Dressmaker Seamstress, seamster
Dressmakers create made-to-measure clothing like dresses, trousers and blouses for their customers.
1. Entry requirements
There are no set requirements but you’ll need experience and the skills employers and clients want. Some dressmakers are self-taught.
You could take a college course to gain the skills you'll need to do this job.
Creative Skills has more information on starting a career in fashion and textiles.
2. Skills required
- excellent practical skills
- to be able to imagine how designs will look and lay out pattern pieces
- an eye for detail and good eyesight
- a tactful approach with customers
- accuracy when taking measurements and making calculations
- colour-normal vision for matching threads and fabrics
3. What you'll do
Your day-to-day duties may include:
- discussing the client’s needs
- giving the client advice on fabrics and patterns
- taking measurements
- changing an existing pattern, or creating a new pattern for the client
- costing the work
- using the pattern to cut out the fabric pieces
- tacking the fabric pieces together for a fitting
- making samples or ‘toiles’
- using a sewing machine or sewing by hand
- fitting the garment and making adjustments to create a perfect fit
- keeping your accounts, if self-employed
Starter: £13,500 to £16,000
Experienced: £18,000 to £22,000
If you’re self-employed you’ll set your own rates.
These figures are a guide.
5. Working hours, patterns and environmentYou’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, including Saturdays.
You’ll normally be based in a workshop or work from home. You may also spend some time visiting clients.
If self-employed, you’ll choose your own hours, depending on the amount of work and the deadlines you have.
6. Career path and progressionWith experience you could take on a supervisory role, move into a related career like fashion or textile buying, or become self-employed.
You could also work in costume production for theatre, TV and film.
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Last updated: 14 December 2016