Sewing Machinist

Job Description:

Sewing machinists make clothes, accessories and soft furniture.

Job Category:
Art & Fashion

What you will do:

Day-to-day you could:

  • follow a set of instructions for each sewing job
  • sew different fabrics like cotton, wool, leather or industrial textiles
  • draw threads through and change machine settings for different jobs
  • feed material through the machine
  • stitch together clothes, samples or other items
  • check finished work against the pattern instructions
  • carry out quality control checks
  • clean and oil machines


You’ll need:

  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • knowledge of the operation of a sewing machine
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisation skills)
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • concentration skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations (adaptability skills)
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
  • the ability to work on your own


Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

A college course could teach you the skills needed for this career.

Relevant courses include:

  • Degree in Fashion – Sewing Machine Skills
  • Degree in Fashion and Textiles

You can get into this job through a sewing machinist intermediate apprenticeship.

You could also do a garment maker advanced apprenticeship. This may be helpful if you want to get into more skilled work like sample machining.

Direct Application
You could apply directly to work as a sewing machinist. Employers would normally expect you to have basic sewing skills and the ability to read and understand written pattern instructions. Most companies would ask you to take a practical test at the interview.

Sewing skills developed at home or on a college course could help you to get a job.

Experience in using different types of industrial sewing machines will give you an advantage.


Working Hours and Environment:

A typical working week consists of 38-40 hours of work per week. You may work in shifts and could have to work early in the morning.

You could work in a factory, in a creative studio or from home.

Your working environment may be noisy and dusty.

Career Path & Progression:

You could become a supervisor or move into staff training.

You could set up your own business as a tailor or dressmaker.

With experience, you could work with a designer, or as a sample machinist, making up samples of products.

You could take further training and qualifications for roles like garment technologist, quality control technician or pattern cutter.