Bespoke Tailor & Cutter

Bespoke tailors and cutters produce tailored garments that are cut and made to a unique pattern for an individual. Many of the skills are carried out by hand in order to produce a garment that fits precisely to a customer’s requirements. Bespoke tailoring forms the heart of the British menswear and womenswear industry and has an international and iconic reputation.

Bespoke tailors and cutters have practical skills in bespoke garment manufacture and pattern construction. This Apprenticeship Standard is comprised of mandatory core skills and knowledge with a choice of specialising in either tailoring or cutting as a career path.

The skills involved in bespoke tailoring cover a wide area of expertise that includes craft, technical, creative and design. These skills are fundamental to the bespoke tailoring industry and ultimately have to be employed with great precision, to high standards of excellence and within realistic time constraints. 


Core skills for tailors and cutters:

  • Follow clear instructions from relevant colleagues precisely.  
  • Follow and maintain work procedures.
  • Select, use and store equipment and materials for example correct storage of patterns, purchasing materials and stock control.  
  • Identify and minimise hazards and risks in the workplace through safe working practice.  
  • Make the most efficient and effective use of resources, time and materials.  
  • Develop good communication skills with all staff in the company.

Specific skills for tailors:

  • Develop a good working relationship with the cutter in order to receive the cut and trimmed garment bundle.  
  • Be able to canvas a coat by hand and prepare garment for the first fitting baste.  
  • Disassemble a garment and amend construction as per cutters instructions.  
  • Prepare garment for second customer fitting having completed all alterations as instructed by the cutter.
  • Complete the final alterations.  
  • Hand make the buttonholes.  
  • Hand finish the garment inside and out.  
  • Press and prepare the garment for the final customer fitting.  
  • Number and log each garment

Specific skills for cutters:

  • Prepare materials and trimmings for the garment.  
  • Have overall responsibility for the outcome of the finished garment.  
  • Organise purchasing of materials and stock control.
  • Liaise with the customer to ascertain their individual requirements.  
  • Measure the customer and analyse any figure variations that need to be addressed.  
  • Carry out a number of appropriate fittings
  • Construct patterns.  
  • Lay out patterns, mark in cloth.  
  • Cut cloth and prepare bundle ready to give to the tailor.
  • Carry out effective bespoke selling and after care.  
  • Discuss and advise on style of garment and cloth selection for specific use.  
  • Work as part of a team within a company.


Core knowledge for tailors and cutters:

  • How to interpret instructions based on a customer’s requirements.  
  • Effective use of equipment and safe working methods.  
  • Bespoke terminology and its use in the workplace.  
  • The need for standards of workmanship to be achieved.
  • The characteristics of a variety of fabrics and their suitable application to construction.  
  • How heritage supports textile brands in the bespoke industry.  
  • How traditional manufactured cloth processes meet British and European standards and are fit for purpose.
  • The heritage and culture of bespoke and its relevance and influence on today’s luxury market.

Specific knowledge for tailors:

  • How to make bespoke coats (jackets) trousers, waistcoats and skirts.  
  • The fitting and reassembling instructions in order to support the company’s workflow procedures.  
  • How to baste these garments through the adjustments process to final finishing, pressing and completion.
  • How to maintain a flow of production ensuring quality standards that meet the customer specifications.
  • The need for high standards of workmanship to be achieved.  
  • The balance between maintaining the quality of finish and the time and cost to the company

Specific knowledge for cutters:

  • Cloth characteristics and their behaviour.  
  • The importance of developing a good working relationship with the tailor.  
  • The importance of timely workflow to the company.  
  • The principles of garment construction for a range of garments such as jackets, trousers, waistcoats and overcoats.
  • How to measure an individual customer in order to create their pattern.  
  • How different figure variations should be corrected.  
  • The need for customer satisfaction with a luxury garment.
  • How to produce economical lays to company standards.  
  • The importance of correct ticketing and instructions.
  • Diplomacy and effective communication skills.  
  • The role of the cutter the interface between the customer and the tailor.  
  • A range of styles and fashion trends and suitability of style to individual customers.


  • Adherence to appropriate Health & Safety procedures within the workplace.  
  • A commitment to maintaining high standards of precision and excellence as appropriate to the craft.
  • A focus on the requirements of the customer.  
  • An ability to work effectively both individually and as part of a team.  
  • A strong work ethic and commitment in order to meet the standards required.  
  • A recognition and appreciation of equality and diversity in the workplace.

Entry Requirements

Employers will set their own entry requirements but typically candidates will be proficient in complex stitching and making processes. Apprentices will need to achieve Level 2 English and Maths. ?


Typically 2 years. The timescale may reduce if an apprentice can demonstrate sufficient practical skills on entry.

Professional Qualification / Recognition

Higher Apprenticeship: Level 5 

Originally published on, this information has been re-used under the terms of the Open Government Licence.


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