Craft & Food Trades

Tailors design and create made to measure suits, shirts, jackets, coats and dresses using high quality fabrics and textiles.

Work Activities

Tailors may work on a freelance basis or may be employed directly by tailors and clothing boutiques, retailers, manufacturers and alteration companies, particularly those dealing with luxury formal and business wear. Designs can be personalised to the clients' requirements, known as ‘bespoke' and fabrics and textiles are cut to size, using linings, pockets and buttons chosen by the client, which are sewn by hand, using traditional techniques and by machine.

Tailors may also alter and repair existing clothing items and create ‘ready to wear' collections and a keen interest in design and textiles, with high levels of attention to detail and customer service is essential as travel to their clients' home or work place is often required.

Duties may include:

  • taking client measurements and discussing requirements
  • creating and cutting new designs using drawings and patterns, chalks and pins
  • knowledge of traditional and contemporary designs, trends and textiles
  • presenting ideas
  • liaising with suppliers to order fabrics, textiles and materials
  • providing high levels of customer service

Personal Qualities and Skills

Key skills required

  • excellent design and drawing skills
  • strong sense of colour and a detailed approach
  • knowledge of pattern design, fabrics, textiles and product construction
  • outstanding customer service skills
  • ability to work under pressure
  • ability to use hand held tools with a steady hand and operate sewing machinery
  • ability to translate designs into products
  • good team player

Pay And Opportunities

Typical employers of tailors

  • tailors
  • clothing retailers and suppliers
  • hotels and cruise ships


Qualifications and training required

Most tailors start as apprentices, completing detailed training and work placements, to develop their professional skills. Savile Row in London is home to many of the leading tailors in the UK.

BTEC Level 2 or 3, SCQF Level 5/6, one year art foundation and degrees such as leather, textiles and design may be useful.

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