How Do I Become a Seamstress?

A.E. Freeman

To become a seamstress, you need to have the ability to sew and an understanding of tailoring and the way clothes fit the body. You may learn sewing skills informally or enroll in classes. You'll also need specific skills, such as good hand and eye coordination, and the right tools, such as a sewing machine. You may work from home or at a local tailor or laundry facility.

A seamstress is knowledgeable in how clothing should fit the body.
A seamstress is knowledgeable in how clothing should fit the body.

As a seamstress, you may either make garments from scratch for customers or construct other soft items, such as purses or home accessories. To be a well-rounded professional, you may want to learn how to sew as much as possible so that if a customer requests a specific item, you won't have to turn her down. In addition to constructing clothing, you'll have to know how to repair it, either by fixing a hem, zipper, or lost button.

An industrial sewing machine may be used to sew heavy material.
An industrial sewing machine may be used to sew heavy material.

You may find that enrolling in a vocational program helps you become a seamstress, as it provides formal training. Classes in pattern drafting, collar construction, and using a sewing machine may be helpful in preparing you for your career. You should also take a course or two in fabrics so that you learn how to care for and stitch different materials. Some seamstresses may take classes in fashion design or even earn a bachelor's degree in design.

Straight pins are an integral part of seamstress' sewing box.
Straight pins are an integral part of seamstress' sewing box.

In some cases, you can become a seamstress by apprenticing with a tailor or other stitcher or by shadowing another seamstress. You'll learn the skills you need on the job, both by observing the person you are working for and by getting a chance to practice. An apprenticeship can be informal, or you may receive credit for it.

A seamstress should possess a good pair of dressmaker's shears.
A seamstress should possess a good pair of dressmaker's shears.

You'll also need the appropriate tools to become a seamstress. If you plan on sewing a lot of garments from scratch, you may wish to get an industrial sewing machine. A standard home machine may serve you well if you plan on doing many alterations mostly by hand. You'll also need a good pair of dressmaker's shears, pins, needles, and plenty of thread.

Seamstresses have to be able to sew a variety of buttons onto clothing.
Seamstresses have to be able to sew a variety of buttons onto clothing.

As a seamstress, you can work for a company, such as a tailor or dry cleaning firm, at a specialty boutique, or from your home. If you choose to work at home and run your own business, you'll need to market yourself appropriately, either in the classifieds or on bulletin boards. You'll be more likely to be able to support yourself if you focus on constructing clothing instead of performing alterations exclusively.

An aspiring seamstress may take courses in garment construction.
An aspiring seamstress may take courses in garment construction.

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Discussion Comments

Talentryto

Talented seamstresses also have bright futures in a variety of exciting fields. Industries such as pageants and weddings are always in search of new and unique designs. If entertainment is your passion, seamstresses are also in demand in the costuming industry.

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