Salary range: £14,000 to £22,000
How to become a tailor
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
You could start by doing a degree in fashion or fashion and textiles, and specialise in tailoring.
You could also do a degree in bespoke tailoring.
You’ll usually need:
- a foundation diploma in art and design
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- university courses and entry requirements
You could take a college course to develop your sewing, pattern cutting and design skills. Courses include:
- Level 2 Certificate in Sewing and Textiles
- Level 2 Certificate in Pattern Cutting
- Level 3 Diploma in Handcraft Tailoring
You may need:
- 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course
You could complete an advanced apprenticeship in fashion and textiles tailoring or garment making. You could also move on to a bespoke tailor and cutter higher apprenticeship, as your experience grows.
You may be able to get into the industry through the Savile Row Bespoke Association (SRBA) apprenticeship programme. This can take between 2 and 6 years to complete. You would apply directly to SRBA member tailoring companies. Competition for places is strong.
- entry requirements vary
You could start by working as an assistant to a master tailor. You may be able to arrange this yourself, if you can show you have a keen interest in making clothes and have sewing skills.
You can get more on a career in tailoring from The Bespoke Apprentice.
You can find out more about creative careers from Discover Creative Careers.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- the ability to work well with others
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- customer service skills
- the ability to work well with your hands
- excellent verbal communication skills
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks may include:
- taking customers’ measurements
- discussing styles and fabric
- working out how much the clothing will cost and how long it will take to make
- creating a design by hand or using computer software
- creating a new pattern or adapting an existing one
- making a mock-up garment using cheaper fabrics
- fitting the mock-up to the customer and making alterations
- cutting out fabric pieces to make the garment
- fitting the garment to the customer and marking final adjustments
- stitching clothes by hand or machine
- carry out repairs and alterations to clothing
You could work in a workshop or in a factory.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could become a senior tailor or supervisor, or you could set up your own business.