Working for department stores, dry cleaners, apparel manufacturing companies or as self-employed business owners, dressmakers design, make and repair dresses. From casual sundresses to luxury wedding gowns, dressmakers utilize their knowledge of sewing and textiles to turn a customer or designer's dream dress into a reality. Before getting started in this profession, it's essential to familiarize yourself with everything the career entails.
Dressmakers have to e professional sewers, so advanced proficiency in sewing is required. They are familiar with a wide variety of hand stitches, as well as capable of using a sewing machine and other sewing tools. Dressmakers are creative and possess strong visualization skills. Time management and organization skills are necessary for keeping track of orders and completing garments on time. Additionally, dressmakers are active listeners with excellent customer service skills.
Dressmakers spend most of their time sewing dresses for customers or designers. They may draft their own designs or follow patterns. When working directly with customers, they take a customer's measurements to ensure a correct fit. When working for a designer, they follow a size chart to determine how much fabric is needed. Dressmakers utilize their knowledge of textiles, garment construction and sewing techniques to piece dresses together. Once the body of a dress is complete, a dressmaker adds on any embellishments such as pockets, buttons lace or trim.
In addition to creating dresses, some dressmakers offer alteration services. For example, a customer might bring in a dress that is too loose, and a dressmaker will bring in the sides and rework the seams for a tighter fit. Self-employed dressmakers are also tasked with marketing their services to the public to attract customers, as well as calculating a budget and managing other aspects of their businesses.
No formal education is required to get started as a dressmaker, though some choose to pursue informal training or earn a degree in a related field, such as textiles or fashion design. Some dressmakers are entirely self-taught and hone their skills through years of practice. Others pursue apprenticeship opportunities and learn under the direction experienced professionals in the field, though the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that such opportunities are rare.