Dressmakers design and adjust clothing such as dresses, coats and suits according to customer measurements and specifications. During scheduled appointments, customers try on the clothing, and dressmakers make measurements for alterations. Their job involves cutting and sewing using needles and thread or sewing machines.
Dressmakers might specialise in a specific clothing such as wedding dresses, or they might work for a designer to create garments from designs.
Duties and responsibilities
- Fit, study and measure garments on customers
- Cut, stitch and sew fabrics
- Use needles and thread and/or sewing machines
- Engage in pattern-making
- Mark or pin-fold alteration lines
- Shorten or lengthen garment parts
- Schedule appointments for customer fittings
- Create and adjust garments according to fashion designer’s requirements
- Attend fashion shows and visit other dress stores
Skills and knowledge
AVERAGE WORKING HOURS
Standard business hours
Dressmakers work indoors in design companies, dress shops, factories or in their own homes. Their job involves dealing with an array of customers who might have demanding needs. There are also strict deadlines for those who work with fashion designers.
Dressmakers use tools, such as needles and threads, and sewing machines to alter garments which might result in minor cuts and grazes. They are also exposed to noisy machinery and fabric dyes that irritate the eyes and skin. Some dressmakers suffer from eyestrain as they work on finer details which can take several hours.
Dressmakers sometimes travel to meet clients or attend fashion shows and visit shops.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
There are no formal entry requirements to become a dressmaker, although many individuals obtain a bachelor’s degree in fashion design. An ambitious dressmaker generally needs to have a high school diploma and the ability to demonstrate great sewing skills and thorough knowledge in dress design and construction.
There is also the option to take sewing and design classes in vocational and technical schools, which will be seen as an advantage by hiring managers. Previous experience in dress shops assisting in dressmaking is also beneficial for acquiring the role of dressmaker.
Dressmakers that work in shops can progress to work in more prestigious stores with higher pay, or they can even get hired by an established fashion designer.
With enough experience and qualifications, there is also the opportunity to open your own business or embark on a successful career in fashion design and merchandising.