Tailors, dressmakers, furriers and milliners (NOC 6342)

About this job

Tailors, dressmakers and furriers make, alter and repair tailored clothing, dresses, coats and other made-to-measure garments. Milliners make, alter and repair hats. This occupational group also includes alterationists, who fit, alter and repair garments.

People in this occupation:

  • work for clothing retailers, clothing alteration shops, dry cleaners and garment manufacturing companies or they may be self-employed
  • should be creative and enjoy careful, precise work
  • should have the ability to work independently, as well as good interpersonal skills to work with clients
Common job titles
  • custom furrier / fur joiner
  • custom sewer, garments
  • dressmaker
  • fur tailor / repairer / estimator
  • garment fitter / repairer
  • milliner / millinery maker

Duties

Tailors, dressmakers, furriers and milliners perform some or all of the following duties:

  • review clients' needs and prepare sketches or models that outline the finished item of clothing
  • select and modify commercial patterns or design patterns to fit measurements
  • mark and cut fabric, fur, leather and other materials
  • sew pieces together to create finished garments
  • fit, alter and repair garments by hand or using sewing machines
  • may perform small business duties, such as recruiting clients, marketing services, purchasing supplies and equipment and keeping financial records

Work environment

Most tailors, dressmakers, furriers and milliners work a 40-hour week. Those employed in retail may work evenings and weekends.

Working conditions for this group of workers are varied. Some work in large workrooms or factories, and others work within retail stores or in smaller shops with only a few co-workers. Those who are self-employed may work alone in a small shop or in a home workshop. Workplaces are generally clean, well lit, and well ventilated, however, sewing areas can be noisy and dusty. Some older factories may be cluttered, poorly lit and hot.

Tailors, dressmakers, furriers and milliners perform detailed, precise and sometimes repetitive work, which requires good eyesight and manual dexterity, as well as attentiveness. In some factories, new machinery and production techniques have decreased the physical demands on workers.

These workers can be susceptible to eye strain, sore shoulders and neck pain from spending long hours sitting in one position.

Insights from industry

Although the projected growth in B.C.'s population may increase the demand for clothing and the associated services of tailors, dressmakers, furriers and milliners, a number of factors are diminishing the need for these services.

The trend toward casual clothing styles is reducing the demand for tailored clothing. Job openings for furriers and milliners are expected to be limited, since the market for custom-made hats and furs is small. In addition, B.C.'s apparel companies are increasingly moving their clothing production offshore, reducing the number of local jobs available.

Although these factors will limit growth in the industry, future work prospects will remain high, mainly due to the large number of openings expected to result from retirements in the coming years.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

Some tailors, dressmakers, furriers and milliners begin their careers in an informal apprenticeship under a more experienced worker.

Progression to supervisory positions is possible with experience.

Additional resources