Difference between a Stitching Operator and a Tailor

In the garment industry, these two terms operator and tailor are used interchangeably. But an operator and a tailor have different kind of skill levels and different job responsibilities. A stitching operator basically involved in running one stitching machine and doing one job only where the tailor is involved in doing all kind jobs to make a garment from fabric to finished garment

A Tailor
In the age of industrialization, garments are produced in large volume in the factories that is equipped with a large number of sewing machines. In mass production, garments are made in the assembly lines. In the assembly line workers perform only one specific operation throughout the day. Even throughout the season and year. These stitching workers are called as an operator. They operate only one kind of machine. An operator can run and might have a skill of running more than one machine types. But in most cases in the assembly line, they are allocated to a single operation.

An Operator (Stitching machine operator)

Operators are given training on specific operations only to improve their skill on the job and eliminate the variation between garments of the same design, which are the requirement for the mass production. But a tailor is trained to make a complete garment with other activities as said above.

On the other hand, a tailor run stitching machines, stitch complete garment and he or she also cut the fabric for the garment. She makes the whole garment by using one machine or more than one machine. The person who runs a tailoring shop does all kind of jobs required to make the custom-made garment from body measurement to cutting fabric to stitching, pressing and finishing the garment. This person is a true tailor.

In a garment factory, in the sampling room stitching operators do multiple operations, even a complete garment is made by one operator. He can be considered as a tailor technically. For example, for high fashion garment stitching factory the whole garment (dress) is made by one operator. This operator can be called as a tailor.

A tailor does all kind of garment repairing and alteration jobs.

An operator works in an organization and earns a salary where a tailor can be self-employed and run his own business.

Prasanta Sarkar

Prasanta Sarkar is a textile engineer and a postgraduate in fashion technology from NIFT, New Delhi, India. He has authored 6 books in the field of garment manufacturing technology, garment business setup, and industrial engineering. He loves writing how-to guide articles in the fashion industry niche. He has been working in the apparel manufacturing industry since 2006. He has visited garment factories in many countries and implemented process improvement projects in numerous garment units in different continents including Asia, Europe, and South Africa. He is the founder and editor of the Online Clothing Study Blog.

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