Frequently Asked Questions

Find below the most frequently asked questions regarding our courses. Click on a question to display the answer, but if you can’t find the question you have then please do not hesitate to contact us.

How do I enrol?

Firstly go to the course you wish to enrol for on our website and then select the payment option which suits you best and click the "buy now" button at the side of it, having first ensured you have read the terms and conditions of the course and are happy to confirm this. We can accept payment by cheque or BACS too, but you would need to contact us first to arrange this. The enrolment process supplies us with your personal and payment and information relating to how receive your modules and submit your work.

How soon will I be able to start my course?

Our Getting Started courses are delivered to you via a dedicated website immediately after purchase so you can start these straight away. C&G certificated courses will usually be ready to start within a few days - once your payment has been processed and course materials will be forwarded to you via our file transfer service. If you choose to pay by cheque or BACS then this takes a little longer - 10 days to allow for clearance. You can start your course at any time - there are no set terms or enrolment dates. The Certificate and Diploma C&G courses have an initial registration which lasts for 3 years which can be renewed (2.5 years is the average time taken to complete) up until a maximum 5 years from enrolment date, so that work remains current. Level 2 has a maximum 3 year completion time. Other courses vary - relevant information can be found on the individual course details.

Do I ever have to attend the school in person?

No - there is no reason for you to ever visit the school to obtain your qualification.

Will I get a course certificate?

Yes - every student who completes their course gets a course certificate, issued by the relevant awarding body such as City & Guilds of London, or in the case of Getting Started or Masters Courses, a School of Stitched Textiles Certificate.

What will the course materials look like?

We produce all our own course materials and also train our tutors in teaching at a distance so you get the best possible support. If you'd like to look at a sample of our course materials, please do contact us and we'll be happy to let you have an excerpt.

Will I always be able to access help throughout the course when and if I need it?

Yes - tutors are very happy that they should be contacted if you need help with your course, but we do ask that you drop us an email to arrange this first so that your tutor is able to review your work to date and look up any queries you may have prior to speaking with you. Obviously, there are times when they will be teaching elsewhere or on holiday, but in general we aim to return feedback in less than 10 days. Your tutor will be in touch a week or so after you commence your course to introduce themselves.

Could this qualification lead on to other things?

Absolutely. There are lots of exciting career possibilities such as teaching in further and adult education, designing, authoring of books/courses, working to commission, work in theatre, film or TV, depending on the level and subject you're studying. We're happy to give you further advice so please do drop us a line. You may also like to look at our publication featuring the stories of several of our recent graduates HERE.

Am I entering into a long-term agreement to continue with the course and its fees?

No - you are not obliged to continue with your course or with paying the course fees if you decide you don’t wish to continue after your initial order of modules. We know that some students prefer to pay in full, as they find it motivates them to finish, and in this case you receive a substantial discount for paying the full fees up front. However you can also choose to pay for smaller numbers of modules to spread the cost. It means that you save on postage, your work is instantly delivered to us and the environment benefits from less traffic pollution. A win, win situation we hope, but not for everybody, which is why we still offer the traditional means as well. For beginner courses, you can upload the six individual pictures required directly to SST without using the 'dropbox' service.

What is an online course and how does it work?

You receive your course materials via email or internet download and compile and send a digital presentation of your work back to us via a dedicated file transfer service. This allows large files to be sent online, instead of having printed modules delivered and sending work to us via post. It means that you save on postage, your work is instantly delivered to us and the environment benefits from less traffic pollution. A win, win situation. For Get Started courses, you will be asked to submit individual photos of your work as you progress through your course. For City & Guilds and Masters courses you will submit your fully completed coursework to us at the end of each module and when you complete your course highlights will be made into a video and shown on our video channel for you to share with friends and family.

What are the advantages of studying online rather than via traditional post?

The main advantages are speed and cost; your tutor can receive your work and do feedback much more rapidly, as there is no waiting for parcels to be shipped back and forward (with the ever present danger that they could go amiss in transit) and all that postage is expensive, so we estimate that there is a saving to the student of around £300 in postage alone by studying online. Online course students do have some extra expense at home if they wish to print off modules etc, but this is more than compensated for by not having to pay postage and packing costs when submitting work. We are very conscious that travelling of samples and paperwork is very harmful to the environment we live in, and with your help, are trying our best to cut down on this wherever possible. Online courses cut down by almost 75% the carbon footprint left by other forms of distance learning, although it is worthwhile stressing that distance learning itself is very environmentally friendly when compared with travel to traditional on-site classes.

What happens if I can't face studying online or don’t have a pc?

We are still able to make special arrangements for students who just don’t ‘do’ online, however we have had to reluctantly increase the fees for this method of study by 20% as there are substantial extra costs associated with traditional postal methods of study, both for SST and for students. If this sounds like you please do drop us a line and we will still gladly fix this up for you. The extra costs are because course materials have to be printed and dispatched, whilst parcels sent in to us have to be acknowledged, unwrapped, sorted through, re-dispatched and paperwork completed. Someone from SST also has to be dispatched to queue in the post office to instigate the return journey. The completed work has to travel back to us one last time to be reviewed by our Quality Consultant in June each year - which can be expensive in postal charges. We are also subject to internal and external verifications to continuously monitor that high standards are maintained - and work may occasionally have to be recalled for this to happen, which again requires extra postage.

Will I need specific equipment or skills; for example computer, printer, sewing machine etc?

For the longer City & Guilds courses you will need a sewing machine, but unless the course specifies it (e.g. Getting Started with Machine Embroidery) you won’t for the shorter ones. The same is true of computers. Internet and IT skills are required when studying online courses, but only to a basic level as tuition is given in putting together a digital portfolio etc. You will need access to a digital camera to record your progress, and access to the internet to upload your images. If you are uncertain about studying online - you can request a brochure and login to check out our online course system to see if you feel comfortable with it. It is just a case of entering your email and uploading your files to us - nothing too complex! Otherwise a computer is simply a useful way of printing labels, recording things, etc. If you have any questions please contact us.

How much will the materials I use cost?

Students often ask us how much their sewing and design materials will cost. In fact it is up to students how much they choose to spend, as samples and completed pieces will vary from student to student, so the materials required to make them will also vary. Costs can be kept to a minimum by using what you already have at home and shopping frugally in discount stores and charity shops for other items. However some students love this excuse to go shopping for all new items. So this aspect can be as frugal or expensive as you wish - it’s up to you.

How do you assess my work online?

We need good quality photographs of your work, which we can enlarge and examine in detail. Information about what is required will be covered as soon as you enrol. However, there can always be the odd time when we can’t see something. In this case we may ask you to re-shoot the photographs, or as a last resort - send in the piece of work. This is a very rare scenario and standards are never compromised.

Can I contact others who are studying at the same time to help motivate me?

Yes - we have an active Facebook page and regular newsletters along with blogs and study buddy listings. If this is a really important feature of a course for you, and you love the idea of having others to bounce your ideas off and chat to - we strongly suggest that you consider the online course method. It is much quicker and easier to keep in touch this way.

What happens if a group of us wish to enrol?

We have lots of enquiries from students who are members of groups and would like to enrol and study together. In this situation, where three or more students enrol and pay together to do the same course, we make a 15% discount on their course fees. Please contact us for further details if this may be of interest to you.