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Sample Machinist

Eye for detail  |  Meticulous  |  Creative  |  Accurate

A Sample Machinist constructs sewn products following specifications and quality standards, providing a sample product that is then replicated and produced on a larger scale. They need to be creative, have an eye for detail and be able to work quickly and accurately within a team.

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What would you do?

A Sample Machinist not only makes the first sample but also helps determine the best production method for each design. They are extremely proficient sewers. They work with different types of sewing machines, materials and trimmings and create samples to a high level of accuracy, often working under pressure to meet customer or season deadlines.

Day to day tasks

  • Interpreting sewn product designs
  • Sewing cut pieces to create sewn products​
  • Reviewing finished samples and production techniques​
  • Managing resources and timescales​

Top Tip

This job may also be referred to as Garment Maker, Sample Maker, Dressmaker or Tailor.

Where would you work?

Sample Machinists typically work in small fashion and textiles production units, in a sample room, tailors or on the factory floor, interacting with production tailors, designers, product technologists, pattern cutters, fabric cutters, quality controllers and sewing machinists.

Self-employment and freelance work from home is also an option for sample machinists with significant experience.

What would you be paid?

Typical working week


Average pay​

£23- 0 k
per annum

For a typical working week of approximately 39 hours:

  • A Sample Machinist starting salary on average is £23,000 per year
  • Experienced garment makers salary on average is £35,000-£45,000 per year

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

Will you need qualifications or training?

Some form of relevant training or qualification is required.

Qualifications and short courses relating to this job role are offered by a number of awarding organisations and training providers such as a Level 3 Award, Certificate, Diploma, HNC or foundation degree in pattern cutting, fashion or garment technology.

A Garment Maker Apprenticeship is also available for those wishing to train on the job.

Degrees and HNDs in fashion and textiles and related subjects are also available and should be considered, particularly in preparation for a career in fashion. 

What are the career prospects?

Experience could lead to a position as head sample machinist or a career in product development, design, or merchandising.

Why work in fashion manufacturing?

The UK fashion manufacturing industry is in high demand and a steady growth is predicted to continue, with multiple factors responsible – the rise of fast fashion demanding a responsive, local supply base; a rapid move towards demonstrating a transparent and ethical supply chain and an increasing consumer led demand for ‘Made in the UK’.

Although the UK has a well earned reputation for high-end, small volume production, the sector also supplies high street retailers demanding higher production volumes and shorter lead times.

The fashion manufacturing industry relies on skilled individuals, trained to a high level and research indicates there is a need for thousands of new entrants.

Imagery and video content with thanks to Goisa London, Emilia Wickstead, The Production Lab, MAES London & Blackhorse Lane Atelier.

Wage information correct at date of editing, March 2023.

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