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Arts & crafts

Sewing machinist

Sewing machinists make clothes, accessories and soft furniture.

Annual Salary

£15,500 to £21,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

38 to 40 a week

You could work: early mornings; on shifts

Future employment

There will be 5.8% fewer Sewing machinist jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

You could:

  • follow a set of instructions for each sewing job
  • sew different fabrics like cotton, wool, leather or industrial textiles
  • draw threads through and change machine settings for different jobs
  • feed material through the machine
  • stitch together clothes, samples or other items
  • check finished work against the pattern instructions
  • carry out quality control checks
  • clean and oil machines

Working environment

You could work in a factory, in a creative studio or from home.

Your working environment may be noisy and dusty.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

A college course could teach you the skills needed for this career.

Relevant courses include:

  • Level 1 Award in Fashion - Sewing Machine Skills
  • Level 1 Certificate in Fashion and Textiles

For more information

You can get into this job through a sewing machinist intermediate apprenticeship.

You could also do a garment maker advanced apprenticeship. This may be helpful if you want to get into more skilled work like sample machining.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
For more information
Direct application

You could apply directly to work as a sewing machinist. Employers would normally expect you to have basic sewing skills and the ability to read and understand written pattern instructions. Most companies would ask you to take a practical test at the interview.

Sewing skills developed at home or on a college course could help you to get a job.

Experience of using different types of industrial sewing machines will give you an advantage.

More information

Career tips

You could get experience of using different types of fabrics and sewing techniques at home. Look out for short courses in adult education centres and online to help you develop your skills.

Further information

You can find out more about using your sewing skills in creative careers from:UKFT Futures; Discover Creative Careers

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You could become a supervisor or move into staff training.

You could set up your own business as a tailor or dressmaker.

With experience you could work with a designer, or as a sample machinist, making up samples of products.

You could take further training and qualifications for roles like garment technologist, quality control technician or pattern cutter.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • concentration skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
  • the ability to work on your own
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • the ability to think clearly using logic and reasoning
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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