There is a ton of great books on sewing for people just starting out and we’ve made a list on some of our favorites to share with you. If you are looking for some more advanced books for that next level sewing, we’ve made another post for books that go more in depth on techniques, patterns and draping for the little more advanced sewist.
Books are great resource for sewing techniques, as they stay consistent over the years even if the fashion changes. So learning these basic techniques, tips and tricks is something everyone should pick up when starting with sewing. Since the techniques themselves don’t change much, there is no need to get the latest version or even a brand new book. Get whatever fits your wallet the best! If you have any books that think should be added to this list, feel free to leave a comment below.
Best Beginner Sewing Books
The Reader’s Digest Complete Book of Sewing – This book is very informative but still manages to keep it simple so beginners won’t get lost in the details. It is packed with lots of clear and useful pictures that help you understand and organised in a way that makes it easy to follow. Through the chapters there are nice project that correspond to the topic being discussed, reinforcing the key points and make it easy to follow.
Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing by Gretchen Hirsch – This book gives an excellent overview of how to sew different types of vintage-style clothing along with some with some haute-couture techniques. This might not be the first book you should pickup if you are just starting out as it can get quite technical at some points. However, once you have little but of experience this really is a great starter book. Myself I’ve found so many new ideas and techniques to try through this book.
Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes – This is a fantastic book for anyone wanting to make their own clothes. It covers all the very beginner things you need to know if you’ve never touched a sewing machine before, but also does a fantastic job of moving along at a fast pace so you are constantly improving. Working with this book for a week and you’ll instantly see how much progress you will make!
The Sewtionary: An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques and Definitions by Tasia St. Germaine – This is a fantastic book for those small things you want to look up but don’t want to bring out that book that gets deep into the sewing techniques. It’s got plenty of great information about a many different sewing techniques but serves more as reminders than beginner instructions. If you for instance can’t remember French Seams, grab this book and it provides great reminders are not too in-depth but it ticks all the boxes.
Alabama Studio Sewing Patterns: A Guide to Customizing a Hand-Stitched Alabama Chanin Wardrobe by Natalie Chanin – This is another great book by Natalie Chanin and from her company Alabama Chanin, that makes lovely garments that are hand sewn and beautifully embellished. Where this book really excels is in the ability to outline very simple and easily designed garments that anyone, even a beginner sewer, would feel comfortable in sewing by hand.
Mending Matters: Stitch, Patch, and Repair Your Favorite Denim & More by Katrina Rodabaugh – This book gives ideas how to remake and save clothes, and other textiles instead of just throwing them away, often referred to as slow fashion. This book is not for everybody but highly recommended for those who would like to learn about slow fashion and why it is important and those wanting to learn about and make patchwork denim.
SEW: The Garment-Making Book of Knowledge: Real-Life Lessons from a Serial Sewist by Barbara Emodi – This book features many down to earth examples with smart tips and clever techniques. In a very practical and conversational way, the author emphasizes the important aspects in garment construction. Barbara offers tips and patter advice that any sewists will find helpful.
Tilly and the Buttons: Make It Simple: Easy, Speedy Sewing Projects to Stitch Up in an Afternoon – by Tilly Walnes – This book isn’t as much focuses on techniques as the others listed in the post. It has some simple easy to follow projects that anyone can create. The instructions are clear and easy to follow along with plenty of photos so you won’t go wrong anywhere.
Vogue Sewing – This really is a great resource for a beginner sewist and includes a plethora of information about practically anything relating to sewing. We recommend to pick this one up and keep it as a reference book. It has nice defined illustrations in light blue shading where needed and helpful.
Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer – Everything you ever needed to know about fitting but have not learned yet. In terms anyone can understand, this book addressed every problem you might run into and help understand why you have that particular fitting problem and how to solve it. This book offers a lot of handy tips on how to easily do routine things and is a great book to keep on your sewing cabinet at all times!