Dressmaker Seamstress, seamster
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Dressmakers create made-to-measure clothing like dresses, trousers and blouses for their customers.
1. Entry requirements
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 sewing skills
- to be able to imagine how designs will look and lay out pattern pieces
- an eye for detail
- a tactful approach with customers
- accuracy when taking measurements and making calculations
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: 11 September 2018