What Does A Dressmaker Do?

Dressmakers are professionals who make and alter gowns, skirts, jeans and pants, primarily for female clients. Their job involves sketching dress designs, making patterns, cutting the fabric pieces and sewing them together. They also help clients in choosing the fabric type and color that will work with the design while taking into consideration the client’s budget. In some cases, they may be asked by clients to revise a vintage piece of clothing so that it achieves a more modern look.

When a client first meets with a dressmaker to have a garment done, they will discuss the client’s design requirements. For example, if the customer wants a gown made, the dressmaker will ask about the occasion where the gown will be worn. They will then show the client pattern books and samples of fabric that would best fit the designs. If the client chooses an existing design then the dressmaker will simply have to take the measurements and, cut the fabric pieces and sew them together. If the client wants a unique design, the dressmaker would have to sketch the design and make the pattern first before proceeding with the actual sewing.

In designs that are intricate and complex which would require the use of very expensive fabrics, dressmakers may first opt to make a “toile” or sample using a much cheaper fabric. This is to make certain of the design and fit before the pieces of the garment are actually cut on the actual fabric.

The main equipment that dressmakers use in their craft is a sewing machine. In many cases, they will have to finish the final aspects of the design by hand. This is especially true if the dress requires trimmings, beadings and embroidery. More elaborate designs may even require hand-painted art on the fabric. While other workers may be able to do these, it would be advantageous for dressmakers to possess the skill to do these tasks. During the course of the making of the design, the dressmaker will fit the garment to the customer and make alterations if needed so that the final product will fit her very well.

The job of dressmakers isn’t just confined to sketching, making patterns, cutting fabric pieces, tacking garments together and sewing. They also have to give budgetary estimates to the customer regarding the cost of the materials and labor so that the client will know how much to spend for the fabric. If the customer feels that the cost is too expensive, the dressmaker will work with her to choose a simpler design or a cheaper fabric to substitute so that she will still have the design she likes but at a much more affordable cost.

Dressmakers also educate clients on the proper care of their garment. They teach them the correct way of washing (e.g. if the clothes must only be hand-washed and not machine-washed), ironing and storing the garment so that the fabric won’t be ruined. Storing a piece of clothing well will make it available for use in other occasions and save the client the hassle and expense of having another one made.

Enterprising dressmakers can open their own dress shops. When they do, most of their work will be focused on running the business and not on the actual dressmaking process itself. They will hire other dressmakers and train them to do the job. They will also be on top of the financial side of the operations, keeping tab of the profits, expenses and payroll to ensure that the business continues to thrive and the employees are satisfied. They also need to ensure that the business is paying its taxes promptly and have all the necessary permits up-to-date so that their operations are legal. They may have an accountant take care of the nitty-gritty but they will need to have knowledge of these areas since they will have to sign all papers and face the consequences if something is not done right.

Dressmakers who own their dress shops also have to order fabrics and negotiate with suppliers to get the best prices for them. They also think of ways to market their services so that the shop will grow its client base and thrive. These can include putting up advertisements or connecting with clothing manufacturers or designers that might want to hire them to make their designs.

Career Spotlight: Dressmaker



A dressmaker makes, repairs and alters dresses, skirts, jeans, pants and other pieces of clothing. You read that right: As a dressmaker, you won’t be confined to just dresses. You’ll be making oth[...]

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