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Related Occupations
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Sewers and Tailors

Sewers and tailors sew, join, reinforce, or finish clothing or other items. They may create new pieces of clothing from patterns and designs or alter existing garments to fit customers better. Show Details

Duties

Sewers and tailors typically do the following:

  • Measure clients to ensure that clothing will fit properly
  • Cut and measure fabric according to the pattern or design
  • Mark garments to note where alterations are necessary
  • Open seams to hem garments and to make other alterations
  • Sew clothing by hand, using a needle and thread or with sewing machines
  • Fit clothing on customers to determine if additional alterations are necessary

Sewers and tailors can specialize in alterations or in sewing custom garments.

Those who do alterations ensure that clothes fit customers properly. They make changes to garments, such as hemming pants to make them shorter or taking in seams to make clothing smaller.

Some specialize in a certain type of garment, such as bridal gowns. Others specialize in a particular type of material, such as fur. Fur tailors may restyle older clothing, add a fur collar to a coat or a dress, or sew the inner lining of a garment to the inside of fur skin by hand.

Some dressmakers and custom sewers work with designers or customers to create new garments. They take orders from customers and help them select fabric and colors. When working with a designer, tailors help translate designs into finished pieces of clothing. For example, a couture dressmaker may work with a fashion designer to create exclusive custom-fitted clothing.

In addition to working with clothing, sewers may produce other items, such as textiles and quilts. Hand weavers produce custom-made textiles, such as placemats, napkins, and pillowcases. Hand quilters produce a bed cover or display item, traditionally composed of two layers of fabric.

Some sewers and tailors own their business. In these cases, they may do management and administrative tasks, such as managing the business’s finances and taking orders.

Upholsterers

Upholsterers make, replace, and repair coverings on furniture and in vehicles. Show Details

Duties

Upholsterers typically do the following:

  • Consult with clients to discuss alterations to the furniture and to help customers choose fabric
  • Estimate costs for the project, including approximate fabric and labor costs
  • Inspect furniture to find needed repairs in the frame, upholstery, and springs
  • Remove and replace old and worn padding, filling, and broken springs
  • Measure, cut, and sew fabric, and attach it to the furniture frame with tacks, staples and glue

Upholsterers put on covering and cushions to create new furniture and update old furniture and vehicle interiors. Although some upholsterers specialize in either working with old furniture or creating new furniture, most do both.

Upholsterers need to stay current with trends in furniture design and styles. They help choose fabrics that meet their customer's lifestyle, preferences, and needs. For example, upholsterers may help a client who has young children choose a long-lasting and durable fabric for a family room sofa that matches other furniture.

Sometimes they have to choose fabrics that meet building codes—such as being fire resistant—or fabrics that reflect the style of the building. They also may work with interior designers and architects who need furniture for a new building. For more information, see the profiles on interior designers and architects.

Upholsterers may specialize in working on cars and other vehicles. These workers create and replace upholstery for the interiors of cars and other vehicles. They upholster seats, carpet floors, and cover door panels. To replace interiors with another fabric or other material, such as leather, these workers first remove the seats from the vehicle before replacing the upholstery.

Some upholsterers own their business. In these cases, they may do management and administrative tasks, such as managing the finances of their business and taking orders.

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