Tailor Apprenticeship

Tailor Apprenticeship

A tailor differs from a fashion designer in that they provide a personalised service to each client, specialising in changes and tweaks. Most tailors run their own businesses out of a small shop, while some work elsewhere and offer home services. You will conduct many repairs and alterations to satisfy your clients’ needs as a tailor. Sometimes, you may be obliged to create unusual clothing. This includes letting the consumer choose the fabric, taking the customer’s measurements, and making the appropriate garment. The customer will return to your shop (or you will visit them at home) for a fitting and to evaluate if any alterations are necessary.

Responsibilities

Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:

  • take customers’ measurements
  • discuss styles and fabric
  • work out how much the clothing will cost and how long it will take to make
  • create a design by hand or using computer software
  • create a new pattern or adapt an existing one
  • make a mock-up garment or ‘toile’ using cheaper fabrics
  • fit the toile to the customer and make alterations
  • assemble fabric pieces to make the garment
  • fit the garment to the customer and mark final adjustments
  • stitch clothes by hand or machine
  • carry out repairs and alterations.

Salary

  • Starting salary for an inexperienced tailor is usually £11,500 to £13,000 a year.
  • With experience it can rise to between £14,000 and £19,000.
  • A senior tailor can be around £50,000.

Working hours

Tailors normally work 36 to 38 hours per week, however, they may be expected to work weekends and evenings occasionally.

Working environment

You could work in a workshop or in a factory.

Qualifications

Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice tailor include:

  • Level 5 Bespoke Tailor and CutterEntry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification will take 24 months to complete.

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.

Skills

On a tailor apprenticeship, you’ll learn:

  • 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.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could go from bespoke tailor to master tailor. You could supervise a team or train new recruits, or you could set up your own business.

Updated on December 28, 2022

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