Skip to content
Logo Careeronestop
careeronestop
your source for career exploration, training & jobs
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor.
A proud partner of the american job center network.

Occupation Profile

Learn details about any occupation including what you might do on the job, how much you might earn, and how much education or training you might need.

Get started by entering a keyword for a career, a job title, or a type of work in the box below. Then enter your location and click "Search". Or, click "List of Occupations" to select from a list of careers.

Tailors, Dressmakers, and Custom Sewers
Show More

Select items to add to your view

Overview


Employment


Wages

Education





Job Details






More Info


= not available for this occupation
Description: what do they do?
Design, make, alter, repair, or fit garments.
Also known as:
Alterations Expert, Alterations Sewer, Bridal Designer, Clothing Pattern Designer, Custom Dressmaker, Custom Sewer, Custom Tailor, Dressmaker, Seamstress, Tailor

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
    Transcript: With a needle and thread, sewers and tailors create and repair clothing and other stitched items, both handcrafted and mass-produced. Sewing machine operators use sewing machines to sew or decorate clothing and other products. They keep machines stocked with thread, position material under needles, and guide their stitching to sew parts together. When a product is finished, these operators measure each item to ensure accuracy. Hand sewers stitch a wide variety of textiles and materials to make clothing, books, mattresses, wigs, and even toys. They draw and then cut materials following established patterns. Sewers must measure and piece together parts, stitch them together, and sew in trimmings, zippers, buttons, and other fasteners. To finish a product, they may iron seams and trim edges. Tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers create garments for customers and alter clothing to fit better. Customers try on clothing items so tailors can pin or clip fabric to fit their size. They take measurements to bring the hems of sleeves, dresses, and pant legs to the right length, and may let out seams or take them in to improve a garment’s fit. Some custom sewers create original clothing designs, and then sew them. There are no specific education requirements for hand or machine sewers and tailors, dressmakers, and custom sewers, although sewing skills are typically required.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are less likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Please note that this does not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different outlooks due to the rapidly changing economy. When new outlook information is developed, it will be reflected here.

    Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings". This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET Bright Outlook occupations and My Next Move career outlook designations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
37,300
2019 Employment
35,700
2029 Employment
-4%
Percent change
4,300
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2018 (for states) or 2019 (for the United States), the number expected to be employed in 2028 (for states) or 2029 (for the United States), and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    Please note that these projections do not account for the impacts of the current pandemic. Many occupations are likely to have very different projections due to the rapidly changing economy. When revised data are available, they will be published here.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office, 2018-28.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2019-29.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Tailors, Dressmakers, and Custom Sewers in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$20,940
25%$25,570
Median$32,640
75%$44,920
90%$58,050


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics Program, May 2020 survey. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • No formal educational credential
  • No work experience
  • 1 to 12 months on-the-job training

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Education and training assignments by detailed occupation, 2019.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, Educational attainment for workers 25 years and older by detailed occupation, 2018.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Measure materials to mark reference points, cutting lines, or other indicators.
  • Repair textiles or apparel.
  • Operate sewing equipment.
  • Sew clothing or other articles.
  • Measure clients to ensure proper product fit.
  • Record operational or production data.
  • Trim excess material from workpieces.
  • Adjust fabrics or other materials during garment production.
  • Smooth garments with irons, presses, or steamers.
  • Estimate costs of products, services, or materials.
  • Cut fabrics.
  • Position patterns on equipment, materials, or workpieces.
  • Mark products, workpieces, or equipment with identifying information.
  • Confer with customers or designers to determine order specifications.
  • Read work orders or other instructions to determine product specifications or materials requirements.
  • Design templates or patterns.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Visualization - Imagining how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
  • Finger Dexterity - Putting together small parts with your fingers.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Control Precision - Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Enterprising - Occupations with Enterprising interests frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. Many involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Artistic - Occupations with Artistic interests frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and allow for developing unique approaches to conducting the work.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Measure parts, such as sleeves or pant legs, and mark or pin-fold alteration lines.
  • Remove stitches from garments to be altered, using rippers or razor blades.
  • Sew garments, using needles and thread or sewing machines.
  • Let out or take in seams in suits and other garments to improve fit.
  • Fit and study garments on customers to determine required alterations.
  • Measure customers, using tape measures, and record measurements.
  • Trim excess material, using scissors.
  • Assemble garment parts and join parts with basting stitches, using needles and thread or sewing machines.
  • Make garment style changes, such as tapering pant legs, narrowing lapels, and adding or removing padding.
  • Maintain garment drape and proportions as alterations are performed.
  • Take up or let down hems to shorten or lengthen garment parts, such as sleeves.
  • Repair or replace defective garment parts, such as pockets, zippers, snaps, buttons, and linings.
  • Fit, alter, repair, and make made-to-measure clothing, according to customers' and clothing manufacturers' specifications and fit, and applying principles of garment design, construction, and styling.
  • Press garments, using hand irons or pressing machines.
  • Estimate how much a garment will cost to make, based on factors such as time and material requirements.
  • Position patterns of garment parts on fabric, and cut fabric along outlines, using scissors.
  • Record required alterations and instructions on tags, and attach them to garments.
  • Confer with customers to determine types of material and garment styles desired.
  • Examine tags on garments to determine alterations that are needed.
  • Develop, copy, or adapt designs for garments, and design patterns to fit measurements, applying knowledge of garment design, construction, styling, and fabric.
  • Put in padding and shaping materials.
  • Sew buttonholes and attach buttons to finish garments.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.