The best sewing books

The Best Sewing Books According to Enthusiastic Amazon Reviewers [Jan 2020]

When buying a new sewing book it can always be a little bit of a gamble, particularly when you are buying from an online retailer. It’s hard to get a feel for the book without being able to physically flick through the pages and decide whether it is the right sewing book right for you.Luckily for us, places like Amazon have an amazing review section – from other consumers who have purchased and used the book.To try and make things easier I have made this post about the top 10 books (on average) rated by Amazon customers.I have picked out one actual review from each book that I think gives a good overview of the book in an effort to make buying easier for you. Nothing beats enthusiastic reviews on Amazon, and I hope this style of review never goes away!Enjoy!

A stack of books with a cup of tea sitting ontop

The Best Sewing Books According to Amazon Reviewers – Overview Table

It’s a Wrap: Sewing Fabric Purses, Baskets, and Bowls4.7 / 5
The Readers Digest Complete guide to sewing4.7 / 5
Singer New Sewing Essentials: Updated and Revised Edition4.9 / 5
Fine Machine Sewing Revised Edition: Easy Ways to Get the Look of Hand Finishing and Embellishing4.8 / 5
Heirloom Machine Quilting: A Comprehensive Guide to Hand-Quilted Effects Using Your Sewing Machine4.9 / 5
Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide4.8 / 5
The Sewtionary: An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques and Definitions4.8 / 5
The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible: Get the Most from Your Machine with Embroidery Designs and Inbuilt Decorative Stitches4.8 / 5
Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe4.8 / 5
Featherweight 221: The perfect portable: Appreciating, finding and using the Singer model 221 Featherweight portable sewing machine4.8 / 5

The Best Sewing Books According to Amazon Reviewers

10: It’s a Wrap: Sewing Fabric Purses, Baskets, and Bowls

  • Author: Susan Breier
  • Publisher: That Patchwork Place
  • Pages: 80 pages

A fantastic book full of in depth step-by-step guides on how to make oval, round, square and my other shaped containers. This book is perfect for everyone form total beginner to professional seamstress. There is a great additional information about fabrics and materials. The authors writing style and overall outlook on life is inspiring and can very easily turn this book into a front-to-back read in one sitting.

Great Book! Instructions were clear with great ideas to make rope baskets! Very creative…very addictive craft. Once you make one you are hooked!

9: The Readers Digest Complete guide to sewing

  • Author: The Reader’s Digest Association
  • Publisher: The Reader’s Digest Association (1976)
  • Pages: 528 pages

The Readers Digest ‘Complete Guide To Sewing’ is regarded as one of the ‘classic’ instructional sewing guidebooks to date. This book has been revised, re-issued and re-worked however, nothing can seem to live up to this original copy. The guide has a complete in depth guide to almost every niche in the sewing realm, including:

  • Patters
  • Collars
  • Pockets
  • Necklines
  • Sleeves
  • zippers
  • Buttons
  • Tailoring
  • and more

The guide features lots of images, illustrations and diagrams to explain when needed. It is a very informative book and one that should be found next to every sewing machine in the country.

If you are in need of a good, easy to read & understand basics of sewing book this one is just what you should own. It covers just about every aspect of sewing, and is especially helpful if you are just starting out. The photos and visual guides are especially well done. I’ve been sewing for almost 50 years and I thought it would be a good idea to own a basic sewing handy-man type of book because there is always something that I just want to quickly check out to make sure I’m applying a lifetime of learning in the most efficient and even the most correct way. I’m glad I got around to buying this book…

8: Singer New Sewing Essentials: Updated and Revised Edition

  • Publisher: Quarry Books; Updated, Revised edition (November 1, 2008)
  • Pages: 144 pages

This book should be in any beginning sewers library. It is an essential guide perfect for anyone who is new to the sewing world, or anyone who has not touched their machine for years. It covers all the basics of sewing, specifically covering hand stitching, machine stitching, seams, edging, closures, laying out patterns, how to prepare your fabric and understanding the material itself.A fantastic book for the beginner or a great resource to have in the library.

This was purchased as a gift for a beginning sewer. It is a good book that covers just about all basics needed to get started. I’d buy it again if I need a book to encourage a new sewer.

7: Fine Machine Sewing Revised Edition: Easy Ways to Get the Look of Hand Finishing and Embellishing

  • Publisher: Taunton Press; Revised Edition (February 1, 2003)
  • Pages: 208 pages

This book is aimed at existing sewers who have a good understanding of basic – intermediate sewing and would like to advance to the next level of sewing. It has been made to help sewers create and finish professional looking garments with great fine detail.You get detailed step-by-step instructions and lots of techniques and tip to bring your sewing game to the next level. Definitely a book for the intermediate-advanced sewing or the beginner who has big aspirations of creating finer looking garments.

Only on Page 13, and I’ve already learned 3 important sewing techniques. Wonderful instructions and sidebar advice. I highly recommend this book for both beginners and older sewers (me included) who are rediscovering the enjoyment of sewing machines.

6: Heirloom Machine Quilting: A Comprehensive Guide to Hand-Quilted Effects Using Your Sewing Machine

  • Author: Harriet Hargrave
  • Publisher: C&T Publications; 3rd edition (March 1, 1995)
  • Pages: 176 pages

This is an updated version of the classic 1987 version. It is a book specifically targeting quilting. It is a very informative guide on everything you need to know about machine quilting.This book would be right at home in the library of a total beginner or an advanced quilter. It has many great tips, tricks and guides to get you out of any sticky quilting situation.

I am so, so happy that I purchased this book. I learned about it from a quilting board forum and I went searching for it on ebay and amazon. Anyway, this book is chuck full of excellent information about machine quilting. If anyone is thinking of doing machine quilting you will certainly benefit from this book. I love the spiral binding because it makes reading it so easy and when you need to follow some directions the book lays flat. You won’t be disappointed with the way this book is put together and the valuable information that is inside.

5: Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide

  • Author: Claire Shaeffer
  • Publisher: Krause Publications; Second edition (December 31, 2008)
  • Pages: 528 pages

There is no doubt about it, this is a big book. But before you go ahead and think it is going to be filled with nonsence and page wasting pictures – think again. This revised version of Claire Shaeffers Fabric Sewing Guide is jam packed full of very good information. Through its 7 sections it covers:

  • Planning your garment
  • An overview and breakdown of different materials
  • A breakdown of different fabric structures
  • A breakdown of different fabric types
  • A complete guide to linings and interior support
  • An overview of sewing techniques which are referenced in the above sections. This section is great to have bookmarked for quick referencing
  • An additional glossary of terms used throughout the book. Again a great section to have bookmarked for quick referencing.

A must have book for all sewers beginner to professional.

I have read that, ” the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know”. This book makes it abundantly clear that there is so much more to learn when it comes to elevating your skills to a higher level. Ms. Shaeffer announces boldly in the first few pages that she is obsessed with fabric, likes to be technically challenged, and embraces her failures…I have found my book. This book should be read and reread! I have found so many tips, far too many to mention here, that have made my sewing better, and its all these not so LITTLE things, that make your creations look professional.

4: The Sewtionary: An A to Z Guide to 101 Sewing Techniques and Definitions

  • Author: Tasia St. Germaine
  • Publisher: KP Craft; Spi edition (July 7, 2014)
  • Pages: 256 pages

The most accurate way to describe this book is indeed ‘from “applique” to “zippers” and everything in between!’Existing sewers and new sewers alike will appreciate the in-depth breakdown of the 101 sewing techniques and definitions. It is essentially the dictionary that should come with every sewing machine. This book is well laid out and in alphabetical order with lots of pictures and diagrams to help explain. You shouldn’t buy a sewing machine without buying (or borrowing) a copy of this book.

LOVE LOVE LOVE! A must have for the beginning seamstress! I found a costume pattern I just had to have but I have never sewn before. I bought it anyway and when I opened it up the sewing terms were like a foreign language. First, I got the sewing for dummies book…. what a waste. Then I found this book. This book right here is all I needed! Beautifully spiral bound hard cover. FULL COLOR with awesome DETAILED photos. Sewing techniques are discussed alphabetically to easily find what you are looking for. Each technique has a “when to use it” section along with a tips and tricks section I can’t tell you how helpful this book was.

3: The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible: Get the Most from Your Machine with Embroidery Designs and Inbuilt Decorative Stitches

  • Author: Liz Keegan
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin; Rebound edition (September 9, 2014)
  • Pages: 128 pages

If you are looking to get into embroidery, you can not look past this book. It is literally the bible. Although it is a fairly short book it covers everything that any aspiring embroider-er needs to know. It is a fantastic book to have as a reference guide, a coffee table book or a front-to-back read. You get step-by-step instructions covering everything from free-standing, heirloom, lettering, trapunto and pretty much anything else your heart desires.It includes sections of organization and an overview on how to transfer designs from computer to machine and an overview of basic embroidery stitches found on todays sewing machines. Again this is a book that should be sitting next to every sewing machine in the country that has an embroidery setting.

This book met all my expectations as a novice machine embroiderer. It is small enough to hold, includes the basics of using a computer; has great tutorials, and graphic pictures, and has the basics of the process along with cheat sheets for fabrics and stabilizers. Worth both my time and money, and I will use frequently as a reference book.

2: Alabama Studio Sewing + Design: A Guide to Hand-Sewing an Alabama Chanin Wardrobe

  • Author: Natalie Chanin
  • Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang Inc
  • Pages: 176 pages

If you are interesting in sewing your own handmade wardrobe you can’t look past this book. The Alabama Chanin wardrobe is one that is not for everyone, however, if this particular style matches your style you really need this. Included in the book are easy to follow, well laid out instructions to make:

  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Tops
  • Wraps
  • Ponchos
  • Boleros
  • Fingerless gloves
  • and a hat

This book is great for everyone from a first timer a well seasoned seamstress. For those who are new to sewing there are large photos and a in depth glossary with pictures. It is an essential book for anyone wanting to make the dive into creating their own unique wardrobe.

I wavered on buying this book. I wasn’t a big fan of the bucket hat on the cover, had never heard of Alabama Chanin, and when I looked at a few images of the fashion line I didn’t see myself in those clothes.I made my decision to purchase based on the emphasis on hand sewing, embroidery, fashion applique, and beading. This may be the best sewing-centric book purchase I’ve made in the last 12 months (and I’ve made quite a few).

1: Featherweight 221: The perfect portable: Appreciating, finding and using the Singer model 221 Featherweight portable sewing machine

  • Author: Nancy Johnson-Srebro
  • Publisher: Silver Star Pub; Revised edition edition (1992)
  • Pages: 72 pages

This book is specifically targeted at those who have a Featherweight sewing machine or who are looking to buy a Featherweight machine. It is essentially a guide on what to look for when buying, an in depth breakdown of the parts and a guide on how to fix your machine so you don’t waste money taking it to get repaired.Although it is a very niche book this is the book that Amazon reviewers go the craziest over!

If your like me and get the Featherweight bug you need this book for your collection even if your collection consists of one, we all start with just one. I bought the kindle version because I only had one at the time, now I have 4 of these ladies and wish I had purchased the hard copy to display with my collection. I also suggest you purchase this book before you buy your FW so you know what to look for. There’s all these little things about the FW that makes each one unique IE why is a 1951 more valuable than a 1948. Why you shouldn’t pass one up because it smells (simple fix). Buy the book you won’t be disappointed.

There you go. The best sewing books according to Amazon reviews. I hope you can benefit from one (or more) of these books on your sewing quest. Do you have a book that other sewers shouldn’t be living without? Let me know in the comments below!

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