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


Maluti TVET College, Northlink College, South West Gauteng TVET College

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