Sewing takes some practice and patience to master, but it’s also one of the most gratifying crafts. It can be an empowering hobby for people who want to create their own clothes or accessories.
If you are a beginner at sewing or are even just considering picking up the skill, one of the best things you can do is find good resources on how to sew. There are so many different sorts of sewing guides available, but if you want to get started on the right foot, then sewing books are your best friend.
Beginners can benefit from instructional sewing books, which walk them through the fundamentals and then gradually build towards complex projects.
We compared 50+ sewing books to come up with a list of the best sewing books for beginners. Each book has distinguishing features, making it perfect in its own way.
So, if you want to learn how to sew, have a look at our reviews and get your hands on one of the best sewing manuals. It’ll take some time to master, but these books will definitely give you a head start.
1. Sewing (Idiot’s Guides) by Cinnamon Miles
The author starts this book at square one. It begins with threading the bobbin and performing simple stitches, then progresses into an extensive guide that covers everything you need to know about sewing.
Each section contains step-by-step, full-color photos that offer clear explanations of each technique. Each technique has a series of practice projects to allow readers to use their newly acquired skills.
Every fundamental sewing concept is included, such as picking the appropriate fabric, cutting it correctly, using a sewing machine, adding trimmings like lace and piping, mixing patterns, and fitting clothes.
A glossary is included in the back of the book for easy reference. By the time you finish this book, you’ll be able to sew your own clothes and home decor items.
- Divided into small manageable chunks
- Starts out very basic
- Colorful illustrations
2. The Sewing Book by Alison Smith
This book has a fortune of information on fabrics, techniques, patterns, and sewing. It breaks down the basics of sewing into simple steps, and it’s the best book for getting an in-depth look at how patterns work.
Once you get to the chapters about techniques like seams, zippers, darts, pleats, pockets, and collars, it really gets into the nitty-gritty of dealing with specific fabrics. Alison has added the most up-to-date techniques, so you’re not stuck following trends that might not be around in the next five years or so.
As long as you follow the author’s instructions, you will be able to sew various designs and customize them to exact measurements. Sewing projects are graded from beginner to advanced.
Colorful pictures and detailed diagrams help to break each task down into smaller, easy-to-follow steps.
- Teaches the basics of patterns
- Good for both beginners and advanced sewers
- Close up colorful pictures
3. Nancy Zieman’s Confident Sewing Collection
This book is a collection of three sewing guides. Nancy has compiled “Sew with Confidence,” “Serge with Confidence,” and “Pattern Fitting with Confidence” in one easy-to-read book. So, this one will pretty much cover everything a beginner needs to know.
The author has divided the book into manageable chunks. For example, the section on sewing covers over 40 different topics, from sewing tools to how to read a pattern and mark fabric. There are chapters devoted to serger or overlock machine and its uses.
The book also includes an illustrated glossary that will help a beginner understand the terms and techniques used by professional sewers. You’ll love the motivational memos and nuggets of inspiration written along with each tip and trick.
- Go-to guide for all your sewing needs
- Motivational quotes and tips scattered throughout the book
- Also covers Serger machines
4. The Fitting Book by Gina Renee Dunham
This book is a must-read for beginners interested in altering and fitting clothes. To help you get the perfect match, the author has gone through all of the fundamental principles of patternmaking, covering topics like language and abbreviations to tools and materials.
The author has gone through her 3-step fitting procedure in great detail. The book is jam-packed with photographs and detailed instructions, allowing you to follow the author’s methods as she progresses from simple fit adjustments such as tapering hips to more complicated topics like inserting bust darts.
The good news is that every project is accompanied by YouTube video instruction. Simply scan QR codes to link to the relevant video.
- Best book for learning fitting
- Detail guides for alteration
- Video tutorial with each project
5. Sew Me! Sewing Basics by Choly Knight
Sew Me! by Choly Knight introduces the reader to the various sewing skills with easy and concise instructions. The book begins with an overview of the types of patterns and an introduction to sewing accessories used in everyday household items.
Then it moves on to cutting patterns, sewing seams, and finishing edges. It also includes a section on tools and materials that will help you begin sewing right away.
The projects in this book range from elementary things like scarves and cushions up to more challenging pieces like hats and baskets. Each project offers plenty of opportunity for practice with its detailed step-by-step guide and beautiful illustrations.
Whether you want to make your own clothes from scratch or refresh your current wardrobe with some alterations, Sew Me! has all the information and assistance you need.
- Practical projects
- Information about machines and fabrics
- Great illustrations
6. Illustrated Guide to Advanced Dressmaking & Alteration
In this book, you’ll learn how to alter your favorite skirt to your unique body measurements for a perfect fit. You’ll acquire a basic understanding of stitching and how all the various elements of a garment come together to produce exactly what you want. This book will also help you alter features such as necklines, sleeves, and pockets.
There are simple methods to control fullness, learn how to make darts correctly, and step-by-step instructions on making your own smocking, shirring, piping, gathering, and embroidery for all of those lovely fabrics you’ve bought.
The book includes gorgeous illustrations throughout the text to accommodate learners with different skill levels. The best thing is that it begins with picking the fabric and ends with clothing that looks professionally tailored.
- Lots of illustrations
- Great for learning patternmaking
- Teaches on body measurements
7. Sew Your Own Wardrobe by Alison Smith
If you want to make your own clothes but lack the inspiration, Sew Your Own Wardrobe is just perfect for you. The author has covered more than 31 garments with 80 plus designs to create your wardrobe pieces. There are fresh ideas and new techniques for designing clothes that you’ll be excited to wear.
Although the book is intended for beginners, it’s not a dull beginner’s guide. Many new and creative projects like fashionable jackets and over-lapping fronts will give your wardrobe an exciting revamp. The section on alteration has some excellent information on customizing your clothes.
There is also a dedicated section on dressmaking terms and tools. The Kindle version provides 13 downloadable patterns which you can use to sew some amazing clothes for yourself.
- Tons of ideas for creating your wardrobe
- Has an alteration guide
- Online pattern archive
8. First Time Sewing by Creative Publishing
First time sewing is designed for beginners who have never tried their hand at sewing before. It takes the reader through the basics of using a sewing machine, choosing the right tools and cloth, and then sewing techniques.
The book’s first half covers all of the materials and gadgets needed to stitch correctly. It also includes machine maintenance information. The second part focuses on skills such as hemming, seams, tension balance, and pattern reading/cutting out fabric pieces.
In addition to sewing basics, First Time Sewing also offers some patterns for simple projects that readers might want to try their hand at. The projects include a pillowcase, skirt, T-shirt, table-cover, and more. Each project comes with step-by-step instructions.
Using her methods, you can make almost anything from clothing and accessories to home décor items like cushions or curtains.
The book may not contain many sewing patterns for styling, but its projects are beginner-friendly, and it’s an excellent reference for learning the basics.
- Basic info on tools and gadgets
- To the point instructions
- Good book for learning machine maintenance
9. Not Your Grandma’s Sewing Guide by Kaitlyn Dornbier
The author has taken a very unconventional approach to sewing. You’ll find many shortcuts and hacks in the book that will help you sew faster and more efficiently. It is perfect for any beginner who wants to learn sewing without spending too much time on it.
The book starts simply and gradually takes you through more challenging projects. The section on pattern making and cutting are very detailed. The author has included her personal tips and tricks for creating custom-fitted clothes.
There are also chapters on linings, hems, embellishments, and zipper insertion.
The book has a great chapter on repairs which will teach you how to fix common sewing mistakes. If you are someone who wants to learn all the sewing hacks and tricks of the trade, this is the perfect guide for you.
- Has some profanity, not suitable for kids
- Lots of shortcuts and tricks
10. My First Sewing Machine Book for Kids by Emma Hardy
If your kid or grandkid is fascinated by your sewing projects and is itching to try for themselves, this book is a great place to start. It is full of fun projects that kids can do. It has step-by-step instructions for each project with pictures to help kids learn how to sew independently.
Some beginner projects include scarfs or skirts, cases for items such as coin purses or sleepover bags. It also has projects for making rag dolls and then their clothes.
The instructions come with step-by-step artwork to walk you through the process. Each project is graded to a skill level so your kids can advance through simpler tasks to more difficult ones as their skills improve.
- Projects are designed for kids
- Good for building confidence
- Full of step-by-step pictures
11. Singer: The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing by Nancy Langdon
The best way to learn how to sew is by learning about the machine. This book lets you do just that. It is very comprehensive in the information and includes easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions for using a sewing machine and a serger.
It covers a lot of things to get a beginner started on simple projects. Every page of the book has colorful pictures, so whether you are piping for new cushions, piecing a quilt, or embroidering new pillowcases, the book shows you how to do it.
Nancy Langdon is very informative and gives tips throughout the book that are pretty helpful for beginners. It also has a great troubleshooting guide to fix your machine yourself if something goes wrong.
- A lot of pictures
- Projects for home decor and dressmaking
- Troubleshooting guide
Sewing is a great craft that not only helps you create some unique pieces out of cloth, it is also an expression of your creativity. It is a great hobby that you can do with friends and family to create something new together.
The 11 sewing books we have mentioned above are some of the best guides for beginners who want to learn how to sew on their own.
If you are interested in learning this craft, any of these books is a great place to start. Exercise your skill with many projects added in the books and create new things for your home and wardrobe.