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!):
Table of Contents
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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.
This beloved fitting book gives detailed instruction on getting the best fit on varied bodies.
Nancy Zieman walks us through fine-tuning fit of various garments.
This book gives plain-language, low-key advice on fitting pants.
My favorite fitting book includes “pivot and slide” method of paper pattern piece adjustment.
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. 👍
From Victory Patterns, this book contains different sleeves, bodices, and skirts for mix-and-match dresses.
The Sew U Guide to Making Outerwear Easy: Learn how to sew — and hack — three different coat patterns.
Learn how to stitch — and hack — three different dress patterns.
Sew rad mid-century casual clothes — think weekend looks from “Mad Men.”
Gertie demonstrates how sewists of yore did their stitching; this book includes 10 patterns!
Liberty of London decor for your home = SWOON.
Create a garment from a triangle, circle, or rectangle; these methods are size agnostic!
A fun book to have around when you’d like to stitch a little somethin’ somethin’; the projects make great gifts.
Hack your heart out with patterns for a raglan top, a crewneck top, and a dress/skirt.
Sew three wardrobe building blocks: a button-up shirt, an A-line skirt, and fly-front pants.
Start with basic skirt patterns, then hack them 28 different ways.
Remember Colette’s vintage-inspired aesthetic? It’s here in this lovely book.
Getting a sewing magazine in the post is a delight! These mags provide instruction and inspiration.
This mag has more of a fashion-y feel and is targeted at younger sewists.
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.
Learn how to drape on a dress form with step-by-step photographed instructions; it’s part of the University of Fashion book series.
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.
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.
This book shows how different fashion designers — Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Calvin Klein, and more — execute pattern elements (e.g., cuffs, facings, etc.).
It’s a good idea to have a little book on hand about making fancy pillows and whatnot.
My favorite reference book and the one I always return to. (The link goes to the latest edition of this book.)
Learn how to sew strong, stretchy activewear seams, choose the right fabrics, and more.
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!
This book provides instruction on how to level up your selection of fabric and notions, sewing techniques, shortcut tailoring, and design decisions.
Here are all the (photographed) steps to sew a pair of jeans.
Discover how you can use sewing techniques from ready-to-wear in your home sewing practice.
It’s EVERYTHING you’d ever want to know about making a woven shirt.
A complete guide to fashion sewing: This book features to-the-point instruction on just about every sewing technique.
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.
Viewers of Nancy Zieman’s sewing TV show share their best tips.
While not a sewing book, “Big Magic,” with its powerful message about the creative process, rocks me to my core.
Sewing educator Sandra Betzina shares fashion-industry tips for streamlined home sewing.
Maybe my overall favorite sewing book? It’s instructional, with tips you haven’t seen anywhere else, but the writing is almost narrative.
Nancy Zieman shares time-saving hacks for the construction of different types of garments (e.g., blouses, pants, etc.).
This book compares conventional and speedy sewing techniques.
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