Share this page

Select an icon:

Article: Textiles Industry

Summary

This article covers the following jobs:

  • Clothing Alteration Worker
  • Garment Technologist
  • Dressmaker
  • Dyehouse Operative
  • Dyeing Technician
  • Pattern Cutter/Grader
  • Presser - Clothes
  • Sewing Machinist
  • Tailor
  • Technical Dyer
  • Textile Designer
  • Textile Operative
  • Textile Technician
  • Textile Technologist.

The job descriptions are only a brief summary. It is recommended that you do further research on jobs that interest you.

Video: - Various: Textiles, Ceramics and Glass

Textile production

Textile production covers a range of careers, from design to production of material. Some careers are open to people with few or no qualifications while others require a foundation degree, HNC, HND or a degree.

Most jobs require a technical knowledge of yarns, dyes, manufacturing processes and machinery. Many of the jobs require physical fitness, accuracy, good practical skills, and good eyesight and colour vision.

Health and safety are important in this work and protective clothing may need to be worn. Shift work and overtime are common.

Textile Technologist

Textile technologists apply scientific and technical knowledge to solve problems related to the manufacture of fibre, yarn and fabric. Textile technologists may be employed as production engineers, production managers, computer managers or quality control managers. Alternatively, they may work in research and product development.

Production engineers and managers advise on the selection and maintenance of machinery and carry out research to discover more efficient methods of production.

Computer managers program computers with patterns and processes that other machines are to follow.

Quality control managers carry out laboratory-based tests on yarn and coloured fabrics. They test for things such as strength and colour durability.

In research and product development, textile technologists undertake research to find new ways of using yarns. They develop chemicals that may be added to fabrics to make them more waterproof, flame-resistant or shrink-resistant. They may also experiment with textiles to improve their look, feel, texture and durability.

Most textile technologists have a degree in a science or technology subject.

Textile Designer

Textile designers create designs for fabrics, carpets, wall-coverings and soft furnishings.

Textile designers' duties vary according to where they work. Those working for a small company may spend most of their time reworking traditional designs. In large companies, there is usually a small team of designers who create new ideas.

Designs are prepared using traditional materials such as pens and paints, or computer-aided design (CAD) systems. When the design is finished, a sample is produced. If this is satisfactory, it is made into the final product.

For entry to this job, you usually need a degree or HND in a subject such as textile or fashion design.

Textile Operative

Textile operatives are involved in all the processes in textile manufacturing, from the raw materials stage to completing the finished product. The majority of operatives specialise within one area of textiles, such as woollens, cotton, carpets or lace.

Most operatives are responsible for monitoring and controlling textile machinery. They operate machines that:

  • sort and clean raw materials
  • spin and twist yarn
  • weave and knit
  • dye and print.

They are also involved in finishing jobs, such as checking for flaws and quality, and applying chemical treatments to fabrics.

No qualifications are usually needed to enter this job.

Some people enter via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Textile Technician

Textile technicians are responsible for setting up, adjusting, timing and maintaining machinery used in textile production. Some textile technicians specialise in quality control. Much of this work involves carrying out laboratory tests. Duties include:

  • Checking the evenness and breaking strength of yarn.
  • Testing the abrasion resistance, crease recovery and tear strength of fabric.
  • Finding out if dyed material is colour-fast.

Some people enter this career via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Training for this work is mainly on-the-job.

Dyehouse Operative

Dyehouse operatives work the machines that are used for dyeing materials, fibres or garments. They load the material to be dyed, with the appropriate dyes and chemicals, into the machines. They set up the machinery to operate in a certain cycle for a specified length of time.

During the dyeing process, operatives check the machinery to ensure that it is working correctly. Operatives are also responsible for cleaning the machinery and for the general cleanliness and tidiness of the dyehouse.

No academic qualifications are usually needed to enter this job.

Some people enter via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Dyeing Technician

Dyeing technicians make sure that textiles are dyed correctly and meet customers' requirements.

In the laboratory, the dyeing technician measures out dyes and chemicals using something called a recipe sheet. They then compare strength and shade of dye to make sure it matches their sample. Colour matching is very important. A small difference in shade can have a big effect on the end result.

The technician decides on the dyes and processes to use, and carries out tests for analysis of chemicals, colour matching and colour-fastness of the dyed samples. Quality control is an important aspect of the work.

Some people enter this career via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Training for this work is mainly on-the-job.

Technical Dyer

Technical dyers are responsible for the dyeing of material in bulk, and for supervising the work of dyehouse operatives. The dyer receives an order that specifies that a certain material should be dyed a particular shade.

The dyer then consults a colour 'library' - a record of previously dyed materials - to see whether that particular shade has been ordered before. If it has, the dyer uses the 'recipe' from the colour library.

If the shade has not been used before, the order may be sent to textile technicians to work out a recipe.

The dyer then passes instructions for dyeing to the dyehouse operative. While the material is being dyed, the dyer monitors progress, and at the end of the dyeing period checks a sample of material against the specified shade. If necessary, adjustments are made.

Technical dyers also liaise with customers, order dyes and chemicals, calculate costs, and file and update recipes stored in the colour library.

Some people enter this career via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Training for this work is mainly on-the-job.

Some dyers go on to take higher level qualifications, such as foundation degrees, HNDs or degrees. Subjects related to textiles and colouration are useful.

Clothing manufacture

Clothing manufacture covers careers in making or repairing garments to a quality standard. Some careers are open to people with no or few academic qualifications, while others require an HNC, HND, foundation degree or a degree. Most work in this area requires:

  • a knowledge of garment production
  • an ability to concentrate for long periods of time
  • an ability to work accurately, quickly and with attention to detail
  • good eyesight
  • good numerical and practical skills.

Overtime and part-time work are common.

Sewing Machinist

Sewing machinists stitch fabric by guiding it through a sewing machine to make up garments. They usually sew only one part of the garment or operate one type of machine. However, in some companies, machinists make a whole garment or become skilled in using different machines.

Sewing machinists have to thread up the machine, perform the machining process, check for mistakes and correct faults. The work is highly skilled and machinists are usually paid for each item they finish.

You do not usually need any educational qualifications to enter this work.

Some people enter via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Presser - Clothes

Pressers use steam, temperature and pressure to remove wrinkles from fabric or garments.

Pressers use a variety of machines to do their work depending on the garment being pressed. Pressers have to judge the correct temperature and amount of steam required for the material being pressed.

Many pressers work in dry-cleaning shops, where they will have other duties as well as clothes pressing.

You don't need any qualifications to enter this kind of work.

Some people enter via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Training will mainly be on the job.

Pattern Cutter/Grader

Pattern cutters/graders create patterns that are used in the manufacturing of clothing. They work from drawings provided by designers.

Using the standard size final pattern, graders change the shape of these patterns. This allows production of clothes in different sizes. Although cutting and grading are two separate jobs, the same person may often perform both roles.

Computers are used more and more for this kind of work. However, there are some cutters who like to work by-hand.

There are several ways a pattern can be made. For example, the pattern cutter will drape material over a dummy. The material is then cut into pieces that are shaped and pinned around the dummy. Finally, the cutter will use the pieces to cut out a paper or card pattern.

Entry to this career is sometimes as a school leaver after GCSEs, A levels or equivalent qualifications. Many people enter as pattern cutting/grading assistants and work upwards.

Some people enter this career via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Training will mainly be on the job.

Dressmaker

Dressmakers make a range of clothing, including dresses, for customers. Dressmaking involves measuring the customer, helping to select a fabric, and perhaps advising on style.

The dressmaker then gives a price after taking into consideration the cost of materials, and the length of time needed to make the garment.

The customer's measurements are developed into a pattern that is put onto the fabric. After the fabric has been cut, it is pinned and tack-stitched together for a fitting.

The dressmaker then carefully sews the garment together, using different types of stitches. The work is completed on a sewing machine. Once completed, the garment is pressed.

You do not usually need academic qualifications to enter this work.

Some people enter this career via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Training will mainly be on the job.

Tailor

Tailors produce made-to-measure, handcrafted garments and make alterations to items of clothing such as suits and overcoats. Tailors advise customers on the range of fabrics and styles for a particular item of clothing and take measurements.

Then, a pattern is made and put on to the fabric. The pieces of cloth are cut and usually sewn-up by hand, as this produces a better finish.

The customer may need to have several fittings before the item is finished. Once the garment has been made up, the tailor presses it.

Some people enter this career via an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Training will mainly be on the job.

Clothing Alteration Worker

Clothing alteration workers make adjustments to all types of garments, which are made from various kinds of fabric. The work is carried out from instructions given by the customer. Garments may be altered by hand or by machine.

Alterations include repairing damaged garments, shortening or lengthening clothes and replacing zips and buttons. Garments are pressed once alterations are complete. Alteration workers also need to maintain their own machines.

You do not usually need any educational qualifications to enter this job. Most people who enter this type of work have experience in garment production. Any training is carried out on-the-job.

Garment Technologist

Garment technologists make sure that garments meet quality standards while being manufactured by the most efficient and cost-effective methods. To do this, they must understand how the manufacturing equipment works, and also know about the materials and their suitability for different purposes.

Technologists check that all manufacturing processes are running smoothly, solving problems as they arise. They also investigate reasons for failing to reach production targets or for high rejection rates from the quality control department.

Entry to this work is usually after an HNC, HND, foundation degree or degree in a relevant subject.

Some people enter this career via an Advanced Level Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles.

Further Information

Society of Dyers and Colourists (SDC)

Tel: 01274 725138

Email: info@sdc.org.uk

Website: www.sdc.org.uk

Coloration Technology

Publisher: Society of Dyers and Colourists

Website: www.sdc.org.uk/en/resources/publications/coloration-technology/

London College of Fashion

Address: 20 John Princes' Street, London W1G 0BJ

Tel: 020 7514 7400

Email: enquiries@fashion.arts.ac.uk

Website: www.fashion.arts.ac.uk

Textile Institute

Address: 1st Floor, St James's Buildings, Oxford Street, Manchester M1 6FQ

Tel: 0161 2371188

Email: tiihq@textileinst.org.uk

Website: www.texi.org

Drapers: The Fashion Business

Publisher: EMAP

Address: Greater London House, Hampstead Road, London NW1 7EJ

Tel: 020 3033 2600

Website: www.drapersonline.com

Croeso i Gyrfa Cymru

Dewiswch iaith

Cymraeg

Welcome to Careers Wales

Please select your language

English