Career Definition for a Dressmaker
Dressmakers combine the skills of a seamstress with the talent and eye for design possessed by fashion designers. Day-to-day duties generally include fitting, altering and constructing made-to-measure clothing, according to the specific requests of a customer or manufacturer.
|Education||Formal education is not commonly required|
|Job Skills||Communication, creative, detail oriented, problem-solving|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$28,600 (for dressmakers, tailors and custom sewers)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||-10% (for dressmakers, tailors and custom sewers)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Although a degree is not necessary to become a dressmaker, individuals must possess strong sewing skills and an acute understanding of dress design and construction. Dressmakers study fashion trends, sketch designs of clothing, select various fabrics and implement or supervise the production of garments.
In addition to knowledge of sewing techniques, dressmakers should have a firm understanding of garment design, construction, styling and fabric. Key skills also include attention to detail, creativity and the ability to communicate clearly with clients.
Career and Salary Prospects
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported dressmakers, tailors and custom sewers earned a median salary of $28,600, as of May 2017 (www.bls.gov). States with the highest levels of employment during this same month included California, Texas, New York, Michigan, and Ohio, with Minnesota paying some of the highest wages in the nation. The number of jobs for dressmakers, tailors and custom sewers is expected to decrease 10% from 2016 to 2026, according to the BLS.
Alternate Career Options
Individuals skilled in dressmaking may consider other occupations in fashion design, including designing fashion and fiber art.
Fashion designers use computer-aided programs or traditional hand techniques to create accessories, apparel and footwear. Education and training requirements include completion of a bachelor's degree program in either fashion design or merchandising. Employment opportunities for fashion designers across the country are expected to grow by 3% between 2016 and 2026, as reported by the BLS. Those employed in May 2017 earned median annual wages of $67,420, also according to the BLS (www.bls.gov).
Fiber artists use different materials, such as fabrics and yarns, to create crocheted, knitted, sewn or woven works of art. While a degree is not required to pursue a career as a fiber artist, aspiring professionals can acquire formal training through credit and non-credit classes, fine arts programs or private lessons. According to the BLS, employment opportunities for craft and fine artists nationwide are expected to increase by just 6% nationwide from 2016 to 2026. The BLS also reports that, as of May 2017, craft and fine artists earned median annual wages of $34,940 and $49,520, respectively (www.bls.gov).