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Best sewing books for beginners

Updated on August 26, 2013

Best "learn to sew" books for beginners

Sewing is a fun and very rewarding hobby, and, if you want to improve your sewing skills, books with good illustrations and step-by-step instructions work wonders. Whenever you need an easy project idea, clarification of a sewing technique, or help with sewing terminology, you can always refer to a book on your bookshelf. I myself have a few sewing guides in my book collection, and here I am sharing my list of best sewing books for beginners.

When you are learning to sew on your own, sewing books are a great learning tool. But it is important to get the sewing books that can teach you the very basics, so that you don't get discouraged with projects you can't complete. The best sewing books for beginners are the ones that can introduce you to the basics of working with a sewing machine, patterns, and the basic sewing tools, without over-complicating the learning process.

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Sewing books for absolute beginners

If you are an absolute beginner, I would advise against taking on complicated projects that involve interfacing, zippers, buttonholes, sheer fabrics, etc. The best way to learn how to sew is to start from the beginning - build a sewing kit and learn the basics of using a sewing machine & the dos and don'ts of fabric layout, pinning, and cutting, then try out simple patterns, moving on to more advanced projects as you build up your sewing skills. The book featured below is perfect for covering the basics you need to know before getting started on your first sewing project.

Great book that covers all the basics

If you have never taken a sewing course in your life, Diana Rupp has got you covered. She will take you by the hand and show "step-by-step" how to get from having absolutely no sewing skills to organizing your working space, getting started with your sewing machine, shopping for fabrics and selecting the right fabric for your next project, working with patterns, and finishing your first projects. The book also includes ten original patterns, rated from Easy to Advanced Beginner.

Sew Everything Workshop: The Complete Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide with 25 Fabulous Original Designs, Including 10 Patterns
Sew Everything Workshop: The Complete Step-by-Step Beginner's Guide with 25 Fabulous Original Designs, Including 10 Patterns

Diana runs Make Workshop, a craft school in New York city. She knows how easy it is for a beginner to get frustrated with a sewing project, so she makes sure that all the basic steps are covered. Her voice is friendly and very reassuring - you will get there, just give it some time and keep trying. The structure of the book is similar to the structure of a textbook and that's what makes it different from other sewing guides. I highly recommend this book to any beginner who really wants to get a head start in sewing.


Learn to use your sewing machine

Get to know your sewing machine - you will not regret it. Knowing how to properly thread your machine, troubleshoot problems, perform maintenance, use the right threads and fabrics for your projects, and be more productive by utilizing the right machine feet will definitely save you time in the long run.

Great introduction to Sewing Machine

This book is perfect for beginners who need an introduction to a sewing machine and a great refresher course for an experience seamstress. Compared to the boring and hard-to-follow manuals that come with sewing machines, this book is a life-saver. Well-written, easy-to-understand, with great photos and illustrations, this book is guaranteed to save you from the frustration that beginners often face when learning to use a sewing machine.

The Sewing Machine Classroom: Learn the Ins & Outs of Your Machine
The Sewing Machine Classroom: Learn the Ins & Outs of Your Machine

Sewing machine tension, faulty thread, lint in the sewing machine, lack of fabric preparation are often to blame for uneven or skipped stitches. This book teaches the basics of how to choose the right thread, how to thread your machine, how to select the perfect needle, how to maintain your sewing machine to keep it running in top notch, and covers more advanced sewing tasks like installing zippers, sewing buttonholes, and creating embellishments.


The Sewing Encyclopedia

This book is exactly what it claims to be - an "encyclopedic resource" to sewing. Basic sewing tools, different types of sewing machine feet, the basics of working with patterns, sewing techniques, stitches - all that and much more is discussed in the book in great detail and is illustrated with clear photographs.

The Sewing Book: An Encyclopedic Resource of Step-by-Step Techniques
The Sewing Book: An Encyclopedic Resource of Step-by-Step Techniques

Sewing techniques covered in the book include: darts, tucks, pleats, and gathers; facings and necklines; collars; waistelines, belts, and tie-backs; sleeves; pockets; hems and edges; lingings and interfacing, and more... This book is like a sewing course you can take in the convenience of your own home. It aslo includes 25 easy sewing projects and a glossary of sewing terms that comes very handy.


Recreational seamstress

If you have a busy lifestyle, juggling a career and a family, you may have little time for learning the sewing theory. You may already have some basic sewing skills and may be looking for project ideas to express your creative energy. Well, there's a good book or two for that!

Get down to business book

I highly recommend this book to all beginners eager to skip some of the theory and get right to practice, while learning a thing or two in the process. I doubt you will find a book that combines humor, easy-to-follow instructions, projects that advance as you build up your sewing skills, and great photos in the way this one does. The book is truly designed to help you get rid of all fears of sewing. The CD that comes with the book is awesome as you can reprint the patterns as many times as you wish.

Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time
Stitch by Stitch: Learning to Sew, One Project at a Time

This book is written by a "fifth-generation crafter and designer" Deborah Moebes. After launching a clothing line in 2006, Deborah opened up a fabric shop and a sewing lounge in Atlanta. Her Sewing classes are very popular, and her nearly 10-year experience of school teaching shows throughout this "learn to sew" book.


Build your sewing skills with 33 simple projects

Excellent sewing book for beginners who are looking for fun projects to practice and advance sewing skills. The book was written by a popular Blogger Ellen Luckett Baker ( It has a good introduction, a few words of encouragement for Beginners, advice on choosing fabrics, an overview of basic sewing tools, introduction to basic embroidery stitches, and a sewing glossary. It is definitely not a comprehensive sewing guide. The book is more of a collection of fun and simple projects for someone with pretty basic sewing skills.

1, 2, 3 Sew: Build Your Skills with 33 Simple Sewing Projects
1, 2, 3 Sew: Build Your Skills with 33 Simple Sewing Projects

I love how paper patterns are neatly organized in an envelope in the front of the book. Fun and easy to follow projects include napkins, table runner, pillows, fabric organizers, totes, pouches, handbags, kids and baby projects, puppets, and more... My favorite project is the Mouse Pincushion - soooo cute!


Amazing collection of 101 sewing projects

Easy projects, clear instructions, and only 1 yard (or less) of fabric needed for each project! What I love about this book is a good variety of projects (101!), so that you can pick and choose the ones that suit your needs. Need a craft organizer, a yoga mat bag, a new sundress, a bed for your new pet, or a gift set for baby to take to the baby shower for a good friend of yours? You will find it all in the "One-Yard Wonders."

One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Projects; Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric!
One-Yard Wonders: 101 Sewing Projects; Look How Much You Can Make with Just One Yard of Fabric!

Fabric Designer Amy Butler did a great job of describing this book in a simple statement: "Talk about quality and quantity, One Yard Wonders is an impressive volume of super creative projects all utilizing our favorite scraps and a simple yard of fabric. This book is a keeper!"


Best sewing books for beginners - Do you have a book you can recommend?

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