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Tailors, Dressmakers, and Custom Sewers Interview
Questions

32 Questions and Answers by Ryan Brown
Updated August 21st, 2018
Job Interviews     Careers     Design    

Question 1 of 32

Do you cut and make the entire suit, or do you work with a team?

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Answer Examples

1.

Do you cut and make the entire suit, or do you work with a team?

Give a direct concise answer.

Ryan's Answer

"I have 2 years of experience cutting and sewing trousers, and 1 year with waistcoats. I aim to be able to make an entire suit within 5 years' time. In the meantime, I do work with a team of other cutters."

2.

How do you handle a situation where a customer requests a style that you usually don't use?

Being adaptable and diplomatic are two desirable traits in any position. While the most appropriate answer will differ from company to company, showing your thought process is the main concern.

Demonstrate your listening ability and adaptability by indicating that you'll ask the right questions. Instead of saying, 'We don't do that style here,' you can highlight your customer service ability by saying something more encouraging. You want to strike a balance between pleasing the customer to secure his business and pleasing the business by reducing disruptions to normal operations.

Ryan's Answer

"I will ask the customer if he has considered our house style, which we are especially known for. I'll ask him where he saw that style and what he likes about it. I'll see if we can accommodate as much of the style as possible without making too many changes to our process."

3.

A first-time customer tries on a custom garment and expresses delight. However, you see that there are fit issues. What do you do?

Demonstrate your integrity and professionalism by s

Ryan's Answer

"I'd be very happy, of course. And I wouldn't express anything negative out loud to the customer. She doesn't need to know the specifics of everything, only that it can be made better. So I present that the garment's color and drape looks wonderful on her, and I silently note all the problems with the fit. Then I'll tell her that this garment will be even better once I'm done with it."

4.

You just finished a garment and realized that you made an irreversible mistake; the garment needs to be completely remade and cannot be altered. What do you do?

It's important that your response show that you take responsibility and are willing and able to learn from your mistakes. You'll win over the interviewer if you show humility and a proactive approach to the situation.

Example Answer: "Before taking this mistake to my boss, I'd look very carefully at what I did wrong. I'd ask myself, is there any way to save this? What could I have done differently to avoid this? At what stage could I still have saved the garment?

Then I would take the garment to my boss and apologize for wasting time and money. I'd suggest that we try to sell it as an irregular or put it in a sample sale."

Ryan's Answer

"Before taking this mistake to my boss, I'd look very carefully at what I did wrong. I'd ask myself, is there any way to save this? What could I have done differently to avoid this? At what stage could I still have saved the garment?

Then I would take the garment to my boss and apologize for wasting time and money. I'd suggest that we try to sell it as an irregular or put it in a sample sale."

5.

Why do you want to work for our company?

This is a broad question. While the most obvious answer is that you need a job, the interviewer wants to see that you took the time to do research about the company and can fit into the organization and it's mission.

In your response, highlight any commonalities that you share with the company. This can include anything from shared social connections, the company values, and professional knowledge.

Ryan's Answer

"I'm really interested in working here because I really like the styles that you create. I also read that you focus on weddings, and I love to be a part of those lifelong memories. The bride is going to look at her wedding pictures five, ten years from now, and she'll be looking at the dress that we made for her, and I really cherish that."

6.

A customer is asking you to make alterations that would be extremely time-consuming, and you have six other garments to work on, all with varying complexity. What do you do?

Be sure to show that you always set the customer's needs as the most urgent priority. Illustrate very clearly what your thinking process is, and do your best to arrive at a compromise. Showing flexibility and sound judgment would be good here. Remember, when it comes to situational roleplaying questions, it's usually acceptable to fill in details on your own if you need to. Alternatively, you can ask for more details about the situation. Finally, you want to end with an action that shows that you have the company's interest in mind.

Ryan's Answer

"I would ask her when she needs it by. If she needs it quickly, I'll see if those other garments can be delayed by checking the due date and seeing if there are things I can do faster or out of order. If there isn't a way for me to meet the deadline, I'll tell the customer and explain exactly why. Then I'll try to negotiate a more reasonable deadline so that we can secure her as a customer."

7.

How would you handle a situation where you have altered a person's same suit three times, but still, the customer insists it does not fit right?

Explain your thought process clearly by outlining your troubleshooting process.

Ryan's Answer

"I would have to look into whether this is a physical issue or a psychological one. If the feeling is physical, then the solution is different than if it's psychological. It's either a problem with the fit or the design, and I need to ask the client specific questions to see which one it is. Either way, three alterations is too much. I would apologize for the inconvenience and work with him to come to an agreement that satisfies him. At the end of the day, his satisfaction with the solution is all that matters."

8.

How long do you see yourself being a tailor?

It's important to be honest and expressive. Explain why you see it that way. Give brief points about your past, present, and future.

Ryan's Answer

"I love sewing garments, so I really see myself being a tailor for as long as my fingers still work. Ever since I was a child, I had a fascination with all the different ways a dress could be styled. That's why I went to school for it. And now that I have a solid foundation of knowledge, I want to continue to learn and grow in this profession."

9.

Give me an example of how you have an eye for detail.

As a tailor, dressmaker, or custom sewer, there is a lot of work that may go unnoticed to the untrained eye. Paying attention to the tiniest details is an indicator of the quality of work you'll be able to produce.

Give a concrete example that demonstrates your attention to detail. Structure the story to give the situation and problem, then build up the difficulty of the solution, and end with the impact of your attention to detail. If you can talk about a situation where your attention to detail somehow benefitted the business directly, that would be best.

Ryan's Answer

"A client came to us one time and gave us what looked like two identical suit jackets that we had made for him. They were both two-button navy suits with notch lapels, patch pockets, side vents, and both were solid in color and pattern. He wanted to return jacket A.

After poring over all the details, I asked him why he liked jacket B better. He said that it made him look slimmer. I drilled deeper and discovered that he felt that jacket A had a wider midsection.

I took several measurements and saw that the dimensions were the same. And that's how I came to measure the width of the patch pockets. One of them was a quarter inch wider and a quarter inch shorter. Such a tiny detail created a big impression. Since it was a patch pocket we easily made a new one for him and saved us money by preventing a full return."

10.

How do you deal with a situation where you're asked to handle a new cloth that you never used before?

Do show that you're adaptable. Demonstrate your thinking process. Be complete and show that you're taking the business' interests into account.

Example Answer: "I'll ask for a good sized sample of the cloth and ask the mill for the technical specifications. I'll need to touch and handle the cloth with my own hands so that I know how it'll drape on the body. If it's appropriate for the garment, I'll move forward with it. Otherwise, I'll explain why it isn't good for this use, and how it'll affect the customer."

Ryan's Answer

"I'll ask for a good sized sample of the cloth and ask the mill for the technical specifications. I'll need to touch and handle the cloth with my own hands so that I know how it'll drape on the body. If it's appropriate for the garment, I'll move forward with it. Otherwise, I'll explain why it isn't good for this use, and how it'll affect the customer."

11.

What factors do you consider when making alterations that the customer requests?

Using technical language to answer this question is acceptable and even desirable because you want to demonstrate your technical expertise. Attention to detail is important here. However, don't throw in jargon just for the sake of it.

Example Answer: "I would take into consideration what the client wants first and foremost. How does she want to appear? If he is short, does he want to appear tall? If she is slender, does she want to appear curvy? For example, if a man is short, and he wishes to appear tall, I would hem his trousers with a slight break."

Ryan's Answer

"I would take into consideration what the client wants first and foremost. How does she want to appear? If he is short, does he want to appear tall? If she is slender, does she want to appear curvy? For example, if a man is short, and he wishes to appear tall, I would hem his trousers with a slight break."

12.

Your company just took an order for a highly customized dress for a wedding, and the deadline is much closer than you're accustomed to. How do you feel? How do you handle this situation?

Be honest about your emotional reaction and mitigate any negative impacts it may have by explaining your thought process and steps that you take to manage your emotional reaction. It's important to give a detailed enough reply to show how you would solve the problem as well.

Ryan's Answer

"I'd be a little bit nervous and annoyed because most of the time my bosses have backed me up and set realistic deadlines. I'd look into the project and see if there's anything that we can do to speed things up, even if it's not something we usually do. For example, can we ask the fabric supplier to give us a rush order? Can we hire some extra outside help just for this one dress? Then I'd do my very best, I'd work late if I have to. And I'd make sure to talk to my boss afterwards and negotiate a better understanding of her expectations of what's possible."

13.

What makes a good tailor? And a bad one? Please give examples.

Be sure to know standard technical and objective standards for creating garments. Acceptable standards of time and cost may be variable from one company to the next—mention these if appropriate. You can move the conversation to demonstrate your values. Beware of focusing on the negative. Mention it, but point out the upsides.

Ryan's Answer

"A bad tailor makes whatever it is that he's used to making for everyone else. A good tailor makes the customer happy and self-assured. You have to make the garments as quickly as you can without making mistakes. David Brown in downtown produces poorly fitting suits, but he does have good prices. Duskers uptown is good because they provide good fitting suits and great customer service at a reasonable price."

14.

Do you see yourself more as an artist or an engineer? Why?

There are different needs. They may be looking for creative talent, someone to develop a new look. Or they may be looking for someone who is happy to continue creating garments according to an established style. In either case, it helps to show that you can be a little bit of the other. For instance, if the role is to continue making garments in the established style, you can mention that you're always happy to contribute to developing something new.

Ryan's Answer

"I'm more of an engineer. I'm very precise and I enjoy working according to a system. Sometimes I can be a bit of an artist as well: I like to see if there's something new to add to the design, maybe something I saw in a magazine, for example."

15.

A prospective customer is making very specialized requests. Your boss is eager to take on the customer, but you're not confident that you can do a good job on that garment. What do you do?

Demonstrate your confidence in your professional ability and frame your natural response to this scenario in a positive way. It's perfectly fine to be nervous. What's important is to overcome the challenge. A good answer will show how you'll do so with concrete steps.

Ryan's Answer

"Of course we should try to take on new customers, that's good for the business in terms of money. But I'll ask my boss if this is the kind of garment that we want to start making, because usually if it's something this unique, this person will start referring us more customers with the same kind of requests. It may be more of a headache for us in the long run. I'm fine with making new things, and I love to do it, but the boss needs to understand the impacts on the business.

If the boss has heard what I have to say and decides to move forward with this client, then I'll have to make sure my boss has the right expectations. It's something that we haven't done before, so we need to set realistic expectations of when the garment will be done. It may require special fabrics or thread that we might not usually have, and it will take me a little longer to get comfortable with these new materials.

Of course, at the end of the day, I love to make new garments, it's exciting and helps me grow. I see it as a chance to learn something new and a way to add value to the company."

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32 Tailors, Dressmakers, and Custom Sewers Interview Questions
Win your next job by practicing from our question bank. We have thousands of questions and answers created by interview experts.

Interview Questions

  1. Do you cut and make the entire suit, or do you work with a team?
  2. How do you handle a situation where a customer requests a style that you usually don't use?
  3. A first-time customer tries on a custom garment and expresses delight. However, you see that there are fit issues. What do you do?
  4. You just finished a garment and realized that you made an irreversible mistake; the garment needs to be completely remade and cannot be altered. What do you do?
  5. Why do you want to work for our company?
  6. A customer is asking you to make alterations that would be extremely time-consuming, and you have six other garments to work on, all with varying complexity. What do you do?
  7. How would you handle a situation where you have altered a person's same suit three times, but still, the customer insists it does not fit right?
  8. How long do you see yourself being a tailor?
  9. Give me an example of how you have an eye for detail.
  10. How do you deal with a situation where you're asked to handle a new cloth that you never used before?
  11. What factors do you consider when making alterations that the customer requests?
  12. Your company just took an order for a highly customized dress for a wedding, and the deadline is much closer than you're accustomed to. How do you feel? How do you handle this situation?
  13. What makes a good tailor? And a bad one? Please give examples.
  14. Do you see yourself more as an artist or an engineer? Why?
  15. A prospective customer is making very specialized requests. Your boss is eager to take on the customer, but you're not confident that you can do a good job on that garment. What do you do?
  16. What are some of the ways you keep up with fashion trends?
  17. Have you ever made a sewing mistake you could not correct? How did you handle the situation?
  18. Tell me about a time when you failed to meet a delivery deadline. How did you try to improve the situation?
  19. How many years of experience do you have with tailoring or sewing?
  20. You hemmed a garment for a customer and it's too short by contemporary fashion standards. How do you handle the situation?
  21. Tell me about a time when you were very proud of what you made. Why were you proud?
  22. Tell me about a time when you overcame a problem to finish a garment.
  23. Have you ever had a customer compliment you? What did he or she say?
  24. There's a thread in a buttonhole that is the wrong color, but it would be very hard for anyone to notice. What do you do?
  25. What do you enjoy the most about being a tailor/dressmaker?
  26. What did you dislike about the last company that you worked for?
  27. How do you handle very demanding customers who firmly believe that they know what's best?
  28. Tell me about a time when a customer offended you and how you handled it.
  29. What are some techniques you use to reduce wasted time? Wasted fabric?
  30. How would you handle a situation in which one of your garments needs alteration, and your superior recommends a tailoring technique that you don't believe would be effective?
  31. How do you handle stressful situations?
  32. Why are you the best candidate for us?
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