A long time ago, I asked for your recommendations on books for true beginners.
I thought it was high time I rounded up the top choices. I’m going to start with the standouts, the books that by far got the most mentions from you all. Then I’ll list some of the other books people feel are a good fit for the beginner.
If you’re brand new to sewing, check these out at your local library and see which you find most helpful. Everyone has different learning styles, so you may find some of these books appeal to you in a different way than others.
I left out recommendations for my book because, well, it seemed like a biased sample. I’m hoping there are some in here that are new to you, or to a beginner friend.
“It has a variety of projects and answers a lot of REALLY basic questions about using sewing machines (I used her explanations to figure out how to thread my 1971 Kenmore), hand stitches, zipper installation, and more. I think it’s a great resource if you really don’t know where to begin, and 3 years after starting to sew I still look at it from time to time for a clear explanation how to do something.” – [Kristina](ornamentalconfectionery.blogspot.com)
- Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing: Perhaps the most popular choice, this book is a true timeless reference for many of us. Danielle reminds us that newer versions actually have less information, so you should look for an older one (hers is from 1993).
“It is easily my most used sewing reference guide. The simple explanatory prose and clear illustrations are so helpful when I’m stuck! It is also quite well-indexed, so if you’re reading through your pattern and you get stuck on a certain step, you can easily look up “sleeves” or whatever, and it will give you lots of options.” – [Thimbledore](thimbledore.tumblr.com)
“I think it is a brilliant book because its simple to understand which helps beginners, but it is so comprehensive in what it covers, it is great for more advanced people. I think it is a book that I will keep referring to forever because it is so good. It is a book that will last, so probably a great choice for a beginner.” -emma
Other Well-Loved Books
“The series is aimed at beginners and provides modern seeing advice–by that I mean they refer to up to date inventions like the serger and other tools ” -JP
“Again great step-by-step instructions for different methods – specific to sewing clothes, as well as good explanations of why you might choose a specific technique or method or what garments commonly use them.” -Brandy
“I found the Vogue Sewing really useful when I was starting out sewing, it has such clear descriptions in it for pretty much every technique I’ve ever used and probably ever will. It’s always at hand when I’m working on anything.” -Hazel
“I like how it tells you what you learn making something, then build upon that with something else.” -zebazga
“I would buy Claire Shaeffer’s book because she is a true master. The book is a bible, there is a wealth of information in this book that every sewist, beginner to advanced, should know.”
“My all-time favorite beginner book is Sewing Basics by Patricia Moyes. I was lucky enough to take her classes at San Francisco’s Sewing Workshop, and her book reflects her super-clear, very accessible teaching style. I still use it!” -Lianne
For all the recommendations, check out the comments on the original post.