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Best Sewing Books for Beginners

The internet might have made it easier to access any sort of information on any type of interest including sewing, but, brace yourselves for the cliché, nothing really matches the feel of a book.

The romanticism of sensation experienced through the feel of the pages and smell of the paper aside, though, a book holds a fair bit of advantage over the web pages on other fronts as well. It’s compact, everything you need to know is in it, it doesn’t feature unnecessary links and advertisements, and you don’t end up purchasing a shower speaker while turning its pages in search of inspiration.

Therefore, if you are new to sewing, it’s better not only to only shuffle through my blog to get ideas, but also to invest in some books that you can keep by your side at all times.

In this post, I am going to give you a list of books that will address the needs of beginners for good beginning projects, tips, and techniques. Some of the books I’ll recommend might even satisfy the advanced sewers in their pursuit for challenging ideas and further improvement.

Sew Me! Sewing Basics (2013, Design Originals) by Choly Knight

Sew Me! Sewing Basics: Simple Techniques and Projects for First-Time Sewers (Design Originals) Beginner-Friendly Easy-to-Follow Directions to Learn as You Sew, from Sewing Seams to Installing Zippers

Since I started this website, I’ve been holding myself back not to make a pun with “sue” and “sew”. Choly Knight apparently didn’t do that and thought that it would make a very good title, but that lapse of judgment can be easily forgiven by just taking a look inside the book.

Sew Me! appeals to those who have never sat in front of a sewing machine before. To that end, it contains simple and thoroughly detailed directions on a variety of topics, from the very basic acts of choosing a sewing machine or fabric for a certain project, to relatively complicated practices such as making repairs, cutting patterns, and sewing seams. All those basics are accompanied by fifteen simple yet satisfying projects, including cushions, scarves, and hats.

And, believe me, it’s nothing like those old, dreary, and complicated-looking sewing books that you might have seen in the library of your mother or grandmother. In just 144 pages, Choly Knight is able to introduce you to all the fun, economy, and self-expression that sewing enables by allowing you to master essential skills.

If you hate books that won’t stand still once you let go of them, however, be ready to spend ten extra dollars on a spiral-bound print. That way, you’ll be more comfortable checking out the directions and patterns you’re working with while both your hands are employed on the machine.

The book was first published in 2013, so it might be a bit outdated now, but it will still be worthwhile for beginners and a great addition to your library.

Sew Me! Sewing Basics: Simple Techniques and Projects for First-Time Sewers (Design Originals) Beginner-Friendly Easy-to-Follow Directions to Learn as You Sew, from Sewing Seams to Installing Zippers
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Knight, Choly (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 11/01/2013 (Publication Date) - Design Originals (Publisher)

The Sewing Book (2018, DK) by Alison Smith

The Sewing Book: Over 300 Step-by-Step Techniques

Those who don’t like unimaginative puns in book titles, rejoice! The Sewing Book by Alison Smith has the most straightforward title ever.

One might even further argue that it is the ultimate sewing book on the market and its worldwide popularity and bestseller status can attest to that. Furthermore, it was released five years later than Sew Me! that I recommended above, so it’s only fair that it features more up-to-date techniques, patterns, and recommendations.

The techniques, skills, and patterns included in the book are all accompanied by clear instructions, illustrations and/or photographs, making it both fun and more accessible than its peers that only have figures.

Moreover, Alison Smith was kind enough to include a glossary for sewing terms. I think that’s a very necessary and utterly brilliant idea, and if you are just a beginner who hasn’t yet come to terms (I am so, so sorry, Choly Knight, for criticizing your pun as a lapse in judgment) with sewing terminology, I know you’ll agree with me on this and be grateful to the author for clearing up the thick air.

The Sewing Book doesn’t contain projects and instructions only for beginners in its 400 pages, but also for the advanced seamstresses and seamsters who are looking to better themselves. In addition to that, the author makes recommendations in regards to tools, kits, and gadgets that might be useful for improving results and guides the reader on how to use them. I, personally, found that incredibly useful and thought that the book was worth its price for that alone.

The Sewing Book: Over 300 Step-by-Step Techniques
  • Hardcover Book
  • Smith, Alison (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 03/06/2018 (Publication Date) - DK (Publisher)

Singer Complete Photo Guide to Sewing (2009, Quarry Books) by Editors of Creative Publishing

Singer Complete Photo Guide to Sewing - Revised + Expanded Edition: 1200 Full-Color How-To Photos

If you are going to call me out on including a book published in 2009 while criticizing another one from 2013 for being possibly outdated, let me ask you: have you ever heard of Singer?

Even if you have never come close to a sewing machine in your life, there is a great possibility that you have heard of Singer and you know how durable a Singer is. I mean, my mom still uses a 40-year-old Singer machine – the exact one she had learned sewing on and won local awards as a proud young lady. Therefore, any guide they might have released in any year is still worthy of mention and praise.

However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that the only merit of this complete photo guide is that it’s collected by Singer. In over 350 pages, it features 1,200 photographs that cover how to sew, how to choose tools and kits, and how to use machines while also introducing you to many step-by-step projects that include pillowcases, tablecloths, and fashionable dresses.

As it only contains visuals, it’ll be great for those who don’t like having to deal with words and sewing numbers that might be confusing at times – barring the fact that those who don’t like dealing with words are probably not reading these words either.

All in all, it’s not only a great book for beginners but also for the skilled sewers who want to draw inspiration from the centurial Singer experience. I’d go even further and claim that it’s a must-have for any library.

Singer Complete Photo Guide to Sewing - Revised + Expanded Edition: 1200 Full-Color How-To Photos
  • Editors of Creative Publishing (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 01/01/2009 (Publication Date) - Quarry Books (Publisher)

Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking (2014, Roost Books) by Tilly Walnes

Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking

Tilly Walnes deserves an award for not only making great dresses with her company, Tilly and the Buttons, but also for having the best book title in the sphere of sewing. After seeing either bad puns or soulless directness, she promises a bout of fresh air and, guess what, she delivers on that promise in just under 200 pages.

As the subheading Demystifying Dressmaking heralds, Love at First Stitch is written for those who want to make their own dresses in the comfort of their home, and Tilly Walnes, being a DIY laborer herself, knows what you are looking for in a dressmaking book for beginners: clear-cut instructions supported by step-by-step photographs, a watering down of the sewing jargon to ease beginner confusion, and seven full-scale, multisize, highly fashionable patterns for gorgeous garments.

Most importantly, though, in her informal style, she aims for beginners to build up enough self-confidence to master skills for making fabulous dresses. If that’s not a way to win hearts in the world of sewing, I don’t know what is.

It’s my favorite book that’s specifically on dressmaking, and it’s been one of the best sewing books ever since the day it’s been published – if not just the best.

Love at First Stitch: Demystifying Dressmaking
  • RST-2344
  • Walnes, Tilly (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 10/14/2014 (Publication Date) - Roost Books (Publisher)

Idiot’s Guides: Sewing (2013, Alpha) by Cinnamon Miles

Sewing (Idiot's Guides)

This one’s for readers who are potentially into or preferably comfortable with self-deprecation, but if I were you, I still wouldn’t place it on a visible corner of my library – just hide it along with your Dan Brown novels.

To be clear, however, despite what recommending an Idiot’s Guide might suggest, I think you are quite clever. For one, at least you have figured out how sewing might benefit you both economically by reducing your expenses on clothings of many kinds and stylistically by allowing you to sew garments more fitting to your sense of beauty. As long as you are intent on that path, with the guidance of Cinnamon Miles, you’ll start sewing what your heart desires in no time at all, even if you haven’t yet tried your hand on a sewing machine by the time you are reading this post of mine.

Similar to the majority of books on the list, Miles’s guide also features colored, step-by-step illustrations for techniques, patterns, and instructions. Furthermore, it contains information on how to choose and cut fabric, and how to create seams and finishes.

In case you are worried about the quality of the visuals within the book, let me assure you by telling you that Cinnamon Miles is also quite a proficient photographer.

Sewing (Idiot's Guides)
  • Used Book in Good Condition
  • Miles, Cinnamon (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 09/03/2013 (Publication Date) - DK (Publisher)

How to Start Sewing: The How and Why of Sewing for Fashion Design: Sewing Techniques with Matching Patterns (2019, Assembil Books) by Assembil Books

How To Start Sewing: The How and Why of Sewing for Fashion Design: Sewing Techniques with Matching Patterns

The last book on my list is a giant: it has 630 pages. Even if you haven’t sewn anything yet, you’ll probably want to after purchasing How to Start Sewing because of its sheer weight, and even if you don’t, it doesn’t really matter because you’ll just look like a professional sewer with its presence on your library or bedside table.

Appearances aside, though, it’s everything you look for in a sewing book: a great guide for beginners with its straightforward language, a course book for those who are hungry for knowledge (written better than an Anthony Giddens book at least), and a perfect reference book for experienced and skilled sewers as it offers thorough guidance.

No matter what your skill level is, How to Start Sewing is a must-have.

How To Start Sewing: The How and Why of Sewing for Fashion Design: Sewing Techniques with Matching Patterns
  • Assembil Books (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 630 Pages - 11/13/2019 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)


I might have said it many times before and I’ll probably say it many times going forward: sewing is easy and fun – once you get the hang of it. When it comes to getting started, getting ideas and inspiration, or building enough confidence in yourself to have belief in the act, it might get a bit tricky.

But there is no need for worry, because that’s what I am here for, and where I am not enough for you, there are all these wonderful books to get you started with their amazing designs and clear cut instructions. They’re here to make you believe in yourself with motivational sections and improve your skills with great tips and excellent guidance.

Last update on 2023-12-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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