Ten Best Sewing Books for the Absolute Novice

Ten Best Sewing Books for the Absolute Novice

As mentioned as I’m slowly teaching myself to sew as part of My New Year resolutions, aka operation-defeat-Neg-by-increasing-self-esteem-by-finishing-things. While my health has taken, a recent downturn meaning my motivation to work on new skill is at times non-existent so I thought I would share my favourite beginner sewing books.

Learning sewing has been something I’ve wanted to do for year and after may slow starts and mistake these are the 10 sewing books I’m loving and now own as a Novice Sewist. Please note I’m not getting any compensations from any of the titles below. I’m just recommending what I love and have found the most helpful so far

The Busy Girls Guide to Sewing By Cassie Maclennan

Filled with quick quirky projects aimed at those who are new to sewing (ME). The book maps the authors journey from “sewing phobic scardy-cat” to confident sewer. As a newbie in this area as well I found this really reassuring and can only hope my progress follows the same path. While I initially borrowed this book from the library, 3 times, I’ve since purchased my own copy.

The projects are arranged in the time taken to complete them, though thus far I’ve found the time almost double when making them for the first time but I can achieve them in this time frame the second time around. At the end of every pattern there are options to ‘Stitch it up a notch” which gives numerous variations for each project which is great and they are also achievable. The pin cushion featured in My First Sewing Project came from this book, as did my wonder women needle case. While I won’t make everything in the book, I love the authors reassuring tone and the helpful hints through the book are wonderful.



Learn to Sew with Lauren by Lauren Guthrie

As I live in Australia I hadn’t watched the Great British Sewing Bee, or herd of it when I brought this book (and if anyone cane tell me where I can watch all season I’d be very grateful). I’ll admit I brought the book because it was beautiful but also because my mum, who can sew and who was in Dymocks with me, had a look through and said it would be an ideal learn to sew book.

The book is beautiful and so far I’ve made the cushion cover (which came out much better than expected so I’ve now made 3) and the tote bag (first time using buttonhole stitch and sliding foot attachment).

Lauren’s Blog is also amazing for inspiration and help and makes me sad that I live in Southern Australia so I can’t visit the bricks and mortar shop.


Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes

I’ve made so secret for my love of Tilly and the Buttons. Her online course helped over come my initial fear of sewing so it will come as no surprise I’ve also got this in my newly formed sewing library. I love Tilly’s warmth and her reassurance and can feel them through the pages. I read this book when I’m having bad days and it always inspires me to start sewing.

Tilly’s Blog is also amazing and I now check it every day, as it filled with helpful hints and tips. If you are new to sewing and have no idea how to start or what to do I recommended her online courses as well.

While I’ve made the scarf pattern I’m yet to try my hand at sewing my own clothes yet I still find the book an incredible resource on sewing skills and its one I constantly refer to. I also love the Pinterest gallery as I find it very inspiring and it helps me believe that yes I can make a skirt. So much so that yesterday I took the plunge and brought material for the Margot PJ’s.


See Kate Sew by Kate Blocher


This book I found via Instagram, I can’t remember who recommended it but thanks. I love it The book has 24 simple projects, most of which teach a different technique and all can be made in under an hour. Now with my health I’ve found I’m allowing 2 hours for each but I’m getting quicker each time. I love the fabric envelope  and the colour block pouch, first time inserting a zipper. Though I did give both of these project away before taking photos so just trust me its so helpful as a beginner.


Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida


This is such a beautiful and inspiring book it currently lived on my bedside table for several months. Unlike the other books in this list this book is part memoir and part sewing book.  Sanae’s 20 projects arranged by season and all seem very doable even for me. I’m yet to make any though but I feel a connect with Sanae as she rediscovered sewing for similar reasons I want to start sewing. I love it and I’m excited to try making the projects soon, I’ve lent this to a friend who is creative and going through tough time in the hope it reminds her of the simple joys in life like it did me.


Simple Sewing by Lotta Jansdotter

I’ve been a long-time fan of Lotta Jansdotter simple designs and I first read about this book in Mollie Makes and after doing some research online it sounded like an ideal book for a novice, and Dear Reader I’m pleased to report that it is.  The Patterns are organized into four chapters: Cook, Go, Nest, Organize. and patterns are organized by their Level of Difficulty (1, 2, or 3), but none so far seem beyond that of an adventurous novice (hopefully me in a few months’ time). The simple designs appeal to me greatly as patchwork till intimidates me massively and these all seem really doable.

I’ve made the door snake numerous times, and hoping to make the apron soon


Sew La Tea Do by Pip Lincolne


I’m a massive fan of Pip Lincolne and I have been for a while. Her online crochet resources where amazing when I was learning how to crochet. I recently made the I love linus movie blanket which has gotten a lot of use and was my first into patchwork. I love Pips gentle encouragement throughout the book. Will make many more item from here. A word of warning I found this book difficult to track down and eventually brought a second hand (but in perfect condition) copy of ebay.


Make It Own It Love it by Matt Chapple

Another former Great British Sewing Bee contestant and winner. Matt’s book has been very helpful in assisting me with minor clothes repair (Hems etc) using my sewing machine. Previously I did all this by hand which took a fair amount of time. This book is great and very helpful, especially the section on customising clothes, which I often need to do as I’m petite.


Sew Over It by Lisa Comfort

This book is so beautiful I just want to live in it. Again I initially hired this and after rehiring several times at my local library I eventually brought a copy where it lived on my bedside table for weeks. Admittedly it has been replaced in this spot by Sew Over It Vintage also by Lisa. I love the tips for alerting clothing and adding motifs to existing tops. I now have several tops which I’ve earmarked for updates, one especially the beaded collar on page 47, and I’m a big fan of Lisa’s vintage style, which is more how I want to start dressing as it’s more “me”.

Bonus: the Sew Over It Vlogs (on YouTube) and blog are also a wealth of information.


Zakka Style Compiled by Rashida Coleman-Hale

This book is filled with cute quirky little projects for around the home. It was the inspiration behind the heated hand warmers I made my sister as a little birthday gift. The next make from this book will be the Sewing Kit (front cover image) on page 22, though I plan on making a few modifications to make it more suited to cross stitching as a gift for my Mum.

Bonus: How to Use a Sewing Machine: A Beginners Manual by Marie Clayton

While not a book with specific sewing projects in it this book has everything you need to know to choose, use and look after your sewing machine with confidence. I use this book to supplement the manual that came with my machine. The troubleshooting section has been helpful as is the basic explanation of stitching terms through to be honest most books in this list also feature this,.The illustrations of the techniques however are very useful and information on Sewing Machine maintenance is worth the purchase.



What Sewing Books have you found helpful, or would consider must reads for begginers?

Lois xo


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