A day in the life of a Tailor

I can see from the surprised look on your face that you did not expect to find a Tailor on board a cruise ship.

Let me introduce myself. My name is Alina and I had never thought of working on board a ship when I first started my apprenticeship as a tailor.

This is one of the job requirements – you need to be a professional tailor. Since there is normally only one Tailor Position on board, you really need to know what you are doing.

Let's go to my work place, which is close to the Laundry, down on Deck 1, and I'll show you around.

Here we are, close enough to be nice and cozy but not steaming hot like inside the laundry.

As you can imagine anything that has to do with repairs for guests has absolute priority. If guests have lost a button, damaged a zipper or ripped a shirt or pants, they hand them to their Cabin Steward who drops off the garments in a laundry bag, marked with the cabin number and name of the guest. Some Stewards are really helpful and also make a note of what needs to be fixed.

That huge box behind the door holds the repairs waiting to be done. If you like you can help me. How are your sewing skills ?

First I sort though and prioritise everything. Crew members also drop off their Uniforms here.

I keep a logbook of the repairs I need to make, recording which garment belongs to which cabin. I find it unbelievable, that people need a Tailor to sew on a loose button! I guess since this service is provided free of charge here on board people just want to make the most of it.

Can you fix these buttons? Here is a needle and thread.

The guests in cabin C503 have handed in a pair of trousers with a broken zip. I will need to put in a new one, but that's no problem I will use the sewing machine.

Thank you so much for your help. We are up to date with the repairs so let's go for a coffee and then check with the linen keeper and the laundry master to see what bed linen and uniforms there are to fix.

There is not much you can do to repair damaged towels, so these are just re-used as crew towels where possible. If there is a lot of damage or the towels are very stained then they are ripped up and stored in rag bags, as rags are always needed in the Engine Room for cleaning and in other Departments.

Bed linen, table cloths and napkins are repaired by me as long as they are otherwise in a good condition and the repair is not visible.

Of course I also need to look after the uniforms. The ones in stock are all in good condition, however crew members frequently bring me their uniforms to have them fixed.

I also do alterations to uniforms – keeping strictly to the guidelines of the company. For instance there is no way that a crew member will suddenly wear a mini-skirt instead of a knee-length skirt. Even some crew members keep trying!

This was a fun day, and I am glad you will also be with me tomorrow to help me with altering the uniform of that new crew member and make it fit perfectly.

Enjoy your evening.

Alina Dumitru, Romania