Sewing & Fabric Alterations: Career & Education Requirements

Sewing and fabric alterations professionals produce clothing and other fabric goods for consumers. While these workers sometimes complete training courses offered through vocational schools or apprenticeship programs, many learn their skills on the job.

View 14 Popular Schools »

Sewing and Fabric Alterations Careers

Sewing Machine Operators

Sewing machine operators usually work for clothing and other fabric goods manufacturers. These workers are presented with pre-cut pieces of fabric and material to sew together using a machine. They may also be responsible for adding buttonholes or fixing stiches.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment for these workers is likely to decline by at least 10% from 2010 to 2020 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2012, the BLS indicated the median annual salary for sewing machine operators was $21,270.

Tailors, Dressmakers and Custom Sewers

Tailors, dressmakers and custom sewers are skilled workers who alter, repair and even sew custom garments for their customers. Many work in dry cleaning shops, as customers of these establishments often appreciate being able to drop off a garment to be cleaned and repaired at the same time. They may shorten hems, record alteration requirements on clothing tags and insert padding.

The BLS predicts little or no change in employment levels for tailors and sewers between 2010 and 2020, noting that while many people don't use these services, there is demand among affluent clients and high-end stores for custom sewing and tailoring. The median yearly salary for dressmakers, tailors and custom sewers was $26,280 in May 2012, according to BLS data.

Upholsterers

Upholsterers use fabrics to cover furniture and may work to produce new pieces or use their skills to repair damaged items. Working conditions can be dangerous or unhealthy for upholsterers who work with sharp tools, engage in heavy lifting and sit or stand in awkward positions for short periods of time. Common duties for this position can also include locating furniture defects, removing furniture webbing and securing furniture frames.

The BLS anticipates a 4% increase in employment for upholsterers between 2010 and 2020, due to continued demand for refurbishment and repairs of vintage furniture. As of May 2012, the median salary for upholsterers was $29,930 per year.

Education and Training

Many garment workers and upholsterers are trained on the job. For example, sewing machine operators may receive training from other employees or a representative of a sewing machine company. Upholsterers may have the option of completing an apprenticeship, but can sometimes also complete training at a vocational school or community college.

Tailors, dressmakers and custom sewers can begin formal training while in high school, as many schools offer sewing classes to students. Other options include enrolling in a vocational school or community college program that offers training in fashion design, sewing and alterations, such as the certificate in clothing construction or Associate of Science in Apparel Design.

Show me popular schools

Related to Sewing & Fabric Alterations: Career & Education Requirements

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Overview of Sewing Machine Repair Classes

While courses specifically relating to sewing machine repair are rare, several institutions offer courses in the more general...

Seamstress: Overview of This Sewing Profession

A seamstress works to create or alter textile items. While many seamstresses work independently in alteration and custom...

Theatrical Costume Designer: Education and Career Roadmap

A theatrical costume designer creates costumes for theater, dance and opera productions. Costume designers, who also work on...

Become a Fashion Manufacturer: Career Guide

Fashion manufacturers may be involved in designing, cutting and sewing clothes. Those involved in apparel production convert...

Fashion and Apparel Production Adult Education Overview

Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Alabama (2 campuses)
    • Arkansas (1)
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1)
    • Delaware (1)
    • Florida (9)
    • Georgia (8)
    • Louisiana (1)
    • Maryland (5)
    • Mississippi (1)
    • North Carolina (5)
    • New Jersey (4)
    • Pennsylvania (6)
    • South Carolina (3)
    • Tennessee (3)
    • Texas (8)
    • Virginia (11)
    • West Virginia (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Which subject are you interested in?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BFA in Fashion Design

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 21 years of age or older and have completed some college or 24 years of age or older and a high school graduate for a Bachelor's degree
    • Masters degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree
    • Doctorate degree applicants must have a Masters degree
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    When would you like to start classes?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must complete an application online and submit transcripts for their highest degree earned.
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Florida (2 campuses)
    • Illinois (1 campus)
    • Nevada (1)
    • Texas (1)
    • Washington (1)

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Applicants must have completed 12 college credits
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • California (8 campuses)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must hold a Bachelor's degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    During which term would you like to start?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Undergraduate applicants must be a high school graduate or have completed GED; Graduate program applicants must have a master's degree or higher
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BS in General Studies
    • Associate
        • AS in General Studies

    What is your highest level of education completed?

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Copyright