Copyright

Be a Dressmaker: Education and Career Roadmap

Research the requirements to become a dressmaker. Learn about the job description and duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career in dressmaking.

View 3 Popular Schools »

Do I Want to Be a Dressmaker?

Dressmakers, also known as custom sewers, are apparel workers who make or alter women's clothes. Dressmakers may be capable of making original designs or creating copies of fashions from photographs. They may be self employed, or they may work for clothing manufacturers and use pattern-making skills. Those who are self employed might spend considerable time locating new assignments and clients.

Job Requirements

While no formal training is required to get started in this career, a certificate or associate's degree in a related field may expand a dressmaker's career opportunities and improve his or her job outlook. They might also learn their skills through an apprenticeship. The following table outlines common requirements to become a dressmaker:

Common Requirements
Degree Level High school diploma; a certificate or associate's degree may be beneficial*
Degree Fields Fashion design, textiles, sewing or a related field**
Experience An apprenticeship can supplement or replace formal education and provide necessary training**; some positions require 1-2 years of experience***
Key Skills Attention to detail and customer service skills**, time management skills*
Technical Skills Finger dexterity, fine motor skills, ability to operate and use sewing equipment, knowledge of design techniques*
Additional Requirements Employers may test applicants' knowledge of needlepoint and the metric system***

Sources: *O*Net Online, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), ***Monster.com job postings (November 2012)

Step 1: Learn the Basic Skills

Aspiring dressmakers must be able to operate a sewing machine, as well as sew by hand. Additionally, dressmakers must learn the proper use of a variety of sewing tools, including measuring tapes, cutting tools and sergers. Other skills include using patterns as a guide to cut and fit garments, lining, hemming and buttonholes. Sewing classes can cover these fundamentals and may be available in informal settings, such as community centers, or through local fabric and craft stores for a small fee. These individual classes can cover a wide range of subjects, from how to sew a little black dress to using floral print designs.

Success Tip:

  • Join a professional organization. Some professional organizations offer resources that can help aspiring dressmakers learn the skills they need to succeed in this career. For example, the American Sewing Guild offers classes, workshops and sewing events to its members.

Step 2: Earn a Certificate or Degree

Those who already have basic sewing skills can obtain a certificate as a seamstress by taking non-degree courses through a local community college. Programs can span about eight weeks, and students can learn advanced skills and concepts, including jean construction, dress design, contemporary tailoring and form/draping.

Those who wish to be a dressmaker or possibly work in other facets of the fashion world might want to earn a 2-year Associate of Applied Science or a 4-year Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design. Skills taught in these programs include detailing, marketing, pattern making and computer-aided design (CAD).

Success Tip:

  • Participate in extracurricular activities. Fashion design degree programs often offer numerous opportunities for real-world experience in the fashion industry. Students might attend fashion shows, work on dress design projects for actual clients or study abroad in fashion-oriented cities like Paris.

Step 3: Gain Work Experience

Dressmakers may apply for work with clothing manufacturers, department stores or bridal boutiques. In some cases, dressmakers may be able to find apprenticeship opportunities working alongside experienced professionals to further hone their skills, although the BLS reported that such opportunities were rare.

Success Tip:

  • Continue your education. Though it is not required, dressmakers can benefit from learning new skills throughout their careers. For example, the Custom Tailors and Designers Association (CTDA) offers advanced courses in business and marketing.
Show me popular schools

Related to Be a Dressmaker

  • Related
  • Recently Updated
  • Popular
Dressmaker: Job Description & Career Requirements

Dressmakers are typically employed as seamstresses or pattern makers, either independently or for private businesses and design...

Wedding Dressmaker: Job Description and Training Requirements

A wedding gown is one of the most important garments a woman will own. If you have an eye for fashion and an interest in...

Dressmaking and Design: Online Diploma

Research diploma programs in dressmaking and design. This article provides an overview of the online diploma options in...

Dressmaking Degree Program and Course Information

Research degree programs related to dressmaking. Get information about associate and bachelor's degrees in fashion design, as...

Sewing & Fabric Alterations: Career & Education Requirements

Popular Schools

  • 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 live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Florida (2 campuses)
    • Illinois (1)
    • Nevada (1)
    • Texas (1)
    • Washington (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Fashion Design
        • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Fashion Design and Merchandising
        • Bachelor - Fashion Merchandising
        • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Fashion Merchandising
        • Bachelor of Arts - Merchandising Management: Fashion Merchandising
        • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Interior Design
    • Associate
        • Associate - Fashion Design
        • Associate - Merchandising Management: Fashion Merchandising
        • Associate - Visual Communications: Graphic Design
        • Associate - Graphic Design

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Distance Learning Programs

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Michigan State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Fashion Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Iowa (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Iowa State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Fashion Design
        • General Visual Communications Design
        • Graphic Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Delaware (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Delaware include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Fashion Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Texas (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Baylor University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Fashion Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • Columbia (D.C.) (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Howard University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Diploma
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Fashion Design
        • Interior Design and Decorating
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
  • School locations:
    • Texas (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Texas Tech University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Fashion Design
        • Graphic Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
  • School locations:
    • New Jersey (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Montclair State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
        • Fashion Design
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video

Popular Schools

Avg. Wages For Related Jobs

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics