Fashion & textiles

Dressmaker

Dressmakers create made-to-measure clothing like dresses, trousers and blouses for their customers.

Annual Salary

£13,500 to £22,000

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

Working hours

37 to 40

What's it all about?

Your day-to-day duties may include:

  • discussing the client’s needs
  • giving the client advice on fabrics and patterns
  • taking measurements
  • changing an existing pattern, or creating a new pattern for the client
  • costing the work
  • using the pattern to cut out the fabric pieces
  • tacking the fabric pieces together for a fitting
  • making samples or ‘toiles’
  • using a sewing machine or sewing by hand
  • fitting the garment and making adjustments to create a perfect fit
  • keeping your accounts, if self-employed

There are no set requirements but you’ll need experience and the skills employers and clients want. Some dressmakers are self-taught.

You could take a college course to gain the skills you'll need to do this job.

Creative Skills has more information on starting a career in fashion and textiles.

£13,500 to £22,000

Starter salary: £13,500 to £16,000

Experienced salary: £18,000 to £22,000

If you’re self-employed you’ll set your own rates.

These figures are a guide.

37 to 40

You’ll usually work 37 to 40 hours a week, including Saturdays. 

You’ll normally be based in a workshop or work from home. You may also spend some time visiting clients.



If self-employed, you’ll choose your own hours, depending on the amount of work and the deadlines you have.

With experience you could take on a supervisory role, move into a related career like fashion or textile buying, or become self-employed. 

You could also work in costume production for theatre, TV and film.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You’ll need:

  • excellent practical skills
  • to be able to imagine how designs will look and lay out pattern pieces
  • an eye for detail and good eyesight
  • a tactful approach with customers
  • accuracy when taking measurements and making calculations
  • colour-normal vision for matching threads and fabrics
My top 5 skills from the skills bank
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