there is a dedicated support network on hand to guide students experiencing any technical difficulties. For example, students who opt for Live Online classes will be required to participate in lessons through a designated online meeting platform. But should students encounter any issues while navigating our website or accessing the Online Learning Centre, we encourage them to reach out to our Student Services team who will promptly escalate any difficulties for quick resolution. 


These prices are from Amazon and Eastman Staples (prices correct as of 26th May 2023).

The links included here are provided as a convenience and for informational purposes only. We bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of any external site or for any content on subsequent websites, nor does the inclusion of these links constitute our endorsement or an approval of any products, services or opinions stated.


Indy Williams
at 2023-07-08 21:23

hello Fashion Design Academy, i’m quite young but that won’t stop me from following my dream by attending your school in the future, i love designing clothes so much! people underestimate my skills and talent just because i’m so young. I think i can make a massive difference by helping people realise that they can follow their dreams and aspirations if they put effort in! I live in Wales so there isn’t a lot of opportunity’s for people like me. i hope you read my email, thank you so much -Indy Williams

at 2023-07-28 10:28

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at 2023-08-02 10:52

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Dreamzone Anna Nagar
at 2023-08-28 05:31

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Written by: Fiona Byrne

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