Costume Design Degree: My Experience

I was at Benicassim festival 2017 on the day of my graduation!

Its a very difficult thing to try and recall 4 years of you life and put it into a single blog post. But il give it a go..

I graduated from the University of Huddersfield with a 2:1 in a BA Hons in Costume Design with Textiles. I graduated in July and im now moved in with my boyfriend (who i met at uni) and have a job as a garment/pattern tech. So some would say uni was worth it. Id say different.

Its a bit hard to come out of university in the UK at this time and not feel like you've been conned into a lifetime of debt for absolutely no reason. This isn't a depressing post, the last four years have been amazing and Im very happy where I am now. But i want to make it extremely clear that you do not need uni to be successful.  Many people, especially from my generation are showing that education is not just taught through school/college/uni anymore. There are a thousand ways to learn and to make a career these days. So don't just go to uni because you feel like your being forced into it! Thats what happen to me.

So heres a list of what i learnt at university!

  • Everyone studying art and design courses seem to have to eat, sleep and breath uni!
Seriously! No disrespect to other courses but, at huddersfield at least, we had dissertations alongside final major projects. Even 1st years spend 4 full days a week in uni AND have to work at home. My course leaders literally looked down on people who had to work or who chose to join clubs. It was so difficult that I spent placement year just working and saving so I didn't have to work at all in final year!

  • Design, Construction and Textiles is basically 3 degrees in one. Expect tears.

The course at Huddersfield teaches these three aspects alongside each other, combining them in second and final year to create a costume. Again, you have no time to think about anything else. Also as a side note you cannot chose for one area to weigh more in final grades, for example if you are best at design and terrible at textiles, you don't have the option for one to mean more to your grade.  They are all equally weighted.

  • University is expensive.
Sketchbooks, mount boards, markers, pencils, paints, fabrics, threads, pattern tools, final fabrics, printing costs. Again this might be specific to art and design degrees. Because my boyfriend spent very little on his course. Literally everything adds up. I worked my whole placement year and saved to afford my final year costumes. Some final years on my course have been known to spend 2 grand on one costume.

  • Be friends with the technicians 
They will teach you more than any tutor. They will also be there for you after really bad crits  or really good crits to give you advice and help to move forward. Also if your pals with them they may also share some supplies with you (ahem free fabric or interfacing ahem).

  • You learn more about yourself from 18 into your 20s than ever before in your life

Its crazy. Honestly. Throw all this self-learning into having to think about uni 24/7 and its not easy.

  • You still have a lot to learn when you get a job.
One thing I am happy for is that there was so much ground covered in my course that there is so many areas of work I could now go into. You dont leave the course wanting to be a costume designer, even if that is how you went into it.

My second year costume (not something im particularly prod of)

My final year costumes! My last two posts have been on these costumes.
So its safe to say Im super happy uni is over, but i am grateful for the last four years! Onward and upward 😊💕

You can check out my tumblr if you want to see some of my work throughout the years. If you have any questions il answer them in the comments too!


  1. Hi Maria, I can't find an email address for you so I'm contacting you via comments! You've won tickets to The Great British Sewing Bee Live! Can you please email your address to me ( and I can get them sent out to you. Thanks, Jane x


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