Arts & crafts

Tailor

Tailors design and make one-off suits, jackets and coats for individual customers. They also alter and repair clothes.

Annual Salary

£14,000 to £22,000

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

36 to 38 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends;

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • taking customers' measurements
  • discussing styles and fabric
  • working out how much the clothing will cost and how long it will take to make
  • creating a design by hand or using computer software
  • creating a new pattern or adapting an existing one
  • making a mock-up garment using cheaper fabrics
  • fitting the mock-up to the customer and making alterations
  • cutting out fabric pieces to make the garment
  • fitting the garment to the customer and marking final adjustments
  • stitching clothes by hand or machine
  • carry out repairs and alterations to clothing

Working environment

You could work in a workshop or in a factory.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • working towards this role
University

You could start by doing a degree in fashion or fashion and textiles, and specialise in tailoring.

You could also do a degree in bespoke tailoring.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • a foundation diploma in art and design
  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
For more information
College

You could take a college course to develop your sewing, pattern cutting and design skills. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Certificate in Sewing and Textiles
  • Level 2 Certificate in Pattern Cutting
  • Level 3 Diploma in Handcraft Tailoring

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
For more information
Apprenticeship

You could complete an advanced apprenticeship in fashion and textiles tailoring or garment making. You could also move on to a bespoke tailor and cutter higher apprenticeship, as your experience grows.

You may be able to get into the industry through the Savile Row Bespoke Association (SRBA) apprenticeship programme. This can take between 2 and 6 years to complete. You would apply directly to SRBA member tailoring companies. Competition for places is strong.

Entry requirements
  • entry requirements vary
For more information
Work

You could start by working as an assistant to a master tailor. You may be able to arrange this yourself, if you can show you have a keen interest in making clothes and have sewing skills.

More information

Further information

You can get more on a career in tailoring from The Bespoke Apprentice.

You can find out more about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

With experience, you could become a senior tailor or supervisor, or you could set up your own business.

You can get more on a career in tailoring from The Bespoke Apprentice.

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 others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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