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Sample machinist

Sample machinists produce samples of garments to show designers or customers how finished items will look.


Arts, Crafts and design

Average annual salary

£15,000 to £30,000

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Entry Requirements:

There are no set entry requirements. Employers will expect you to have literacy and numeracy skills, be able to read instructions and understand measurements.

You'd usually have experience as a sewing machinist on a production line.

You could also learn some of the skills needed by doing a college course in fashion and textiles, or get into this job through an apprenticeship.

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Required Skills:

You'll need:

  • excellent hand and machine sewing skills
  • the ability to communicate ideas and offer suggestions for alterations
  • the ability to use your own initiative
  • the ability to meet deadlines under pressure
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What you’ll do:

Your day-to-day duties might include:

  • checking all pattern pieces are present to start a job
  • following fabric, colour and size instructions from the designer and pattern cutter
  • using a range of industrial machines like overlockers and binders
  • stitching sections together and adding labels to them
  • pressing the garment to give it a 'finished' appearance
  • advising the design team about the best way to construct the sample
  • discussing any 'tweaks' to the design instructions before the item goes into production

You might work on a number of different product lines or concentrate on a particular type, like sportswear.

You'll be expected to handle a range of woven and knitted fabrics, both natural and synthetic.

You might also:

  • carry out quality control checks during a production run
  • help other machinists during busy periods
  • work directly with customers who supply their own design details
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Starter: £15,000 to £18,000
Experienced: £20,000 to £25,000
Highly Experienced: Up to £30,000

These figures are a guide.

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Working Hours:

37 hours per week

You’ll usually work around 37 hours a week. You may need to do extra hours to meet deadlines.

Part-time and freelance home-working is sometimes available.

If you work on company premises, you'll usually be with the design team in an office, away from the main production area.

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Career Path:

With experience, you could progress to higher-level technical roles, like garment technologist or quality control technician.

You could also move into clothing design.

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