Tailors and dressmakers make and sometimes alter clothes to fit individual customers. Tailors mainly make jackets, suits, trousers, kilts and coats. Dressmakers make skirts, dresses, shirts and other outfits.
You could be:
measuring the client and discussing the choice of style and fabric
working out the cost of the garment
making a paper pattern using a stencil or computing software and laying it out
marking the fabric round the pattern and cutting out the pieces
tacking the pieces together, fitting the garment to the client and making any adjustments needed
sewing the garment by machine
hand finishing the garment (adding trimmings and fastenings)
pressing the garment
altering or repairing existing garments.
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 salaries are around £18,000 a year. With experience this can rise to around £22,000 a year. In haute couture (fashion houses producing exclusive designs for private clients), tailors' and dressmakers' salaries can exceed £50,000 a year.
You would work around 37 to 40 hours a week.
You would be based in a workshop, in a shop or work from home.
Conditions may be noisy.
You might have to travel to meet clients.
Part time work is available.
You would need to work quickly to meet deadlines.
You have to bend and kneel to measure and do fittings.
You spend long periods of time sitting or standing.
You do not need formal qualifications, but a good general education is useful.
Experience of sewing would be helpful.
You may be able to get in through a Modern Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles Heritage with the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT), or direct entry to a job with on the job training.
You might enter after taking a NQ or NC (SCQF Levels 4-6) in a subject such as fashion or fashion design and manufacture.
Although the vast majority of clothing is sold off-the-peg, there is a small but steady demand for bespoke tailoring (clothes made to measure for an individual client). Many employers specialise in areas such as traditional Asian wear, kilt outfits or bridal and evening wear.
You may be able to train on the job through the employer’s training scheme or through day release or evening classes.
You may complete SVQs in Fashion and Textiles Heritage including these 3 pathways - Leather Production and Manufacturing, Textiles/Technical Textiles and Textile Care Services at SCQF Level 5 if completing a Modern Apprenticeship.
You could complete SVQ Fashion and Textiles including these 3 pathways - Leather Manufacture, Textiles/Technical Textiles and Kilt Making at SCQF Level 6/7.
You may find work with a clothing manufacturing company, a fashion house or a shop. With experience you might move on to: self-employment, management or work in production or sales.