I mentioned in a previous post how lucky I am that my mom taught me how to sew, and in my cranky teenage years, no less. She taught me the basics on a machine that is quite similar to the one I use as my primary sewing machine now! Since then, I’ve spent a lot of time poring over sewing books in bookshops and libraries, and investing in the ones I found most helpful. Today I’d like to share four of my favorite sewing books for beginners, although I think many of these are great resources even for more experienced sewers.
Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts is a great resource. I don’t even really need to say that, do I? It’s Martha, of course she’s the go to resource for anything crafty. In case you need convincing: the book goes over the basics of identifying fabric and thread, walks you through the most essential hand stitching techniques, and then introduces you to all the parts of your sewing machine and how to use it without accidentally sewing through a finger. Between the straightforward tutorials and the 150 projects to try, I’d say this book is a useful one to keep around.
Wendy Mullin’s Sew U was actually the first sewing book I ever bought, back in 2006 when I had the urge to start sewing all my own clothes. Since then, she’s published a range of other books about sewing clothing, but I find this first one to be most helpful for a beginner. Similar to Martha’s giant handbook, Sew U really does a great job teaching you the foundations of sewing clothing – how to choose fabric for a project, what tools you’ll need, how to shape a pattern for your individual body type, and so on. While, admittedly, I never did live up to my goal of sewing my entire wardrobe, this book is a great starting point for anyone who has that ambition.
I greatly admire Lotta Jansdotter; you could probably guess that she’s a big influence just by looking at my work. Her book, Simple Sewing, is perfect for beginners, and the the sewing projects that she outlines in her book are anything but boring. Lotta has a way of highlighting simple projects that let the fabric and pattern shine.
Zakka Style is the only niche sewing book I’ll include on this list, simply because it’s one of my favorites. The projects are simple enough for beginners to tackle, and beautiful enough to be worth holding onto. The problem with many beginners’ sewing books is that the projects are so simple, they are almost like throwaway projects. Zakka Style has a way of transforming simple projects into lovely keepsakes with simple style. My favorite simple project from this book is the sewing kit, such a great way to get started!
Looking for more sewing inspiration? Check out my post on my favorite sewing projects from Purl Bee.