Don’t get turned off by the idea of a book if you’re not that big on reading — whether you’re an advanced sewist or a beginner, having a few sewing books does more good than harm. Here are 10 of the best sewing books that can dramatically accelerate your progress in your sewing life. I personally have been sewing for almost a decade and I still refer to books now and then.
For beginners, a sewing book will be extremely useful for you to start your sewing learning journey. Some of them even come with downloadable patterns to print out while you follow the steps in the book — yes, it’s so simple!
But then again, there are a lot of sewing books out there — and I mean, a lot. Some books are designed for those who just started sewing while others are tackling very specific areas like knit fabric or draping. So you see, it’s a whole library of sewing books!
Don’t panic just yet, because that’s where this article comes into play. I’ve shortlisted the 10 best sewing books to start your sewing book collection with. You know what they say: you can never have too many sewing books.
So without further ado, let’s get into the list!
1. Love At First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking
A lot of people are raving about this book, and they should. It’s a pretty solid book. Love At First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking is written by Tilly Walnes, and she not only has written this one book but a few more that are just as useful! Dresses are the perfect garment piece to start off, and in this book, Tilly covers a wide range of variations with step-by-step instructions accompanied by pictures.
What’s more, there are paper patterns included with the book for you to print out yourself and follow along with!
This book covers essential techniques like sewing zippers along with tips and tricks that’ll help you out in the long run. Aside from the technical aspects of matching seams and pressing gathers, Tilly also included fun mini-articles like “how to behave in a fabric store” to spice the book up!
2. The Complete Photo Guide To Clothing Construction
Written by Christine Haynes, this book’s title says it all — The Complete Photo Guide to Clothing Construction is the perfect addition to any sewing enthusiast’s library. It covers all the basic fundamentals of sewing with step-by-step pictures to guide you along the way.
There’s a section for most of the basic types of garment including dresses, skirts, trousers and jackets. In each section, Christine covers the various aspects to constructing that specific garment.
Even expert sewists still refer back to this book as there are tons of techniques that you don’t use often, so it acts as a refresher course for them. So don’t worry, it’s not a book which you’ll have it tucked away after you’ve leveled up to intermediate.
3. S.E.W. (Sew Everything Workshop)
A lot of sewing enthusiasts started off with this book, S.E.W., which stands for Sew Everything Workshop by Diana Rupp. It’s probably one of the best sewing books out there to date. It does sound kind of dry, but it’s nothing like a manual — instead, it’s like having Diana right next to you and guiding you through all your sewing endeavours.
At the beginning of the book, you’ll read on how to set up your sewing space, tools you ought to get, how to thread your machine, read a pattern and much more. All of them have pictures to accompany each step so you won’t be lost.
This book has 25 projects of various levels to build up your sewing skills. They’re not only garment projects but also accessories and home decorations. Each project introduces you to various techniques that you’ll use quite often.
Patterns are included in the book, so don’t worry about that either. However, for those who want to try out pattern drafting, there are also easy projects included in this book to ease you into the art of drafting!
4. Tilly and The Buttons Stretch
Another Tilly book — of course, she’s amazing, so why not have two of her books on the list? This book is recommended for not only beginners but also advanced sewists as well. Tilly and The Buttons Stretch covers…stretchy fabrics. You’ll learn everything you need to know to tackle the challenging knits!
The projects introduced in this book are all built on each other, so you’re going to level up with each new project you undertake. Not only will you learn how to handle knit fabrics, but you’ll also learn how to set up your machines and tools to sew them.
Similar to Love At First Stitch, you’ll get patterns included with the book, but you’re also given a couple of tips on how to adapt and change it up as you like. You’ll learn everything from beginner skills to the more complicated ones like handling stretch velvet and the like!
5. Vogue Sewing
This is one book that sewing enthusiasts swear by. It’s such a classic, and you can never go wrong with it. Vogue Sewing has been reprinted and printed so many times because it’s extremely popular.
Many wouldn’t recommend this book for beginners as there’s quite a bit of advanced stuff in there, but I think it’s a must-have in everyone’s collection. It pretty much covers any questions and doubts you have about sewing in your head. It’s a basic, essential reference book to have in your sewing book library.
If you combine this book with a couple of others, not only will you be able to improve your sewing but also understand the various types of seams, darts and fitting. When you can grasp that information, you’ll be able to alter just about anything to suit your own sewing projects.
6. A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing With Knitted Fabrics
Here’s another book about dealing with knitted fabrics. I started off not touching a knit fabric for a while because I was so afraid of them, but if I had known about books like A Beginner’s Guide to Sewing With Knitted Fabrics, I wouldn’t have delayed it for so long.
There are extremely useful tips in the book throughout when it comes to dealing with knitted fabrics, so for those of you who have doubts and questions, this is the answer to them all! There are a total of 6 projects in it, but all of them can be altered and made into more variations.
7. How To Start Sewing: Sewing Techniques with Matching Patterns
As you can tell by the title, it’s basically a book that’s going to teach you all about sewing. How To Start Sewing covers all the fundamentals — from teaching you how to sew basic construction like attaching a cuff to how to read a pattern.
If you’re a bit above the beginner level, not to worry, you’ll also be able to benefit from this book. On top of the basics, this book teaches you how to understand where and why darts go a certain place, the importance of pressing the right areas and so much more.
So as you can see, it’s a book you need to have in your sewing library!
8. Breaking The Pattern: A Modern Way to Sew
Here’s another book that tons of people swear by — Breaking The Pattern: A Modern Way to Sew is a book written by a power duo who own their own indie pattern company called Named Clothing. With their own successful company, you’re sure to get a good deal out of their book.
In this book, you get tons of sewing patterns, each with their own variations. So instead of getting just 10, you get more than that. Not only that, the instructions in each project comes with clear and easy pictures to follow and guide you through the entire process.
9. Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials For The Modern Wardrobe
I love the colour black, so this book, Basic Black: 26 Edgy Essentials For The Modern Wardrobe, is my personal favourite! If you love Yohji Yamamoto and Commes des Garcons, you’ll love this book as well — it’s basically a combination of the two.
The writer, Sato Watanabe, encompasses the exact same vibe, and in this book, he’ll guide you on how to achieve the same aesthetics too — by sewing your own edgy essentials.
In this book, a total of 26 patterns are included. It does look quite messy but when you get the hang of it, it’s not bad at all. You’ll learn not only fundamental techniques and advanced ones but also the Japanese aesthetics to go along. It’s a win-win — killing two birds with one stone!
10. The Makers Atelier: The Essential Collection
Don’t be put off by the minimalist outlook — The Makers Atelier: The Essential Collection is actually a legit essential! It has pretty much everything from fitted to drapy, beginner techniques to advanced. It’s such an all-rounder book that I think every sewing enthusiast should have!
This book includes quite a few sewing patterns already, but tons of them are adaptable to other variations, so you’re not confined to only the few ones in the book. Not only are pictures included in the step-by-step instructions but also technical drawings for clarification!
So there you have it — the 10 best sewing books to begin your sewing library with. All of them are great at fundamentals and variations, and each has their own strong points. So, whichever book you decide to buy first, you’re not going to miss out. Get on purchasing them online now!