What kind of salary can I expect as a Seamstress and Dressmaker?

Would you like to work in the field of sewing and dressmaking? There are several available career options to consider. As a novice seamstress, you can easily hone your skills through an online certificate program to work your way into the career you desire.

As you begin your career as a seamstress, you may seek employment in an alterations shop. In this position, you would be responsible for altering hemlines, sewing on buttons and embellishments, as well as, repairing torn zippers, just to name a few. Your duties may also require you to re-design clothing to give them an up-to-date appearance or to make adjustments for body size. Alteration positions usually pay $12.00 to $24.00 per hour, depending on your experience and scope of work.

A tailor primarily alters men’s clothing, as opposed to the seamstress who focuses on women’s clothing.  They earn a salary of approximately $29,170 annually, comparable to that of the alterations seamstress.

In the factory setting, sewing machine operators are hired to manufacture clothing, often in an assembly line type fashion. Salaries can range from between $26,250 and $37,090 per year, depending on size of factory.

In addition to alterations, some seamstresses design, fit and create original, custom designs for their clients. They also often own their own business. Dressmakers in this type of setting earn between $32,150 to $50,450 annually, depending on clientele.

Alteration seamstresses are often needed in bridal boutiques. To ensure the bride the wedding gown of their dreams, alterations are needed to provide the form fitting look of a bridal gown, as all body types are different. The average salary for a bridal shop alteration seamstress is approximately $26,670 annually.

Of course, with additional education, such as, an undergraduate and graduate degree in Fashion Design, your salary can increase exponentially. You can expect to earn $67,420 to upwards of $130,050 or more annually, depending on experience, originality and your clientele.

Other careers in the textile industry include footwear and handbag designers, milliners, jewelry designers or leathersmiths. Within home design, one can specialize as a quilter or upholsterer.

As you begin to apply for job positions, you may be asked to prove your creative and sewing skill abilities. You will, most definitely, want to keep an updated portfolio at the ready. A portfolio will showcase your talents as a seamstress who does alterations or original designs. While in school, you should begin documenting your accomplishments and update your portfolio often.

If you would like to pursue your interest as a seamstress, please see our list of the best Online Schools for Sewing/Dressmaking Programs.