Sewing machinist

sewing machine operator seamstress
Manufacturing and production

Career outlook for sewing machinist

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would stitch pieces of material together to make products such as clothes and furniture.

You would:

  • Choose the right sewing machine settings for each job
  • Feed fabric sections through the machine
  • Stitch together clothing or fabric products
  • Check that finished work matches pattern instructions
  • Clean, oil and look after machines
  • Follow health and safety guidelines

You would need to be good at following plans.

You could specialise on one machine such as a flatbed, or use a number of machines to produce different finishes. You might also use computerised sewing machines that read from a digital design pattern.

You may work with a variety of fabrics, such as cotton, synthetics, wool and leather, and on a number of different product lines. You may stitch industrial textiles, for example those used in making sails or car mats.

Working conditions


In a full-time job you would usually work around 40 hours a week. This could be on a shift basis, and early starts are common. There may be opportunities for overtime or part-time hours.


You would normally work as part of a team in a factory and spend most of your time sitting at a machine. The work can be repetitive and factories can be noisy.

UK employment status





Self employed


Create a qualification route

We've found some examples of the qualifications that could help you get this job.

Discover my route

Search course options

Thinking about your future? There are lots of courses available that could interest you. Use our course search to explore course options.

Find courses

Search job opportunities

If you're looking for your new career our job search can help you. Discover interesting opportunities and decide your next steps.

Find a job

Here are some of the skills needed for this job. Sign in to see how your skills match up.

  • Reliable
  • Time management
  • Taking initiative
  • Managing resources
  • Implementing ideas
  • Concentrating
  • Attention to detail
  • Cooperating
  • Observation
  • Problem solving

Skills Explorer

Your skills can help you choose the career that's right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

Our Skills Explorer tool will help you understand what skills you have and match them to jobs that might suit you.

Use the Skills Explorer tool

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5. 

It may be helpful to gain a fashion and textile National Certificate, National Qualification or BTEC Diploma (SCQF level 5/6).

To enter a relevant National Certificate, National Qualification or BTEC Diploma (SCQF level 5/6) you will require a minimum of four subjects at National 4 or three subjects at National 5.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Fashion and Textile technologies

Helpful to have

Relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Manufacturing Textile Products (SVQ level 1/2/3) or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.