Many individuals who enjoy sewing are interested in seamstress work. Although the job requires long hours of sitting and working with your hands, many people find it attractive because it offers opportunities for creativity and independence.
Education and Skills
The essential skill for this job is obviously the ability to sew. Seamstresses must have a thorough knowledge of zippers, fabric, buttons, linings and patterns. They need manual dexterity and strong eye-hand coordination. They must be attentive to detail, demonstrate strong self-control, and be able to work well independently. Many employers require a high school diploma for a seamstress job. However, high school is not always required, and in any case, many seamstresses are self-employed. You can learn the necessary skills through on-the-job training or by taking classes -- for example, in design school.
Duties and Tools
Seamstresses must measure clients and fit garments to them. They need the ability to communicate clearly with clients to determine their needs. The tools and equipment they use include fabric, needles, thread and sewing machines. For example, they lengthen or shorten garments to fit clients properly or replace zippers.
Seamstresses spend most of their time indoors in a comfortable shop setting working individually and using their hands. Their duties require good near vision with or without correction because the work requires precision. Seamstresses must adhere to strict deadlines. At times, they work under pressure to meet the demands of their customers. The posture necessary for their work may require them to stoop or lean, which can lead to low back pain.
Outlook and Openings
Jobs for seamstresses and tailors are expected to decline by approximately 3 percent between 2012 and 2022, reports O*Net Online, based on information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, the BLS projects 5,300 job openings during the decade as current workers retire or change jobs. Some seamstresses advance to jobs as tailors or fashion designers or move to other professions.
Hourly and Annual Pay
According to a 2013 survey from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, the median salary for a seamstress is $29,330 annually. This equates to an hourly income of $14.10. As with all occupations, wages vary with years of experience, geographic location and employer. These BLS statistics also include the job titles of tailor and dressmaker.
Related occupations that a seamstress may enjoy include fabric making, costume design, fabric mending, interior design and floral design. These positions all require physical dexterity and creativity and offer similar work environments.