a dark blue TraitLab logo
Sign up

Have an account? Sign in

Career profile Tailor

Also known as Alterations Expert, Alterations Sewer, Bridal Designer, Clothing Pattern Designer, Custom Dressmaker, Custom Sewer, Custom Tailor, Dressmaker, Seamstress, Tailor


Also known as Alterations Expert, Alterations Sewer, Bridal Designer

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Artistic
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$20,940 - $58,050 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Time Management
  • Active Listening
  • Speaking
Knowledge Areas
  • Customer and Personal Service
  • Production and Processing
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Measure parts, such as sleeves or pant legs, and mark or pin-fold alteration lines.
  • Remove stitches from garments to be altered, using rippers or razor blades.
  • Sew garments, using needles and thread or sewing machines.
Is Tailor the right career path for you?

Would Tailor be a good fit for you?

Explore how your personality fits with Tailor and hundreds of other career paths.

Get started with TraitLab

What does a Tailor do?

Tailors design, make, alter, repair, or fit garments.

What kind of tasks does a Tailor perform regularly?

Tailors are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Measure parts, such as sleeves or pant legs, and mark or pin-fold alteration lines.
  • Remove stitches from garments to be altered, using rippers or razor blades.
  • Sew garments, using needles and thread or sewing machines.
  • Let out or take in seams in suits and other garments to improve fit.
  • Measure customers, using tape measures, and record measurements.
  • Fit and study garments on customers to determine required alterations.
  • Trim excess material, using scissors.
  • Assemble garment parts and join parts with basting stitches, using needles and thread or sewing machines.
  • Make garment style changes, such as tapering pant legs, narrowing lapels, and adding or removing padding.
  • Maintain garment drape and proportions as alterations are performed.
  • Take up or let down hems to shorten or lengthen garment parts, such as sleeves.
  • Repair or replace defective garment parts, such as pockets, zippers, snaps, buttons, and linings.
  • Press garments, using hand irons or pressing machines.
  • Fit, alter, repair, and make made-to-measure clothing, according to customers' and clothing manufacturers' specifications and fit, and applying principles of garment design, construction, and styling.
  • Estimate how much a garment will cost to make, based on factors such as time and material requirements.
  • Position patterns of garment parts on fabric, and cut fabric along outlines, using scissors.
  • Record required alterations and instructions on tags, and attach them to garments.
  • Confer with customers to determine types of material and garment styles desired.
  • Examine tags on garments to determine alterations that are needed.
  • Develop, copy, or adapt designs for garments, and design patterns to fit measurements, applying knowledge of garment design, construction, styling, and fabric.
  • Put in padding and shaping materials.
  • Sew buttonholes and attach buttons to finish garments.

The above responsibilities are specific to Tailors. More generally, Tailors are involved in several broader types of activities:

Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work
Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

What is a Tailor salary?

The median salary for a Tailor is $32,640, and the average salary is $36,040. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Tailor salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Tailors earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Tailors earn less than $20,940 per year, 25% earn less than $25,570, 75% earn less than $44,920, and 90% earn less than $58,050.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Tailors is expected to change by -7.4%, and there should be roughly 4,900 open positions for Tailors every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$20,940 - $58,050
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Tailors?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Tailor are usually higher in their Realistic and Artistic interests.

Tailors typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Also, Tailors typically have moderate Artistic interests. Artistic occupations frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Tailor tend to value Achievement, Relationships, and Independence.

Most importantly, Tailors moderately value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Second, Tailors moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Tailors moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Tailors must consistently demonstrate qualities such as cooperation, attention to detail, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Tailors, ranked by importance:

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Stress Tolerance
Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

What education and training do Tailors need?

Working as a Tailor usually requires a high school diploma.

Tailors need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Tailors

  • 24.7% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 32.1% completed high school or secondary school
  • 17.5% completed some college coursework
  • 7.0% earned a Associate's degree
  • 15.7% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.5% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.4% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Tailors

Tailors may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as customer and personal service, production and processing, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Tailors might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Economics and Accounting
Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking, and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Important Abilities needed by Tailors

Tailors must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Tailors need abilities such as visualization, arm-hand steadiness, and finger dexterity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Tailors, ranked by their relative importance.

The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Finger Dexterity
The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

Critical Skills needed by Tailors

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Tailors frequently use skills like time management, active listening, and speaking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Tailors, ranked by their relative importance.

Time Management
Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Social Perceptiveness
Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.