Tailors, Dressmakers, and Custom Sewers
51-6052.00

Design, make, alter, repair, or fit garments.

Sample of reported job titles: Alterations Expert, Alterations Sewer, Bridal Designer, Clothing Pattern Designer, Custom Dressmaker, Custom Sewer, Custom Tailor, Dressmaker, Seamstress, Tailor

Occupation-Specific Information

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.
  • Measure customers, using tape measures, and record measurements.
  • Fit and study garments on customers to determine required alterations.
  • 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.
  • Press garments, using hand irons or pressing machines.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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Technology Skills

Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 95% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 66% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Time Pressure — 79% responded “Every day.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 58% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 83% responded “Every day.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 72% responded “Very important results.”
  • Telephone — 61% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 25% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 59% responded “Every day.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 54% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Contact With Others — 48% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 60% responded “Every day.”
  • Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 40% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 47% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Physical Proximity — 41% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 37% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 36% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 43% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 31% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 37% responded “Not important at all.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 32% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Consequence of Error — 29% responded “Not serious at all.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
Education
These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
Related Experience
Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, and tellers.
SVP Range
3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Knowledge

  • 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.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Economics and Accounting — Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 58%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
  • 17%
     
    responded: Less than high school diploma required
  • 16%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Arm-Hand Steadiness — The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
  • Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
  • Manual Dexterity — The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.

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Interests

Interest code: RAE
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Artistic — Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.
  • Enterprising — Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

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Work Values

  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Relationships — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

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Work Styles

  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$15.11 hourly, $31,420 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
42,000 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Decline (-1% or lower)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
4,900
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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