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Costume Welcome Guide

Preparing for your course

We're delighted that you've chosen to join our creative community at Arts University Bournemouth. We can't wait to see what you'll create.

Welcome to BA (Hons) Costume

This welcome pack is designed to give you an idea of what to expect during the first weeks of your course. Please take the time to read it carefully and take particular note of the pre-course preparation. We hope that you will enjoy a happy and productive time with us, and we look forward to meeting you in October.

A message from your Course Leader

Congratulations on achieving your place on BA (Hons) Costume at AUB!

We look forward to welcoming you to AUB at induction week, when you'll have the opportunity to meet staff and current students, find your way around the University, discover Bournemouth and learn more about studying at AUB. The course is delivered over 30 weeks, with a Christmas and Easter break, and one consolidation week.

You can find information below about what the course provides for you and what you need to bring.

- Sarah Magill, Course Leader

Before you join us

There is no summer project as such, but we recommend practising drawing and sewing, reading around your subject, watching live and online productions and films, and visiting exhibitions and art galleries.

The Library at AUB is extremely well resourced and includes all key texts that you'll need. The books listed below (digital and hard copy versions are available in the AUB Library) are suggested to get you started; you might like to borrow a copy from your local library to read before you arrive. You'll receive a comprehensive reading list in the Course Handbook when you enrol and at the start of each unit of study.

  • Arnold, J. (1977) Patterns of Fashion 1: Englishwomen’s Dresses and their Construction c1660-1860. London: Macmillan.
  • Arnold, J. (1972) Patterns of Fashion 2: Englishwomen’s Dresses and their Construction c1860-1940. London: Macmillan.
  • Barrington, M. (2016) Stays and Corsets: Historical Patterns Translated for the Modern Body. New York: Focal Press.
  • Edwards, L. (2020) How to Read a Suit: A Guide to Changing Men's Fashion from the 17th to the 20th Century. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Edwards, L. (2021) How to Read a Dress: A Guide to Changing Fashion from the 16th to the 21st Century. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Kim A., and Mida, I.E. (2015) The Dress Detective. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Pride, R. (2018) The Costume Supervisor’s Toolkit: supervising theatre costume production from first meeting to final performance. New York: Routledge.
  • Magill, S. (2017) Making Vintage 1940s Clothes for Women. Marlborough: The Crowood Press.
  • Pride, R. (2018) The Costume Supervisor’s Toolkit: supervising theatre costume production from first meeting to final performance. New York: Routledge.
  • Waugh, N. (1964) The Cut of Men’s Clothes 1600-1900. London: Faber.
  • Waugh, N. (1968) The Cut of Women’s Clothes 1600-1930. London: Faber.

We also recommend you read a journal article from Costume, The Journal of Dress History or Studies in Costume and Performance. This will help you begin to understand costume within an historical, social and cultural context.

Current student work

Have a look through some of the work our current students are producing to get an idea of the type of work you may be making on our course.

If you watch one thing before you arrive, we recommend...

"Abstract: The Art of Design" on Netflix

Episodes on Ruth Carter and Es Devlin

Watch now

Course equipment

The course provides all new first-year students with a free induction kit. Please note the exact items included may vary.


  • Bobbin and bobbin case for industrial sewing machine
  • Thread
  • Pins
  • Hand sewing needles
  • Chalk
  • Tape measure
  • Calico
  • Tracing wheel
  • Propelling pencil
  • Masking tape

You'll need to purchase additional specialist items and we've included a list of specialist suppliers below. Additional items, not included in the free induction kit, but are required:



  • Fabric scissors/Tailor’s shears
  • Small embroidery/needlework scissors
  • Paper scissors
  • Thimbles
  • Pack of safety pins in different sizes


  • Pinking Shears
  • L-Square/ pattern master (although these can be loaned from the course)
  • French Curve (although these can be loaned from the course)

Recommended suppliers:

General Additional Equipment

  • A small work box to store your items - you'll need to carry this kit to and from campus as there is limited storage space in the studios
  • Old clothes/overall/apron (for Dye Room work)
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Basic Domestic Sewing machine for continuing your work at home
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Laptop (we recommend a Mac, but if you already have a PC this is also compatible. Laptops are available to hire for short periods from the library). The Adobe suite including Photoshop and Illustrator will be provided by the AUB for free.
  • Digital camera/ phone to record your learning journey

What to bring on your first day

On your first day, you will just need to bring a notebook and pen/ phone for taking notes. We provide all new first year students with a free induction kit for the first unit of study. A rough guide to unit costs can be found below so that you can budget for the academic year.

Autumn Level 4

Core Skills: approximately £30

Spring Level 4

Design and Making: approximately £100

Summer Level 4

Costume Workshop: approximately £70

Autumn Level 5

Historical Costume: approximately £200

Spring Level 5

Tailoring: approximately £180

Summer Level 5

Experimental Costume: approximately £100

Level 6 units

There is always a broad selection of projects available for you to work on, which varies from year to year. AUB Productions, AUB Dance productions, external museum commissions and external performance collaborations are paid for, whereas a personal project will need to be funded by you. This might range from a collection of period underwear costing £500 to a full historical costume costing £1,500.

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We’re delighted for you to join us at AUB – we can’t wait to see what you’ll create.

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Next Steps

Find out the useful dates and contact before you start here

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