Sewing machinist

A sewing machinist


Sewing machinists sew components of wearing apparel together. They can repair and renovate wearing apparel by hand or by using a different sewing machines.

Sewing machinists typically do the following:

  • follow a set of instructions for each sewing job
  • sew different fabrics like cotton, wool, leather or industrial textiles
  • draw threads through and change machine settings for different jobs
  • feed material through the machine
  • stitch together clothes, samples or other items
  • check finished work against the pattern instructions
  • carry out quality control checks
  • clean and oil machines

Other titles

The following job titles also refer to sewing machinist:

sewing worker
sew on machinist
sewing operator

Working conditions

Sewing machinists can work in a factory, in a creative studio or from home. Their working environment may be noisy and dusty.

Minimum qualifications

No formal educational credential is generally required to work as a sewing machinist.

ISCO skill level

ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:

  • the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
  • the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
  • the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.

Sewing machinist is a Skill level 2 occupation.

Sewing machinist career path

Similar occupations

These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to sewing machinist.

embroidery machine operator
sewing machine operator
made-up textile articles manufacturer

Long term prospects

These occupations require some skills and knowledge of sewing machinist. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of sewing machinist with a significant experience and/or extensive training.

clothing process control technician
clothing CAD technician
textile chemical quality technician
textile operations manager
textile sourcing merchandiser

Essential knowledge and skills

Essential knowledge

This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of sewing machinist.

  • Buttonholing: The methods of buttonholing using specialised buttonholing machines in order to make buttonholes to wearing apparel.
  • Manufacturing of wearing apparel: The  processes used to fabricate wearing apparel and the different technologies and machinery involved in the manufacturing processes.
  • Manufacturing of made-up textile articles: Manufacturing processes in wearing apparel and made-up textiles. Different technologies and machinery involved in the manufacturing processes.
  • Apparel manufacturing technology: Traditional and advanced apparel manufacturing technologies. Technologies including processes, machinery, etc. in order to compile and design pattern requirements, contribute to product costing and finalise assembly sequence and quality assurance criteria.

Essential skills and competences

These skills are necessary for the role of sewing machinist.

  • Manufacture wearing apparel products: Manufacture either mass-product or bespoke wearing apparels of various types, assembling and joining together wearing apparel components using processes such as sewing, gluing, bonding. Assemble wearing apparel components using stitches, seams such as collars, sleeves, top fronts, top backs, pockets.
  • Distinguish accessories: Distinguish accessories in order to determine differences among them. Evaluate accessories based on their characteristics and their application in wearing apparel manufacturing.
  • Sew textile-based articles: Sew different products based on textiles and wearing apparel articles. Combine good hand-eye coordination, manual dexterity, and physical and mental stamina.
  • Distinguish fabrics: Distinguish fabrics in order to determine differences among them. Evaluate fabrics based on their characteristics and their application in wearing apparel manufacturing.
  • Alter wearing apparel: Alter wearing apparel repairing or adjusting it to the clients/manufacturing specifications. Perform altering by hand or using equipment.
  • Decorate textile articles: Decorate wearing apparels and made up textile articles by hand or using machines. Decorate textile articles with ornaments, braided cords, golden yarns, soutaches, jewellery, and cristals.
  • Operate garment manufacturing machines: Operate and monitor machines which make miscellaneous wearing apparel articles. Operate and monitor machines that fold cloth into measured length, and measure size of pieces.
  • Sew pieces of fabric: Operate basic or specialised sewing machines whether domestic or industrial ones, sewing pieces of fabric, vinyl or leather in order to manufacture or repair wearing apparels, making sure the threads are selected according to specifications.

Optional skills and competences

These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of sewing machinist. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.

ISCO group and title

7533 – Sewing, embroidery and related workers

  1. Sewing machinist – ESCO
  2. Sewing machinist | Explore careers – National Careers Service
  3. Featured image: Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash
Last updated on October 19, 2022

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