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Sample machinist

Sample machinists produce samples of garments to show designers or customers how finished items will look.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £15,000 to £30,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements. Employers will expect you to have literacy and numeracy skills, be able to read instructions and understand measurements.

You'd usually have experience as a sewing machinist on a production line.

You could also learn some of the skills needed by doing a college course in fashion and textiles, or get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent hand and machine sewing skills
  • the ability to communicate ideas and offer suggestions for alterations
  • the ability to use your own initiative
  • the ability to meet deadlines under pressure

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • checking all pattern pieces are present to start a job
  • following fabric, colour and size instructions from the designer and pattern cutter
  • using a range of industrial machines like overlockers and binders
  • stitching sections together and adding labels to them
  • pressing the garment to give it a 'finished' appearance
  • advising the design team about the best way to construct the sample
  • discussing any 'tweaks' to the design instructions before the item goes into production

You might work on a number of different product lines or concentrate on a particular type, like sportswear.

You'll be expected to handle a range of woven and knitted fabrics, both natural and synthetic.

You might also:

  • carry out quality control checks during a production run
  • help other machinists during busy periods
  • work directly with customers who supply their own design details

4. Salary

Starter: £15,000 to £18,000

Experienced: £20,000 to £25,000

Highly Experienced: Up to £30,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work around 37 hours a week. You may need to do extra hours to meet deadlines.

Part-time and freelance home-working is sometimes available.

If you work on company premises, you'll usually be with the design team in an office, away from the main production area.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could progress to higher-level technical roles, like garment technologist or quality control technician.

You could also move into clothing design.

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Last updated: 09 October 2018