Welcome to my sewing book library! These are the sewing books I turn to on the regular for instruction and inspiration.

Welcome to my sewing book library! These are the sewing books I turn to on the regular for instruction and inspiration. These books feature sewing techniques, fitting advice, time-saving sewing hacks, and sewing patterns. If I have a sewing question, there’s a good chance I can find the answer on these pages, and that’s a good feeling!

I’ve been collecting sewing books for more than a decade, and I thought you might like a peek at my book shelves. About a quarter of these books were bought used. Next time you’re at a thrift store, rummage sale, or second-hand book store, don’t forget to check for sewing books.

Each book includes a sentence description, and they are sorted into the following categories (click to go to each section!):

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Books About Fitting

Sewing is one skill, and fitting is another! These books help make me-made clothes fit comfortably and beautifully.

Favorite Sewing Books Fit for Real People

Fit for Real People: Sew Great Clothes Using Any Pattern

This beloved fitting book gives detailed instruction on getting the best fit on varied bodies.

Favorite Sewing Books Fitting Finesse

Fitting Finesse

Nancy Zieman walks us through fine-tuning fit of various garments.

Favorite Sewing Books Pants for Any Body

Pants for Any Body

This book gives plain-language, low-key advice on fitting pants.

Favorite Sewing Books Pattern Fitting with Confidence

Pattern Fitting With Confidence

My favorite fitting book includes “pivot and slide” method of paper pattern piece adjustment.

Favorite Sewing Books Singer Perfect Fit

The Perfect Fit (Singer Sewing Reference Library)

It’s a fully photographed guide to fitting sewing patterns.


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Sewing Guidebooks with Patterns

These books have a reference quality to them in that they provide garment-making instruction. The difference is they include patterns or projects. I love books like these because they’re a good value. 👍

Favorite Sewing Books Boundless Style

Boundless Style: A Mix-and-Match Sewing Pattern Workbook

From Victory Patterns, this book contains different sleeves, bodices, and skirts for mix-and-match dresses.

Favorite Sewing Books BBW Coats

Built by Wendy Coats and Jackets

The Sew U Guide to Making Outerwear Easy: Learn how to sew — and hack — three different coat patterns.

Favorite Sewing Books BBW Dresses

Built by Wendy Dresses: The Sew U Guide to Making a Girl’s Best Frock

Learn how to stitch — and hack — three different dress patterns.

Favorite Sewing Books Gertie Vintage Casual

Gertie Sews Vintage Casual: A Modern Guide to Sportswear Styles of the 1940s and 1950s

Sew rad mid-century casual clothes — think weekend looks from “Mad Men.”

Favorite Sewing Books Gertie New Book

Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques

Gertie demonstrates how sewists of yore did their stitching; this book includes 10 patterns!

Favorite Sewing Books Liberty Home Decor

Liberty Book of Home Sewing

Liberty of London decor for your home = SWOON.

Favorite Sewing Books No Patterns Needed

No Patterns Needed: DIY Couture from Simple Shapes

Create a garment from a triangle, circle, or rectangle; these methods are size agnostic!

Favorite Sewing Books One Yard Wonders

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

A fun book to have around when you’d like to stitch a little somethin’ somethin’; the projects make great gifts.

Favorite Sewing Books Sew U Home Stretch

Sew U Home Stretch: The Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics

Hack your heart out with patterns for a raglan top, a crewneck top, and a dress/skirt.

Favorite Sewing Books Sew U

Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe

Sew three wardrobe building blocks: a button-up shirt, an A-line skirt, and fly-front pants.

Favorite Sewing Books Skirt a Day

Skirt-a-Day Sewing: Create 28 Skirts for a Unique Look Every Day

Start with basic skirt patterns, then hack them 28 different ways.

Favorite Sewing Books Colette

The Colette Sewing Handbook: Inspired Styles and Classic Techniques for the New Seamstress

Remember Colette’s vintage-inspired aesthetic? It’s here in this lovely book.

Sewing Magazines

Getting a sewing magazine in the post is a delight! These mags provide instruction and inspiration.

Favorite Sewing Books Sew News

Sew News Print Magazine

This mag has more of a fashion-y feel and is targeted at younger sewists.

Favorite Sewing Books Threads

Threads Print Magazine

This mag has THE BEST SEWING TECHNIQUE INSTRUCTION, period.

Books About Pattern Making

Take that sewing pattern bouncing around your brain from dream to reality. Pattern making is an exciting addition to your sewing practice.

Favorite Sewing Books Draping

Draping: Techniques for Beginners

Learn how to drape on a dress form with step-by-step photographed instructions; it’s part of the University of Fashion book series.

Favorite Sewing Books Metric Pattern Cutting

Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear

This is the book I’ve used most on my pattern-making journey; it’s not the most reader friendly tome, but it’s thorough.

Favorite Sewing Books Pattern Making

Pattern Making: Techniques for Beginners

Also part of the University of Fashion book series, this book teaches you how to draft sleeves, skirts, bodices, collars, and pants.

Sewing Reference Books

These books are the backbone of any stitching library. Turn to them for tried-and-true views on sewing techniques, sewing terms, and fabrics.

Favorite Sewing Books High Fashion Sewing Secrets

High-Fashion Sewing Secrets from the World’s Best Designers: A Step-By-Step Guide to Sewing Stylish Seams, Buttonholes, Pockets, Collars, Hems, and More

This book shows how different fashion designers — Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Calvin Klein, and more — execute pattern elements (e.g., cuffs, facings, etc.).

Favorite Sewing Books Home Decor Techniques

Home Decor Sewing Technique Bible

It’s a good idea to have a little book on hand about making fancy pillows and whatnot.

Favorite Sewing Books Complete Guide to Sewing

New Complete Guide to Sewing: Step-by-Step Techniques for Making Clothes and Home Accessories

My favorite reference book and the one I always return to. (The link goes to the latest edition of this book.)

Favorite Sewing Books Sewing Activewear

Sewing Activewear: How to make your own professional-looking athletic wear

Learn how to sew strong, stretchy activewear seams, choose the right fabrics, and more.

Favorite Sewing Books Plus Size Sewing

Sewing for Plus Sizes: Creating Clothes that Fit and Flatter

This book shows how to make pattern adjustments for plus-sized bodies and which elements (e.g., gussets) make plus-sized clothing more comfortable; it’s useful for humans of all body volumes!

Favorite Sewing Books Sewing for Style

Sewing for Style (Singer Sewing Reference Library)

This book provides instruction on how to level up your selection of fabric and notions, sewing techniques, shortcut tailoring, and design decisions.

Favorite Sewing Books Sewing Jeans

Sewing Jeans: The complete step-by-step guide

Here are all the (photographed) steps to sew a pair of jeans.

Favorite Sewing Books Sewing Secrets

Sewing Secrets from the Fashion Industry: Proven Methods To Help You Sew Like the Pros

Discover how you can use sewing techniques from ready-to-wear in your home sewing practice.

Favorite Sewing Books Shirtmaking

Shirtmaking: Developing Skills For Fine Sewing

It’s EVERYTHING you’d ever want to know about making a woven shirt.

Favorite Sewing Books Dressmakers Technique

The Dressmaker’s Technique Bible

A complete guide to fashion sewing: This book features to-the-point instruction on just about every sewing technique.

Favorite Sewing Books Textile Directory

The Fashion Designer’s Textile Directory: A Guide to Fabrics’ Properties, Characteristics, and Garment-Design Potential

It’s thorough and will help you better understand the fabrics you work with and how they’re made (and their impact on the environment).


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Books with Sewing Tricks, Tips, and Encouragement

These books feel like Grandma’s sewing secrets. They’re collections of sewing wisdom that only comes from years of stitching.

Favorite Sewing Books 501 Hints

501 Sewing Hints

Viewers of Nancy Zieman’s sewing TV show share their best tips.

Favorite Sewing Books Big Magic

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

While not a sewing book, “Big Magic,” with its powerful message about the creative process, rocks me to my core.

Favorite Sewing Books Power Sewing

Power Sewing Step-by-Step

Sewing educator Sandra Betzina shares fashion-industry tips for streamlined home sewing.

Favorite Sewing Books Emodi

SEW … The Garment-Making Book of Knowledge: Real-Life Lessons from a Serial Sewist

Maybe my overall favorite sewing book? It’s instructional, with tips you haven’t seen anywhere else, but the writing is almost narrative.

Favorite Sewing Books Sewing Express

Sewing Express

Nancy Zieman shares time-saving hacks for the construction of different types of garments (e.g., blouses, pants, etc.).

Favorite Sewing Books Timesaving Sewing

Timesaving Sewing (Singer Sewing Reference Library)

This book compares conventional and speedy sewing techniques.

Favorite Sewing Books Busy Woman

The Busy Woman’s Sewing Book

First published in 1988 (it’s a bit dated), this book takes a higher-level look at sewing and focuses on how you can better organize your life and sewing practice for max sewing time.

SHOP AMAZON FOR SEWING BOOKS

Should you be interested, here are Amazon’s best sellers based on sales:

Sewing Books

Fashion Craft Books