Dressmaking is the craft of sewing clothes and dresses. Dressmakers use their artistic minds and eye for fashion to create dress designs and bring their visions to life by selecting, cutting and sewing fabric pieces in a specific pattern. If you are interested in learning the types of skills and training required to become a dressmaker, keep reading.
What do Dressmakers do?
The work of dressmakers largely involves sewing fabrics by either hand or machine. When they are not sewing, they could be:
- Meeting with clients to understand their requirements
- Showing fabric samples to clients and recommending ideal dress designs
- Taking measurements
- Designing new sewing patterns –some dressmakers use computer programs to do this
- Repairing torn or damaged garments
- Calculating the cost of producing specific dress designs and informing clients
Some dressmakers may specialize in a certain clothing type, such as bridal gowns.
Dressmakers working for fashion houses typically work from 9am to 5pm, Monday through Friday. Depending on the amount of work, they could also work on Saturdays.
Dressmakers running their own businesses have flexible work schedules and can set the number of hours they work in a week.
How rewarding is it to be a dressmaker? This table explains it all.
£12,000 - £13,000
£17,000 - £20,000
Very experienced dressmakers
More than £20,000
Source: National Careers Service
The amount of money self-employed dressmakers make depends on the numbers of clients they have.
Your artistic skills are your biggest asset when looking to enter this profession. All you need to do is prove to potential employers that you have what it takes to be a competent dressmaker. You can do this by providing samples of your work.
You can also pursue short, relevant courses, such as:
- Level 1 Certificate/Diploma in Fashion and Textiles
- Level 2 Award/Certificate in Fashion
- Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in Fashion and Clothing
- Level 3 Award in Fashion
Alternatively, you can enter the profession by completing a fashion and textiles apprenticeship program.
Important Skills, Competencies and Interests
To become a successful dressmaker, you should have:
- A strong interest in textiles and fashion
- Excellent communication and customer-service skills
- Strong negotiating skills to agree prices with customers
- Good hand-eye coordination to take measurements accurately
- Good eyesight with normal color vision
- Good time management skills
After getting a job, pursue further studies to increase your skillset and creative abilities. Some of the relevant courses you could pursue include:
- Level 4 HNC Diploma in Fashion and Textiles
- Level 5 HND Diploma in Fashion and Textiles
- Bachelor’s degree in fashion and textiles
If you choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree, consider the following universities:
- Middlesex University, London
- University for the Creative Arts, Surrey
- Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow
- University of Brighton, Brighton
As a dressmaker looking for a job, you should set your sights on:
- Clothing stores
- Apparel manufacturers
- Dressmaking boutiques
- Tailoring companies
With well-developed dressmaking skills and vast work experience, you can become an established dressmaker and set up your own business. You can also land costume management roles in film and TV production projects.
Finally, because jobs in the dressmaking industry are limited, the key to success lies in your artistic abilities. If you can come up with the trendiest dress designs, you will hit the jackpot!