The profession of tailors dates to the late 1600s, when fitting people for coats, weskits, breeches and gowns was common, points out the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. In the 21st century, as Americans continue to gain weight, tailors stay busy fitting and altering suits, dress pants, shirts and wedding dresses. Tailors chalk garments that need cutting, write orders for seamstresses and track revenue and expenses. If you want to be a tailor, the first step is to work for one. Expect average hourly wages of around $12.50.
Wages and Qualifications
Tailors earned average wages of $14.02 per hour as of May 2012, reports the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, or $29,170 per year. The top 10 percent made $22.00 per hour. Educational requirements for tailors are minimal; some tailors don't even graduate from high school. Tailor businesses are often passed from generation to generation. To get a job as a tailor, work for one and learn the business. You can then consider opening your own business. Other key qualifications you need are an attention to detail and math, customer service, problem-solving and computer skills.
Wages by Industry
Average wages for tailors varied somewhat by industry in 2012. Tailors earned the highest wages -- $20.12 per hour -- working for apparel wholesalers. They also earned a relatively high wage in the film industry and in department stores -- $18.77 and $18.76 per hour, respectively. Expect to earn wages closer to the national average for tailors in clothing stores, around $14.36 per hour. Tailors working for dry-cleaning or laundry service companies earned $12.30 per hour.
Wages by State
Tailors earned wages of $17.89 per hour in Pennsylvania in 2012, reports the BLS. They also earned considerably high hourly wages in New York and Minnesota, at $17.80 and $16.05, respectively. In this field, hourly earnings cwere $14.77 or $14.17, respectively, in California or Michigan. But tailors earned somewhat less in Florida or Texas -- $13.24 or $12.08 per hour.
Jobs for tailors will increase 2 percent in the next decade, reports the BLS, much slower than the 14 percent predicted increase for all occupations. Today, people have cheap options for buying clothes and often purchase new ones instead of altering old ones. But jobs for tailors will be created by population increases in many areas, as proms, weddings and formal affairs remain in vogue. If you start your own tailoring business, target people with higher incomes, because they tend to use these services more often.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Sewers and Tailors
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Tailors, Dressmakers and Custom Sewers
- The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation: Tailor
- Monster: Tailor
- Jos. A Bank: Tailor Job Description
- Indeed: Seamstress Tailor
- Reuters: Fat and Getting Fatter: U.S. Obesity Rates to Soar by 2030
- Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images