Sample machinists are a key part of the design team in clothing manufacturing. Their work involves producing samples or 'mock-ups' of garments to show designers or customers how the finished items will look. They work with a variety of materials, such as cotton, wool and leather.
As a sample machinist, you may work on a number of different product lines or concentrate on a particular style, for example sportswear.
When creating a sample garment, you would:
Once you have made a 'mock-up' garment, you would:
With experience, you would carry out quality control checks during a production run and you may help other machinists during busy periods. You may also work directly with customers who supply their own design details.
You would usually work around 37 hours a week. Occasionally, you may need to cover additional hours to meet deadlines.
You would work alongside the design team in an office, away from the main production area, to allow you to share ideas quickly and easily.
Sample machinists may earn between £12,000 and £18,000 a year. With experience, this may rise to between £20,000 and £30,000.
Typical employers range from exclusive designer and couture houses to larger manufacturers or fashion design houses, supplying high street clothing chain stores.
Jobs can be advertised in the local press, Jobcentre Plus offices, through Directgov (Jobseekers page), in industry magazines like Textile Horizons and Textile Month and on websites such as Drapers.
You would normally move into this job after gaining experience as a sewing machinist on a production line (see the Sewing Machinist job guide for more details).
Alternatively, you could take a college course in creative arts, which would cover some of the skills needed to get started in this career.
Courses like the City & Guilds Certificate/Diploma in Creative Techniques in Fashion at levels 1 to 3, includes options in:
- Sewing Machine Techniques
- Machine Knit Textiles
- Machine Embroidery
- Pattern Cutting
You may also be able to get into this work through an Apprenticeship scheme with a clothing manufacturer or textiles company. Some companies may ask for a number of GCSE's before offering you a place.
The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.
Once working, your employer may provide training covering different production methods, techniques, fabrics and product types.
You could go on to take a range of courses that may help your career prospects, such as the qualifications awarded by the ABC exam board in subjects such as:
- Manufacturing Sewn Products Level 2
- Fashion and Textile awards
- ABC Diploma in Apparel, Footwear, Leather or Textile
- Production, levels 2 and 3
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
A sample machinist needs:
With the right experience, you may get the opportunity to progress to higher-level technical roles or quality control (see the Garment Technologist and Quality Control Technician job guides for more information).
Alternatively, you could use your knowledge of the production process to move into clothing design.
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Focus Point, 21 Caledonian Road,
London N1 9GB
The Textile Institute,
1st Floor, St James's Buildings,
Oxford Street, Manchester M1 6FQ
Tel: 0161 237 1188
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.