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Tailors design and make one-off suits, jackets and coats for individual customers. They also alter and repair clothes.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £14,000 to £22,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 35 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements.

You could take a college course in fashion and textiles, sewing machine skills or pattern cutting, but this isn't essential.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You can also do a pre-apprenticeship through the Savile Row Bespoke Association (SRBA).

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • excellent hand-sewing and machining skills
  • creativity and the ability to visualise designs
  • IT skills 
  • pattern making and cutting skills
  • accuracy and attention to detail
  • budgeting skills

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • taking customers' measurements
  • discussing styles and fabric
  • working out how much the clothing will cost and how long it will take to make
  • creating a design by hand or using computer software
  • creating a new pattern or adapting an existing one
  • making a mock-up garment using cheaper fabrics
  • fitting the mock-up to the customer and making alterations
  • cutting out fabric pieces to make the garment
  • fitting the garment to the customer and marking final adjustments
  • stitching clothes by hand or machine
  • carry out repairs and alterations to clothing

4. Salary

Starter: £14,000

Experienced: £15,000 to £18,000

Highly Experienced: £22,000

In bespoke shops like in Savile Row, London, salaries can be around £40,000.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work around 40 hours a week. You may need to work evenings and weekends.

You'll be in a sewing room, attached to a shop or small factory. You'll spend a lot of time doing close-up work.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could become a senior tailor or supervisor, or you could set up your own business.

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Last updated: 28 March 2017