A sewing machinist uses electronic or computerised sewing machines to stitch pieces of fabric together to make clothes, upholstery or other items. Fabrics can range from thin silk to industrial canvas or leather.
You could be:
making all or part of a garment or other fabric items such as curtains
following instructions for each sewing job
using a range of machine programs and machines, such as overlockers, hemmers and bar tackers, to carry out a range of tasks and produce different finishes
guiding the material through the machine, correcting any mistakes as you go
altering machine settings to suit the type of material and finish required
checking that a finished article matches the pattern instructions
oiling and cleaning your machine
working with designers and pattern cutters to make up samples of new styles for buyers.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary depending on:
where you work
the size of the company or organisation you work for
the demand for the job.
Starting pay is often based on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW).
As of 1 April 2023 the National Minimum Wage is £5.28 an hour for workers under 18, £7.49 an hour for workers aged 18 to 20 and £10.18 an hour for workers aged 21 to 22. The National Living Wage for those aged 23 and over is £10.42 an hour.
With experience hourly rates can rise to between £10.00 and £14.00 an hour, depending on area of specialism.
Some employers pay piece rates. This means that the more items you make, the more you earn. You may sometimes be able to earn bonuses. You may be able to work overtime at a higher rate.
You would work around 38-40 hours a week.
You usually work in a factory or workshop. You might also work from your own home.
You will spend most of the day sitting down.
The work can be repetitive.
Conditions can be noisy.
You will have to meet deadlines for orders.
You may have to work shifts and sometimes do overtime.