What Is the Job Description of a Dressmaker?

Do you have an artistic, detail-oriented personality and an eye for fashion? If so, you might have the skills to work as a dressmaker. Jobs in dressmaking are not as abundant as they were in the past, but there are still options available if you wish to work in this field. Read on to learn more about the job responsibilities of a dressmaker. Schools offering Fashion Design degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As a dressmaker, you'll create dress designs using sketches or computer programs and then bring those visions to life by selecting fabrics and developing patterns. You'll need to know how to sew by hand and machine, as well as how to cut and assemble fabric pieces. Once you have the idea for a dress, you'll need to fit the garments to a client or alter the dress to make sure it matches a specific size. Other duties may include examining ready-made garments or fashion books to come up with new design ideas. You'll also need to know how to repair damaged garments.

If you're creating a custom design, you'll consult with a client to determine her needs. During the consultation, you may take the client's measurements and discuss the desired fit of the completed dress. You may have several consultations to adjust the fit and discuss the project's progress.

If you own a dressmaking store or boutique, you might have to manage and oversee a group of assistants. You might also need to negotiate with suppliers, order fabrics, and work on marketing your products to potential clients.

Important Facts About Dressmakers

Required Education Post-secondary non-degree or associate's degree
On-the-Job Training One to two years
Key Skills Finger dexterity, time management, critical thinking, social awareness, creativity and execution
Similar Occupations Hand sewers, jewelers, barbers, gem and diamond workers

Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), dressmakers, tailors, and sewers were expected to see a decline of ten percent in employment from 2016-2026 (www.bls.gov). These lower job numbers were forecast due to technological advances that could reduce the need for garment workers, in addition to increased outsourcing. The best job possibilities were expected at high-end shops where customers were more likely to order expensive, custom pieces.

Salary Statistics

According to the BLS, dressmakers, tailors, and custom sewers earned a median annual wage of $31,000 as of May 2018. The top ten percent of these workers made $53,990 or more each year, while the bottom ten percent earned $20,720 or less annually.

The majority of dressmakers, tailors, and sewers were employed at clothing stores, and these workers made an average yearly salary of $34,610 in 2018. If you're looking for a more lucrative industry to enter, those employed at merchant wholesale companies developing apparel, piece goods, and notions earned an average wage of $41,660 per year. Department stores also offered higher wages, paying workers an average of $47,970 annually, while performing arts dressmakers and tailors earned an average of $50,440 a year in 2018, per the BLS.

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