Sewing machinist

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Machinist

Sewing machinists stitch pieces of material together to make clothing, accessories and soft furnishings.

Salary range: £14,000 to £21,000

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How to become a sewing machinist

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly
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College

A college course could teach you the skills needed for this career. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 1 Award in Fashion – Sewing Machine Skills
  • Level 1 Certificate in Textiles

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements for this route.

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Apprenticeship

You can get into this job through a sewing machinist intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

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Direct application

You could apply directly to work as a sewing machinist. Employers would normally expect you to have basic sewing skills and the ability to read and understand written pattern instructions. Most companies would ask you to take a practical test at the interview.

Sewing skills developed at home or on a college course could help you to get a job.

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Further information

You can find out more about using your sewing skills in creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • thinking and reasoning skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • changing machine settings for different jobs
  • feeding material through the machine
  • stitching together clothes or other items
  • checking finished work against the pattern instructions
  • cleaning and oiling machines
  • sewing different fabrics like cotton, wool, leather or industrial textiles

Working environment

You could work in a factory.

Your working environment may be noisy and dusty.

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Career path and progression

With experience you could work with a designer, or as a ‘sample machinist’, making up samples of products.

You could also become a supervisor or move into staff training, quality control or pattern cutting. You could set up your own business as a tailor or dressmaker.