Learn to Sew – Helpful Books

by Erin W

These days with so many online tutorials, YouTube videos, blogs, patterns and programs, it’s very easy to get distracted and not know where to start on your sewing journey. Instead of being overwhelmed or spending large amounts of money on online tutorials, videos or subscriptions, why not start with something a little more basic… a book!

When you have so much information at your fingertips it’s easy to forget about the idea of hiring or buying a simple book that will guide you through the very basics of sewing, fabric types, techniques, tips, tricks and much more! Plus, if you search your local library you will often find a number of different topics whether you’re interested in the very basics, learning how to sew for children, learning how to make quilts, applique, embroidery, dressmaking and the list goes on. Best of all, this information is ready available to you for a simply library subscription.

Image – Book Depository (Sewing Books)

Most sewing books also come with a number of fun, unique projects, including well written instructions and photo examples, making learning how to sew a breeze! There’s been so many times where I’ve omitted a pattern piece, such as a welt pocket because I didn’t understand the instructions included in the sewing pattern. Other times you might attempt it, getting it wrong or even wreck your fabric causing unnecessary stress or frustration. These are the types of sewing techniques that are often difficult and hard to find online. However, learning these techniques play a huge role in your sewing development, advancing you from a beginner to an intermediate sewer. It also allows you to create beautiful, well made garments – including all of the pattern features!

So I would start by encouraging your to look up your local library, browse through their collection catalogue and put a few on hold. It’s a great place to start! Plus, you can read through each one and double check that they fit your sewing requirements before you commit to actually buying anything.

Sewing Book Recommendations

The Dressmakerss Bible by Lorna Knight

If you’re brand new to sewing you might find it difficult to read and understand a pattern. The Dressmaker’s Bible is the perfect book to get you started on your sewing journey. It runs through everything you need to know before you even pick up a pattern. You can refer back to it to understand what they mean by different sewing techniques, such as a single-pointed dart, box pleat, gather and many more. With detailed explanations, picture diagrams and sewing tips on each technique you can’t really go wrong. No matter what level you’re at, this is the perfect book to refer back to throughout your sewing journey.

The Dressmakers Bible

Vogue Sewing

Vogue sewing is another incredibly useful book, highly recommended for beginner sewers. It covers how to dress for your body type, fabric types and uses, understanding patterns, sewing tools and equipment, how to prepare your fabric, pattern fitting and adjustments, sewing techniques and much more. It even includes information on how to alter any pattern to suit your body shape and size. It’s the ideal book for anyone starting off sewing and even those who are intermediate wanting to take their sewing to the next level.

vogue-sewingVogue Sewing

Colette Handbook by Sarai Mitnick
or BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook by Nora Abousteit and Alison Kelly

Both of these books are backed by very popular pattern companies BurdaStyle.com and Colletepatterns.com. Two very different approaches in guiding you through the basics of sewing, pattern information, fabric types, sewing techniques and best of all they both include a number of different basic patterns to get you started.

BurdaStyle has done an incredible job of showing you a basic pattern, including a number of ways you can change it to suit your own style. Including picking out different colour material, adding embellishments such as lace, buttons, piping or beads, all of which dramatically changes the finished product. It’s a brilliant way to understand the potential of a basic sewing pattern.

burdastyle-handbookBurdaStyle Handbook

The Colette Handbook provides you with five adorable patterns including detailed photo instructions on how to fit and finish your garment step-by-step. It’s the perfect book to show you that if you’re patient and apply the right sewing techniques you will always succeed in making a beautiful, well finished garment.

colette-handbookThe Colette Sewing Handbook

Clothing Alterations Secrets Revealed by Judith Turner

If you’re wanting to learn how to sew to simply refashion or update your current clothing then Clothing Alterations Secrets Revealed by Judith Turner is a great start! She takes you through a number of different methods and techniques to alter ready made clothing. These eBooks give you step-by-step instructions on how to alter or fix a number of different garment features such as hems, cuffs, fixing zips, jackets, jeans, dresses, taking in your clothes or letting them out.Learning these techniques will ensure that you will never have to take your clothing to be repaired for a costly price ever again.


You can purchase Judith Turners Clothing Alterations Secrets Revealed in an eBook or eBook bundle.

This is just a small selection of books available to you as a beginner, intermediate and advanced sewer. There are so many more to list but the idea is to discover the sewing books that appeal to your own sewing goals.

What sewing books helped you learn how to sew?

We would love to hear from you which books helped you learn how to sew. Please comment below to help out our beginner sewers looking to starting this incredible hobby.

2 thoughts on “Learn to Sew – Helpful Books

  1. Michelle says:

    One of my favorite places to look for books is the CFQ bookshop at Nundah. They sell second hand and donated books and you never know what gem you may find. It’s where I found my copy of Simple Modern Sewing among a few other sewing books I picked up as well.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s