Tailors make garments to customers' specifications. They follow the process through from start to finish and their tasks include: helping the customer choose the right fabric and style of garment; taking the customer's measurements; and developing a design for the garment or modifying an existing design.

A tailor may draw an individual pattern or alter a standard pattern to fit the customer, then cut and assemble the garment. The customer is then called for a fitting and the garment is put on and the tailor marks areas requiring alterations. The alterations are then done, zippers inserted, button-holes made and buttons sewn on, plus any decorative features.

Many tailors specialise in alteration work, as there is a demand for this service in retail stores and dry-cleaners, which offer alterations as part of their service.

Those that work in clothing factories need to acquire the necessary technical knowledge in all phases of clothing production.


  • large tailor shops (manufacturing garments for up-market or specialised boutiques)

  • larger retail stores (ready-to-wear garments need to be adjusted to fit customers)

  • clothing factories

  • self-employment, set up own tailor shop

Getting Started

  • arrange to visit your nearest CITB regional office and speak to the principal of the training centre

  • try sewing clothes for yourself or friends

  • arrange to speak to tailors about this type of career and watch them at work


City Varsity, Design Academy of Fashion, Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion Design, FEDISA, Gaborone Academy of Education, Inscape Education Group, Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, LISOF, Maluti TVET College, Northlink College, South West Gauteng TVET College, Spero Villioti Elite Design Academy, YMCA Comprehensive Institute

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