While not required, most seamstresses will have a high school diploma or equivalent certification. While many seamstresses will choose to go from high school straight into a career, there is some formal training available in vocational programs and junior or community colleges. These programs offer training in fabric selection, garment design and garment construction as well as basic sewing skills. The availability of these programs has been reduced due to the decrease in demand for custom tailored clothing.
The vast majority of seamstresses train while on the job, usually in an apprenticeship. They may begin in a local tailor's shop, acting as a receptionist or keeping the books. If a position becomes available, they may graduate to apprenticeship with the shop's tailor or seamstress, who will teach them the skills of the trade. After gaining many years of experience, seamstresses may eventually take over the shop or branch out on their own.