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If you’re learning to sew, finding a good beginner sewing book that’s easy to understand is so important to your sewing success. That, and reading your sewing machine’s user manual before starting to sew!
I’ve read a lot of books on how to sew over the years to learn more about my craft, and here I’ve reviewed the best sewing books for beginners.
There are typically two types of sewing books for beginners.
The first type is books that teach you how to use your sewing machine, meaning how to set it up, thread it, and sew with it.
Then, there are books that teach you how to sew simple projects. Basically, the technical aspects of sewing like how to create garments and sew buttonholes, pleats, gathers, waistbands, and more.
In most books, there’s a bit of overlap.
If you are a true beginner, meaning you don’t even know where to start with a sewing machine, I recommend choosing a sewing book that’s going to first teach you how to use your machine. Then, once you master setup and basic stitching, you’ll be ready to learn more complicated sewing tasks.
If you already know how to use a sewing machine but are a beginner to garment-making, for instance, choose a more advanced beginner sewing book that glosses over basic terminology and skips straight to teaching you more about the technical aspects of sewing.
Best Sewing Books for Beginners in 2021 – Reviews
Now, let me tell you a little more about each book!
1. First Time Sewing: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide
If you’re looking for the best sewing book for beginners, this is going to be the most basic book out there that walks you through starting and using your machine in great detail.
I’m talking for beginners who’ve never even touched a sewing machine before and know nothing of the fancy words used in the sewing community. It will describe different sewing accessories and tools and how to use patterns as well as maintenance and troubleshooting for your machine.
You’ll learn how to thread your sewing machine and sew a stitch. In addition to machine sewing, you’ll learn hand-sewing stitches, such as sewing on buttons.
At the end of the book, there are 8 easy sewing projects (making a pillowcase, apron, skirt, etc) where you will use your newfound sewing skills. The photos are in color and large enough so you don’t have to squint when examining the details.
If you already know how to set up your machine and sew a basic stitch, you will likely find the majority of this book too basic. This is GREAT for beginners, though.
However, once you’ve learned the basics, it will not grow as much with you when you want to start sewing more complicated projects and garments, for instance.
2. The Sewing Book: Over 300 Step-by-Step Techniques
If you’re looking for beginner sewing books to just teach you how to set up your sewing machine, this is not the best book for that.
It is more geared towards beginner sewists who already know how to set up, thread, and sew a basic straight stitch on their machine. This book teaches you how to complete sewing projects with your machine.
This amazing reference book will help with learning to sew as a beginner but will also keep teaching you as a more advanced sewist. I still to this day return to this book when I want to be reminded of something a little more complicated.
What I love the most about this book is the colored pictures and very detailed, accompanying descriptions. I’m a visual learner, so seeing the processes in pictures step-by-step is SO helpful.
This book starts with information about sewing tools, so you know what you need to get started sewing. It follows with sewing techniques, everything from creating darts, pleats, and collars to applying interfacings and sewing hems and seams. Throughout the book, there are also projects that will help you master the sewing skills described in the book.
It’s a 400-page book, so it’s not a book to sit down and read front-to-back. I use mine as a reference when I come across a sewing project that I need more help with. For instance, I love attaching decorative pockets to garments but often forget the different options and how to construct them.
It’s especially geared towards sewists who are looking to mend or sew clothes, as there is extensive information about how to sew collars, facings, waistlines, belts, pockets, sleeves, and cuffs, for instance. However, many of the skills required in creating garments translate to home decor and DIY projects as well.
3. Singer: The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing
Books with detailed, color photos are the best books for beginners learning to sew, in my opinion. Words only mean so much when you’re first learning, but a visual will provide so much information!
This photo guide will start with teaching you about setting up, using, and even troubleshooting your sewing machine. There’s a section about equipment and supplies you’ll need to get started and supplies you’ll want once you get more comfortable creating projects.
In its 300+ pages, you’ll learn about using a pattern, selecting fabrics, cutting fabrics, applying interfacing, and sewing different seams and garment parts such as sleeves, cuffs, collars and much more!
And if you’re not interested in learning to sew clothing, there’s an entire portion of the book dedicated to home decor and upholstery. There’s even a section dedicated to sewers who are new to using a serger.
At any point, if you find sewing lingo you don’t understand, there’s a helpful glossary at the back of the book.
Just like The Sewing Book, this is an all-inclusive book that will cater to beginner sewers as well as more intermediate and advanced seamstresses looking to brush up on or learn sewing skills. I’ve used the second edition of this beginner sewing book extensively and still find it contains valuable information.
4. Sew Me! Sewing Basics: Simple Techniques and Projects for First-Time Sewers
This is one of the beginner sewing books geared toward beginning sewers who are still navigating how to use their first sewing machine.
You’ll first learn how to choose a good beginner sewing machine (if you don’t already have one!) and then set it up and get started.
The author also explains common sewing tools and how to prepare your sewing space.
This book will then teach how to mend, alter, and create garments.
You’ll also learn how to cut and use patterns, gather fabrics, install, a zipper, sew a seam, create a buttonhole, and more!
Skills are introduced one by one and are accompanied by quick projects and exercises so you can learn by doing. There are 15 easy projects that include pincushions, napkins, coin pouches, and even a plushie. Pictures are also in vivid color.
At close to 150 pages, you’ll find this book covers the very basics for beginners and then a little bit more for intermediate sewers. It doesn’t cover as much as some of the more extensive tomes here. But, it’s got great information for beginners and is simply laid out.
5. The Sewing Machine Classroom: Learn the Ins & Outs of Your Machine
This beginner sewing book is focused more on getting to know and learn how to use a sewing machine.
You’ll read about terminology, how to troubleshoot sewing problems like poorly adjusted tension, and choose needles, threads, and fabrics that will work well with your projects.
It will teach you how to choose the correct presser foot (I love how computerized Brother sewing machines already help with this, though!) and even perform basic machine maintenance.
Once you master the ins and outs of your machine, you’ll learn how to sew hems, edgings, buttonholes, zippers, embellishments, and more. This is definitely more focused on true beginners rather than sewers who have touched a machine before but just want to learn more.
6. Pat Sloan’s Teach Me to Make My First Quilt
If you’re a beginner sewer looking to specifically learn quilting, you might be reading these sewing book reviews wondering why you’d want to learn how to sew darts, collars, and cuffs!
If so, Teach Me to Make My First Quilt is a great beginner quilting book.
It begins with the basics of your sewing machine as it relates to quilting. For instance, defining the walking foot and 1/4″ piecing foot. After that, you’ll learn quilting terms and how to read a quilting pattern, cut fabric, sew a straight line, and so much more.
At the end of the book, you’ll find many sewing patterns for basic quilts where you’ll learn how to use the skills you’ve been taught in this book.
As a note, this book is not so basic that it teaches you step-by-step instructions for machine setup and troubleshooting. It will teach you how to quilt with a sewing machine that you’ve already learned to set up.
I hope you are able to find the best sewing books for beginners to meet your specific needs! If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment, and I can help more!