June 3, 2010

Learn to Sew

When I decided to learn how to sew, I checked out a ton of books from the library. When I realized that I had a real passion, I started to invest in the ones I felt were the most helpful.

I now have quite the collection.

There have been a lot of books that have helped me out on my journey and because I am self taught, I have relied mostly on written instruction to improve my craft.

learn to sew, sewing books, teach yourself to sew, learn to sewSome of my favorites:

The Art of Manipulating Fabric- Collette Wolff : This book is my favorite because it is extremely interesting. Wolff details different sewing techniques used to create amazing textures with fabric. Pleats, gathers, ruffles, and smocking are used to create amazing pieces from fabric and her mixed manipulations are breathtaking. The book is so inspiring.

The Complete Book of Sewing- Larry Eisinger : This book is for the basics. I bought it used on Amazon for a great low price. It covers everything from fabric choice to tailoring, and is full of useful techniques. Plus it has fab vintage pictures and that delightful old book smell.

High-Fashion Sewing Secrets- Claire B Shaeffer : The finishing techniques in these pages are priceless. This book is especially helpful when sewing garments, but it's tips and tricks have been useful when making my bags as well.

Sew U- Wendy Mullin : This is the first book I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn to sew. It is spiral bound and comes with a skirt, shirt, and pant pattern. It covers the ABCs of sewing and is really easy to understand. She takes you through all the steps of choosing fabric, understanding your machine, cutting, stitching, and finishing.
The next half of the book is dedicated to creating pieces with the patterns provided. She shows you how to sew each pattern and alter each to create different lengths, hems, and pockets. You can create a ton of different pieces with just the three patterns. This book definitely gives you the most bang for your buck!

The New Crewel- Kathrine Shaughnessy : This is a new favorite. I am just starting to learn crewel and am loving it. This embroidery is done with two ply worsted wool thread that creates a lovely texture. I love it because the embroidery really pops. I am really excited to start to incorporate some crewel on some zipper pouches and bag handles in the future!


  1. oh how nice! it's awesome to get recommendations from someone who's self taught. i inherited my grandma's old sewing machine, and once tuned up, i'd really like to FINALLY teach myself how to use it. i'll def be looking into these. noob question: do these all have to do with machine sewing?

    thanks! :)

  2. I hope these books help you out- and that you find out you love sewing as much as I do :)
    All of the books deal with machine sewing, except for The New Crewel. However, The Art of Manipulating fabric deals a lot with hand sewing to do some of the manipulations.

    I hope this helps :)

  3. very cool! i'll have to try to squeeze in a library trip this weekend. my hubbs is now also very interested in learning how to sew. isn't that funny??

  4. I never would have thought to check out a book to learn how to sew... I am luckly enough to come from a very long line of seamstresses... so I pick up the phone. Next time I'm in a lurch I'll have to look at these.