Learning to Sew

by Anne M

My mother is a talented seamstress. Everything she sews has a professional look from the curtains on her windows to my childhood Halloween costumes. She hems pants, takes in shirts, and replaces zippers with ease. But she did not transfer any of these skills to me. Since I live half a country away, I cannot have her “help” me with her projects, so this year, I decided to learn to sew and these books helped immensely.

How to use a sewing machine : a beginner's manual

Marie Clayton

646.2044 /Clayton

Anne M's picture

Need help demystifying the sewing machine? This is your best bet. The book goes over everything you need to know about the machine, from adjusting tension to picking the right needle, to changing the stitch size. Plus, there is a great section on sewing jargon. -Anne M

Merchant & Mills sewing book : hand-sewing techniques, machine know-how, tools, notions, projects, patterns

Carolyn N. K. Denham

646.2 /Denham

With an emphasis on quality materials, careful craftsmanship, and simplicity, Merchant & Mills Sewing Book presents 15 functional, beautiful projects. Crafters and aspiring designers will master hand and machine sewing techniques, learn about fundamental tools and materials, and improve their tailoring skills before crafting timeless projects such as a maker's apron, bolster cushion, flight bag, classic shirt, and more."--Page 4 of cover.

Anne M's picture

A small, useful book on fundamental, basic skills. Keep it right next to you during every step of the project--you'll refer to it quite a bit. -Anne M

School of sewing : learn it, teach it, sew together

Shea Henderson

646.2 /Henderson

School of Sewing allows you to follow in the footsteps of a group of beginners who shared one goal--to learn to use their sewing machines. This book is an engaging, detailed lesson plan designed to guide you along that same journey, whether you are learning alone or as a group. It begins with easy-to-follow instructions for how to use a sewing machine and advice on buying fabric and tools and then progresses through 12 projects--one three-hour lesson a month, perfect for friends to learn together.

Anne M's picture

If you are ready to sew some stitches, grab this book and start sewing. Henderson walks you through twelve beginner projects step-by-step, each teaching you a new skill. With this book alone, I learned French seams, boxed corners, and bias tape through making a pillowcase, a draw-string bag, and an apron. -Anne M

Sunday sews : 20 inspired weekend projects

Theresa Gonzalez

646.404 /Gonzalez

Sunday Sews presents 20 irresistible designs that can be sewn on a weekend and enjoyed for a lifetime. Featuring minimalist style and unfussy lightweight fabrics, they are as functional as they are chic. Think drapey shift dresses, flattering tunics and skirts, tanks and tops perfect for layering, pretty aprons, go-anywhere tote bags, and gifts for children and loved ones. Step-by-step instructions and technical illustrations make construction a breeze, whatever the reader's skill level; and lush photographs showcase the finished projects in clean, uncluttered settings. Sleekly packaged and brimming with atmosphere, Sunday Sews evokes everything we love about the most relaxing day of the week.

Anne M's picture

For learning about clothing, I turned here. All the projects in this book, from tank tops to dresses to skirts, are simply-designed and intended to only take a few hours to execute. I was so worried to make darts, pleats, and armholes, but Gonzalez’s directions are well-illustrated and easy to follow. Sewing her Tessa Tank was a piece of cake. -Anne M

Love at first stitch : demystifying dressmaking

Tilly Walnes

646.404 /Walnes

Anne M's picture

From buttonholes to finishing a hem to setting in sleeves, Love at First Stitch is the go-to-book to start making your own clothes. -Anne M

Everyday style : key pieces to sew + accessories, styling & inspiration

Lotta Jansdotter

646.404 /Jansdotter

Photographed over the course of a year in New York, Tennessee, India, and Sweden and organised by season, Jansdotter shares her sources of inspiration and how she and her friends mix and match her key pieces while working, playing, resting, and travelling.

Anne M's picture

I enjoy the easy, adaptable patterns in this book. There are only five patterns in the book (skirt, dress, shirt, pants, and coat), but you can change each pattern to fit the season and your needs. This book really helped me understand how fabric choices transform a piece of clothing—both color and weight. -Anne M

Handmade style : 23 must-have basics to stitch, use, and wear

Anna Graham

646.2 /Graham

Anne M's picture

If you want to expand beyond clothing, try this book. Although you’ll find a few handmade-style dresses and tops in her book, Graham devotes most of her book to bags, tech cases, and home goods. Her picnic blanket sews up like a breeze and looks lovely. -Anne M

Stitched sewing organizers : pretty cases, boxes, pouches, pincushions & more

Aneela Hoey

646.2 /Hoey

"This book features 15 projects for a wide variety of sewing organizers. The patterns are designed to work together, so small projects fit into larger ones. Make for yourself or as gifts. Detailed concepts will include information on installing zippers, alternative fastenings, sewing with vinyl, making three-dimensional shapes, and the different types of interfacings that can be used and how these can transform your projects."--

Anne M's picture

Now that you're sewing, you'll need some accessories to keep all of your supplies organized. Why not make them yourself? This book has some great ideas on how to do just that. -Anne M

Simply sewn : clothes for every season

Michiyo Itō

646.404 /Ito

Anne M's picture

Michiyo Ito's easy-to-follow patterns help you sew up versatile wardrobe that you can mix and match and adjust depending on the season. -Anne M

Sewing happiness : a year of simple projects for living well

Sanae Ishida

646.2 /Ishida

Anne M's picture

This book marries the sewing project with the memoir. -Anne M