Tailors repair damaged clothing and make alterations to garments to suit the measurements of each individual client. They sew by hand or using machinery, employing different techniques depending on the location of stitching, fabric weight and other factors.
Some tailors may also make custom garments using a design or pattern requested by the customer, or their own design. In the past, tailors only designed or altered men's clothing, but many tailors now work on any type of garment.
Nights and weekends occasionally
Most tailors work full time during business hours. Those in retail may work evening or weekend hours for the convenience of customers. Tailors can be employed by a variety of establishments including drycleaners, department stores, manufacturers, fashion houses, and theatre and film organisations. Some own their own shops offering both alterations and custom clothing services.
Work as a tailor can require extended periods of time seated at a sewing machine or doing detailed work by hand. Tailors may suffer eye strain and repetitive stress injuries. Appropriate lighting, regular breaks and ergonomic workstations can help alleviate these issues.
Annual salary estimates are based on percentile wage data collected through the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) survey of US workers.
DVM / VMD degree
Most tailoring jobs only require a high school diploma, with training provided on the job. Some companies offer apprenticeship opportunities, where aspiring tailors receive extensive training under the supervision of an experienced tailor. Tailors can also take applicable courses in sewing and fashion design, including a focus on patterns, fabrics, detailing and fit. You may choose to get an associate degree at a community college or vocational school, or a fashion degree from a four-year institution.
There are also certification opportunities to prove your skills and enhance your résumé. Two organizations that provide prestigious certifications are the Custom Tailors & Designers Association (CTDA) and the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
Tailors typically begin in a training or apprentice role. Gathering experience and expertise can help you move on to roles with more responsibility. Additional education and certification can also assist you in landing more challenging jobs at large retailers, fashion houses and manufacturers.
Coursework in business administration can assist tailors who go on to own their own establishments. Work as a tailor also provides a solid background for other more lucrative roles in fashion, including textile designer, garment technologist and fashion designer.