Seamstresses design, alter, and repair clothing and other made-to-measure garments, especially dresses and female attire. They are employed by clothing retailers, clothing alteration shops, dry cleaners, and garment manufacturing companies, or they may be self-employed.
A Seamstress might be known as a dressmaker or hand sewer. They are often considered the female counterparts of Tailors, however, there’s a slight difference between the two. A Seamstress sews clothes, fabrics, and apparel for a living, while Tailors work at altering clothing and apparel to fit a customer.
Mostly working independently for a range of customers, the sewing skills of a Seamstress must be extremely versatile in order to work with a wide variety of specific designs, pieces of clothing, and patterns. A person in this profession could work in dressmaking, gown design, handbag making, or costume design.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of common tasks Seamstresses are required to complete.
- Making women’s garments (e.g. dresses, blouses, shirts, pants, skirts, and coats):
- Marking, cutting, and sewing fabric;
- selecting and modifying commercial patterns to customers’ and clothing manufacturers’ specifications and fit;
- being able to draft, drape, and translate designs from concept to delivery;
- being able to imagine how the end garment will look like from the pattern design; and
- making samples out of cheaper fabrics in order to check the design and fit before cutting an expensive fabric.
- Altering and repairing garments as required:
- Sewing hems, fixing tears, mending zippers, and applying buttons; and
- ensuring proper measurements, adjustments, and fittings.
- Working directly with customers:
- Discussing the customer’s requirements;
- advising customers on which combination of fabrics and patterns may give the best results;
- showing the customer fabric samples and pattern books;
- taking measurements; and
- ensuring modifications are done on time for when the customer returns.
- Defining technical specifications for the garments and being knowledgeable about fabrics, patterns, shapes, and colors:
- Selecting and testing different fabrics;
- knowing about pattern-making and fittings, adapting and creating patterns as needed; and
- keeping up-to-date with the latest fashion trends and techniques, as well as finding the best quality fabrics.
- Using equipment such as sewing machines and irons.
- Organizing and maintaining fabrics, trims, and other materials.
- Working out the cost of the work, taking into account the fabric, trimmings, and time needed.
- Making women’s garments.
- Altering and repairing garments.
- Working with different fabrics.
- Estimating costs and materials.
- Creating a network of customers, vendors, and suppliers.
The average Seamstress salary is $37,623 per year or $19 per hour. This is around 1.1 times more than the Median wage of the country. Entry level positions start at $26,000 while most experienced workers make up to $53,000. These results are based on 127 salaries extracted from job descriptions.