Sewing Machinist

A Sewing Machinist uses stitching skills to create stitched items, from fashion accessories to medical textiles. Sewing machinist skills are fundamental to production across the industry. They need to work quickly, using specialist industrial machinery, have an eye for detail and be able to follow instruction.

What would you do?

Sewing Machinists can produce a wide range and variety of products from clothing and fashion items to leather goods, soft furnishing, knitwear, marine and medical textiles. They can work alone or as part of team, on one aspect of sewing the product or on various operations. Whatever the product, Sewing Machinist skills are highly valued and fundamental to the sewn product manufacturing process.

Day to day tasks include:

  • Organise and maintain of an efficient workstation
  • Operate specialist industrial sewing machines
  • Work with a variety of materials, threads and trimmings
  • Use given sewing production techniques and methods

Where would you work?

Sewing Machinists can be employed by large, medium, small or micro size textiles business. They can be based in a design studio, workshop or on a factory production line, depending on the size of the business.
Conditions can be noisy, work can be repetitive and deadlines have to be met.

What would you be paid?

For a typical working week of approx. 39 hours

  • A sewing machinist starting salary on average is £12,000-£14,000 per year
  • An experienced sewing machinist salary on average is £16,000-£18,700 per year.

Pay rates vary depending on age, experience, location and the size of the company. Additional benefits may include pension and health care. Many companies offer overtime, bonuses or piece rate in order to meet deadlines.

Sewing Machinist Apprenticeships: Employers, by law must pay the government’s apprenticeship minimum wage rate. Research show that many fashion and textiles employers supplement this rate of pay.

Will you need qualifications or training?

Experienced is preferred, however employers are keen train new sewing machinist and qualifications are not required. Training is delivered on-the-job; either on the production floor or in a training section. Employers may also register new trainees onto the Level 2 Sewing Machinist Apprenticeship

Qualifications relating to the Sewing machinist are available via ABC Awards, City & Guilds, Pearson, SQA and UAL

What are the career prospects?

Experience could lead to a sample machinist, team leader, supervisory or quality control role, or a career in staff training, product technology. Self-employment and freelance work from home is also an option for sewing machinists with significant experience.

How secure is the future of this career?

TThe UK’s world-class textile manufacture base is growing, thriving and continually investing. Sector employment continues to grow steadily from 97,000 in 2011 to 108,000 in 2016, with an added 19,500 self-employed and research estimates the creation of 20,000 new jobs by 2020.

The number of UK textile & apparel manufacturing businesses has increased annually from 7190 in 2013 to 8075 in 2017 with forecast of further growth.

Textile goods exported across the globe continues to grow with export increases recorded at £250M in March 2016 to £273M in March 2017.

UK Fashion & textile manufacture covers traditional craft to technical textiles and has a production value of £9.1BN, add the wide fashion sector this increases to £28.1BN sector – 4.7% of the total UK economy.

For further information go to:

Where can you find job vacancies?

Vacancies are advertised across the UK with concentration in London, the Northwest, West Yorkshire and the Midlands. Check out the latest vacancies on the site below:

Total Jobs
Drapers Jobs

Sewing Machinist Apprenticeship vacancies:

Some apprenticeship vacancies are ‘open to application’. With details on how to apply within the job vacancy details, these can be found on the job sites listed above. Apprenticeship vacancies can also be found via the ‘Find an Apprenticeship’ Service. For further information, advise and tips on how to apply for an apprenticeship vacancy see the UCAS site. (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales)

The websites above are external and the number of job vacancies may vary. Check daily to see new opportunities as they are posted!


Textiles Institute
Northern Clothing Network
British Fashion Council