Dressmakers, also known as Seamstresses, along with Milliners, were considered to be at the top end of women’s employment and most Herefordshire villages had one or more.

A good dressmaker would prosper and eventually take on young girls as apprentices or just to assist, however in order to reach this level she would have to show exceptional ability as virtually every woman and girl knew how to sew and it was the first thing they thought of turning to as a means to making money. As a result, competition was high and remuneration low for the less than excellent seamstress. Still, it was respectable work for the middle classes who would not have contemplated rough labour or work as a domestic servant.