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best sewing books

Best Sewing Books for Sewing by Hand, Sewing Machines, Beginners, and Crafts

In my reviews for the best sewing books I will include books for: beginners, crafts, quilting, hand sewing, and machine sewing. Whatever you need, you’ll probably find it.

Just like we do with a lot of hobbies or new skills that we’re trying to learn, we search for some books to teach us the secrets and skills we need to know about. And that’s why we end up looking for the best sewing books.

It will be interesting to see what sewing books can teach us.

Of course, I will also include my recommendations for some of the best sewing books for beginners.

If you want to learn about making some interesting projects, check out my recommendations for the best fabric stiffeners.

Furthermore, if you’re interested, check out my reviews for the best sewing chair, too.

My Favorite 10 Best Sewing Books

Besides considering that there are some sewing books that directly address mainly beginners, there are two other categories that differentiate the books in this field.

There are books about traditional techniques for sewing and mending, meaning books that refer to sewing by hand with a needle and a piece of thread.

The second category includes books that cover sewing with the help of sewing machines.

Thus, when you pick the best sewing books for you, you have to consider which method you practice. Of course, I’m a big fan of sewing machines but I totally admire people who are willing to sew by hand.

Luckily for those who want to learn both, there are a few books that cover both sewing by hand and by a sewing machine: Sewing for Dummies and How To Start Sewing.

You should also decide if you’re looking for books that help you sew clothes from scratch.

Or if you want books that teach you how to make interesting, quirky projects from left-over pieces of fabric or from wool.

Or if you want some books for making quilts.

As you can see, the world of sewing books is quite varied. I’m sure that there’s at least one book for each of us.

I should also mention that pretty much all paperback options for the best sewing books are not cheap.

Pretty much all have a price around $20 but there is one book that costs almost double the average amount: How To Start Sewing by Assembil Books.

1. Make, Sew and Mend by Bernadette Banner: Best Hand Sewing Book

The complete name of this book is actually Make, Sew and Mend: Traditional Techniques to Sustainably Maintain and Refashion Your Clothes by Bernadette Banner.

The cover of the book features a woman sewing by hand. Thus, if you’re looking for one of the best hand sewing books, you’ll want to read about this book.

Make, Sew and Mend is one of the most popular books at the moment. And the positive reviews are overwhelming.

However, there are also a few negative reviews that state a few important facts so make sure to read a few of them, too.


The Make, Sew and Mend by Bernadette Banner is a good option for beginners who are just now considering that sewing by hand could be a good skill to learn.

It also addresses those who are just getting started with sustainable fashion and need to alter secondhand finds.

You will find different techniques for different alterations that we need to make.

Of course, it also introduces readers to sewing techniques for making our own clothes.

It includes all traditional stitches and techniques that people need to extend the life of garments.

Make, Sew and Mend by Bernadette Banner includes tips and tricks for choosing material and preparing the fabric for sewing.

There are complex techniques explained: making buttons, mending small holes, adding pockets for garments, etc.

The guides are complete with step-by-step photos.

The chapters included are:

  • preparing materials
  • the stitches
  • applications
  • practical alterations
  • care and feeding: making clothes last

All in all, Make, Sew and Mend by Bernadette Banner is described as being the perfect foundation for beginner sewers to start making their fashion their own.

2. First Time Sewing by Editors of Creative Publishing International: Best Sewing Book for Beginners (Sewing Machines)

This is one of the most popular machine sewing books for beginners. Is it also one of the best sewing books?

Let’s see what it offers. And if it can help people who are just learning how to use a sewing machine.

This book doesn’t focus on a particular sewing machine. It addresses all sewing machines because there are a lot of models out there. Some of the most affordable machines are from Singer and Brother but there are other brands like Janome, Juki, etc.

Thus, it’s only normal that First Time Sewing: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide is going to refer to sewing machines in general. It’s up to you to decide which machine you’re going to use.

The main chapters are:

  • sewing basics
  • projects

Under sewing basics we learn about the main parts of a sewing machine (bobbins, needles, presser feet, and all the other parts).

We also learn about measuring & marking tools, cutting tools, seam rippers, and a bunch of other tools that we need for a variety of projects.

You don’t have to buy all of them at once. Just start by getting a good pair of scissors and then take it from there as you actually make some projects or some mending.

We get info about fabrics and patterns. And a bunch of other useful tips and tutorials.

Overall, this is the first part of the book. Could you learn all this online from YouTube and other resources? Yes, this book just gathers all the info in its pages so it makes it easier to find and study.

The second part of First Time Sewing relates to projects.

We get the following projects: rectangular table cloth, knife-edge pillows, zipper closure, baby blanket, elastic-waist skirts, elastic-waist pants, T-shirts, apron with pockets, and unlined jackets.

Overall, I regard the First Time Sewing by Editors of Creative Publishing International to be one of the best sewing books for beginners using a sewing machine but there are some negative reviews you should also check out before buying it.

3. Needle Felting for Beginners: How to Sculpt with Wool by Roz Dace

This book is absolutely fascinating for those who want to create the most amazing, impressive, and creative projects.

If you want to explore your artistic side in a fascinating way, you’re going to love Needle Felting for Beginners: How to Sculpt with Wool by Roz Dace.

What is this book about?

It wants to teach us how to sculpt miniature teacup worlds, animals and birds, and even our friends and family.

Needle Felting for Beginners: How to Sculpt with Wool by Roz Dace includes 12 varied projects. It starts with the easiest and progresses in difficulty.

Once you master the basics, learn how to use wire, embellishments, and armatures, then you can create whatever sculptures you want.

If you want to create miniature sculptures from wool, you’re going to love this book, even if you are a complete beginner to felting.

What is needle felting?

Needle felting is a craft for which we need the following supplies: wool, felting needles, and a cushion or pad to work on. That’s all you need if you want to make impressive creations with the art of needle felting.

Or course, you might also need a lamp for sewing if you want to clearly see everything you do for your crafts and projects.

Felting needles have tiny barbs on the end. When the needle is stabbed into the wool the barbs pull the wool in.

The cushion/pillow/pad is needed as a surface to work on so that we don’t stab our legs or drive the needle into the working surface.

For an experienced person, a project can take several days to complete.

4. A Season in Blue: 16 Quilt Patterns by Edyta Sitar

The full name of this book is A Season in Blue: 16 Quilt Patterns and a Cozy Cabin Full of Inspiration by Edyta Sitar.

This is one of the most gorgeous sewing books that I have come across. It doesn’t hurt that blue is one of my favorite colors and the designs in this book are so beautiful, creative, and calming.

If you’re passionate about making quilts, you’ll love this one as one of the best sewing books that you must have.

Quilters will love the beauty of this blue world exposed in beautiful patterns. Whether you make them for you and members of your family or to give as gifts, this book can serve as inspiration for all.

Two color quilts like the ones designed by Edyta Sitar are stunning.

However, is it a good book for beginners?

I believe that you must be a quilter who has a bit of experience. The instructions are easy to understand but I wouldn’t recommend A Season in Blue for total beginner quilters.

The book also has a chapter about sewing basket basics but, otherwise, it jumps straight to projects.

Another book for quilters, with a lot more colorful projects, is the 2023 That Patchwork Place Quilt Calendar.

If you are a complete beginner, I recommend First-Time Quiltmaking: Learning to Quilt in Six Easy Lessons.

5. Sewing for Dummies by Jan Saunders Maresh

This is a bit of a controversial sewing book. While many love it and mention that it’s a book that actually makes sense and makes things very easy, others say that it’s not for beginners.

My opinion is that it can be viewed as one of the best sewing books for beginners who have a lot of patience and who want to learn a lot.

It’s a massive book, occupying second place for the highest page count among my recommendations. The longest book is the one I review after this one.

Thus, it’s full of helpful resources but I also think that it requires a bit of patience to go through it all.

Most likely, you’re not going to end up using everything that Sewing for Dummies by Jan Saunders Maresh includes.

But if you love books that really include a lot of resources and you have the time to study them properly, you might love this one.

It’s so massive that it has 22 chapters.

It also includes instructions and guides for both hand sewing and machine sewing. If you’ve ever dreamed of learning both, this book’s got you covered.

I’m not going to enumerate the 22 chapters that it covers because I dread writing all that down.
Suffice it to say that the table of contents covers 9 pages.

Overall, if you want to learn to sew by hand or by using a sewing machine, if you want to master basic and advanced skills, if you have patience and time, you might love Sewing for Dummies by Jan Saunders Maresh.

6. How To Start Sewing by Assembil Books: Expensive Sewing Book

Let’s talk about the most expensive book among my recommendations for the best sewing books.

This book is also at least 3 times the size of most books on sewing of any kind so you can see why the price is a bit higher.

Thus, I would say that it would serve as a wonderful resource for people who truly have the passion and the time to study and learn from such a full-of-resources book.

The full name is: How To Start Sewing: The How and Why of Sewing for Fashion Design: Sewing Techniques with Matching Patterns.

How To Start Sewing addresses sewing by hand and sewing with a sewing machine. It’s a combination of both, which is another wonderful thing.

It is divided into 6 parts:

  • Getting Started: needles, stitches, sewing equipment, fabric, hand sewing preparation, seams
  • The Sewing Machine: how it works, choosing a sewing machine (domestic, industrial), components, start sewing on a sewing machine, troubleshooting, control
  • Fabric, Patterns and Cutting Out: working with fabric, equipment for pattern making, understanding patterns, tracing patterns, cutting out, cut and sew
  • Vital Construction Principles: shaping with patterns, shaping with seam allowance and dart value, shaping and controlling fabric with stitching, advanced press techniques, etc.
  • Sewing Techniques: garment shape, seams, panels and darts, basic machine stitching, interfacing, fusing and stay tape, seam finishes, overlocking and overcasting, edge finishes and hems, inside the garment linings and facings, pockets, etc.
  • Planning and Sewing Garments: choosing and starting a project, cutting and sewing the final garment

7. Sew Me! Sewing Basics by Choly Knight

The actual full name of this book is a very long one: Sew Me! Sewing Basics: Simple Techniques and Projects for First-Time Sewers from Sewing Seams to Installing Zippers by Choly Knight.

It’s a sewing book for sewing machines that totally addresses beginners. So, we can call it one of the best sewing books for beginners for sewing machines. But it also teaches us about sewing by hand.

It’s a combination of machine and hand sewing.

The chapters are:

  • Getting started: buying a sewing machine, fabrics, sewing tools, sewing space
  • Simple first-time techniques: first seam, dealing with mistakes, hand sewing, applique, sewing curves
  • Developing fabric skills: interfacing, gathering fabric, binding
  • Adding notions & closures: hook-and-loop tape, installing snaps, buttons & buttonholes, zippers, grommets & eyelets
  • Easy wearable accessories: taking body measurements, elastic, sewing knit fabrics

Sew Me! Sewing Basics by Choly Knight includes 15 simple straightforward projects.

It’s a book that teaches us how to sew by making different projects.

And we can also make fun accessories: plushies, pincushions, placemats, hand towels, hats, scarves, etc.

All in all, it’s not my favorite book in this list but it’s not totally bad either.

8. The Fitting Book by Gina Renee Dunham

The full name of this book is The Fitting Book: Make Sewing Pattern Alterations & Achieve the Perfect Fit You Desire by Gina Renee Dunham.

It’s mainly written for people who can never find clothes that fit them perfectly.

The Fitting Book by Gina Renee Dunham can help people adjust sewing patterns to achieve the perfect fit.

Obviously, it can also be a good resource for people who want to make their own patterns at home and make them fit perfectly.

However, keep in mind that it’s not a pattern drafting book. It’s just intended for helping people make the perfect fittings.

Someone mentioned that if you want to sew well-fitting clothes, The Fitting Book by Gina Renee Dunham is the perfect guide to have alongside you.

The chapters featured are:

  • Abbreviations, terminology & tools needed
  • The customizing process in patternmaking
  • Factors in fitting
  • Tips for getting started
  • Using patternmaking rulers
  • Checking the balance of top or bodice patterns
  • First steps in assessing the fit
  • Neckline corrections
  • Across shoulder corrections
  • Across front & across back corrections
  • Armhole & raglan sleeve correction
  • Bust corrections
  • Back draglines & hemline corrections
  • Skirts, dresses & pants corrections
  • Fitting pants
  • Diagonal draglines demystifies

9. Half Yard Vintage: Sew 23 Gorgeous Accessories by Debbie Shore

If you don’t own any books of this kind, this is a good one to start with. There are a bunch of books similar to this one but I like this one as a starting point for those who don’t own any of its kind.

The idea is that the projects are all done with left-over pieces of fabric.

So, it’s good for those who are already used to working with fabric and have left-overs that can contribute to make interesting projects for our homes.

It’s a pretty small book, as the title says it only comprises 23 projects. The price is a bit expensive given its size.

If you want to learn how to turn leftover fabric into beautiful accessories and home décor items, you might find that the price is worth it.

The projects include a lacy pillow cover, bucket-style wash bag and cones for displaying posies of dried flowers.

Moreover, we can elevate our afternoon tea with a tea cosy, made-to-measure tray cover, and a cake frill.

All in all, the projects are nothing all that original and the price is a bit high but some people might love the idea of turning leftover fabric into something decorative or into an object with a purpose.

10. Love to Sew: Sewing Room Accessories by Debbie Shore

This can be a useful book if you aren’t already an experienced sewer who has their sewing space already organized.

It’s a collection of hand-crafted sewing accessories and storage solutions.

It includes: pincushion, bobbins, tool rolls, carry cases, and cutting mat carries.

Moreover, it features innovative ways to keep a sewing space tidy. It offers ideas for an armchair storage device and an ironing station with board cover and pouch for storing a mini-iron and attachments.

There are also projects for a sewing room diary cover and sewing case.

All in all, it’s not among my favorite among my recommendations for the best sewing books but it can be something fun to do in your spare time, if you’re passionate about projects of this type.