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How Do I Become a Tailor?

A tailor's tape measure.
Tailors might only make alterations or they might create clothing.
Article Details
  • Written By: T. L. Childree
  • Edited By: R. Halprin
  • Last Modified Date: 25 March 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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A tailor is someone who performs repairs and alterations or participates in the construction of apparel. To become a tailor, you must first earn a high school diploma. Then enroll in a fashion and design program at a community college or technical institute. You should also complete some type of internship training at a department store or dry cleaning establishment while studying to become a tailor. After completing your education and internship, you can seek employment at a formalwear store, apparel manufacturer, department store, or bridal salon.

Tailors work in various capacities depending upon the type of clothing business involved. Some tailors repair damaged garments while others perform alterations to make clothing fit better. Others are involved with various aspects of new clothing construction. Their duties range from measuring customers for alterations to drawing patterns for new apparel. Tailors are typically employed by department stores, dry cleaners, or apparel manufacturers.

In order to become a tailor, you will first need to complete high school or pass a general equivalency exam. It is best to take courses in mathematics to be able to accurately measure clients and calculate fabric needs. You should also take courses in fashion design and sewing if they are offered at your school. Art courses can be helpful for developing your sense of style, color, and design. You should also develop your interpersonal skills to help you interact well with different people.

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Before you can become a tailor, you must also take college-level courses in fashion and design. These specialized courses are offered by many different community colleges and technical institutes. Take advanced courses in fashion design, sewing, and garment construction patterns after enrolling in one of these programs. Instruction in fabrics, patterns, fitting, detailing, and custom finishes is important. A great deal of your classroom time will be spent practicing various sewing and stitching techniques.

You should also participate in an internship program at a department store or dry cleaner while attending fashion and design school. This internship will give you an opportunity to improve your skills and gain valuable work experience before you become a tailor. It may also provide an opportunity to refine your interpersonal skills as you work with different clients. You could seek part-time employment in a specialty clothing store if alteration or repair work is unavailable. If an internship is not feasible, try performing alterations or repairs for friends and family members to gain some practical tailoring experience.

Upon completion of your formal education and internship, seek employment at an apparel manufacturer or department store. It may be possible to become part of a garment design team at a clothing manufacturer. You may also want to specialize in formalwear or bridal gowns. It may be possible to start your own independent tailoring business after you have developed a loyal following of clients.

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