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:

To become a Sewing Machinist, there are no specific subjects that are absolutely required, but some subjects can be helpful for developing the skills and knowledge you need for this career. Sewing Machinists are primarily involved in sewing and garment production, so subjects that help you develop practical and technical skills can be beneficial. Here are some subjects to consider:

  1. Design and Technology (Textiles): This subject focuses on practical skills related to textiles, sewing, and garment construction, making it particularly relevant for a career as a Sewing Machinist.
  2. Art & Design: While not sewing-specific, art and design subjects can help you develop creativity and fine motor skills, which are important for sewing and working with fabrics.
  3. Mathematics: Basic math skills are useful for measurements and calculations related to garment sizes and fabric requirements.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency with computer programs can be beneficial, as some modern sewing machines are computerised and may require digital input.
  5. Textiles: If your school offers a dedicated textiles course, it can provide a solid foundation in textile technology, fabric types, and garment construction.

Post School

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.