Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Magazine Giveaway: Threads #171 (February/March 2014)

You could win this issue!

In our current Threads issue (#171, March 2014), there are many fantastic articles to give you some new sewing ideas. The cover story “Beaded Ribbon Weaving” is about how to embellish your garments with unique ribbons and beautiful beads. The technique displayed in the article teaches you how to weave the ribbon right through the fabric so you are completely free to create any design you desire with your embellishments. Other articles in this issue include draping methods, altering garment tips, and how to zipper by machine. We also asked our contributing authors (Paula DeGrand, Annie O’Connor, Angela Wolf, and Jacque Goldsmith) what their favorite sewing book is and why. Their variety of answers may help you find the right book for you!

Each of our contributors has a favorite book for their own reason, but all of them use it to improve their sewing. One relies on her favorite book as a reference for jacket techniques; one uses a dictionary to improve her knowledge of industry terms of seams and garment types; one uses her favorite for inspiration of new things to challenge herself with; and another depends on hers because it’s easy to understand and is well organized by technique. All of their responses demonstrate that everybody has their own reasons to have their picks.

Tell us what your favorite sewing book is and why in a comment below before the deadline (02/18/14, 11:59 p.m. EST), and you could win a copy of this issue! A winner will be randomly selected and announced on 02/19/14. Good luck!


Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in


  1. idosew | | #1

    Looks like a great cover

  2. Marty_Marie | | #2

    My favorite sewing book would have to be the readers digest Complete Guide to Sewing. When i was first starting out i had no idea what i was doing and that book was a great reference to introduce me into terminology and sewing.

  3. rueljo | | #3

    My favorite sewing book is Simplicity Simply the Best Sewing Book. I first learned to sew in 4H. Then many years later when I wanted to pock it up again, I bought my first copy. Then when my son got married in 2011 and he told me they had bought a new sewing machine I bought them a copy. I recently bought an updated copy for myself. I have been sewing for 45 years and I still look up things in it. They continue to update it frequently.

  4. jfpetutti | | #4

    My favorite sewing book is The Vogue Sewing Book and is, in my opinion, the most comprehensive sewing book I have ever come across. I have been using it for years. The one I have was copyrighted in 1973! and it is still relevent today. I have others,if course, that I go to, but this one is my favorite.

  5. pathersl | | #5

    Those tried and true books are wonderful, but I'll take Islander tapes or Nancy's Notions shows any day.

  6. User avater
    Boheme | | #6

    My favorite sewing book is 'Design-It-Yourself Clothes: Patternmaking Simplified' by Cal Patch. The straight forward directions and endless possibilities make it a key resource in my sewing library!

  7. daintydeb | | #7

    My favorite is Sandra Betzina's Power Sewing. This book opened up new ideas to me when I first returned to sewing after many years. I used to sew everything I and my children wore. Then I returned to it after 20 years. She describes many new ideas that stimulated my return to sewing.

  8. user-2435106 | | #8

    My favorite sewing book is Nancy Zieman's 'Sewing A to Z'. It's a large book, which has all the basics to good sewing explained. It has graphic pictures explaining things. I have sewn since the age of 15, and after not doing so for a few years, this book comes in handy for a refresher.

  9. deeweaver | | #9

    My favourite is Fast Fit by Sandra Betzina, because it helps you to make clothes that *really* fit.
    I'm now going to have to add all the other books mentioned here to my wish list!

  10. HilaryDT | | #10

    I have some of the earlier mentioned books, and they are indeed good books, but for me, I can't go past Couture Sewing techniques, by Claire Shaeffer. For classy, beautiful finishes to your garments - whether they are for modern everyday clothing, or special going somewhere outings, they add that touch of class. The Look-at-me finish for my sewing!

  11. User avater
    sewold | | #11

    I, too, use the Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing. It is a good reference book when I forget the best way to sew something. I've been sewing for over 60 years and still need help sometimes! Threads magazines are great for new ideas and updates on old ideas.

  12. LindaKaren | | #12

    Any vintage sewing book from the 1950's or 1960's. Singer put out a couple. The vintage books show you how to do all the great seam finishes, tucks, darts, covered buttons, etc. as well as using all those attachments that came with the older machines.

  13. MaryBob | | #13

    My favorite book is so important in my sewing life, I have two copies. Fine Embellishment Techniques (Classic Details for Today's Clothing) by Jane Conlon, published by Taunton Press, 2001. To explain 2 copies, one is covered with written notes all over favorite pages, one had spine removed and replaced with coil so I can put the book next to the sewing machine. That expense was worthwhile and has increased the usability of ALL information.
    I want couture ensembles WITH embellishments that make my pieces distinctly MINE. (Jane states that is one of her goals for writing the book.) Her selection of designs and instructions have given me the expertise to include so many touches to a classic pattern. This is the first book I recommend when I teach.

  14. talliana | | #14

    Simplicity Simply the Best sewing book because my mom gave one to me when she saw that I really loved to sew.

  15. Sadie984 | | #15

    If you will allow fitting, my favorite is Fitting and Pattern Alteration by Liechty, Pottberg, and Rasband. No matter what pattern fitting technique I use, even computer programs, this book still helps my understand what is needed. For sewing only, I go to Claire's Couture Sewing first and either Readers Digest or my old Stretch and Sew books next depending on the fabric. Kathy in Cincinnati

  16. sherih | | #16

    I have loads of sewing books for many reasons, but my all time favorite(s) are the Singer Sewing books. The explanations are excellent and the photography is outstanding! They instruct as well as inspire.

  17. RemnantsOfLife | | #17

    Like so many of us, I use a variety of books, but with technology, the internet is my go to source now.

  18. User avater
    nick0166 | | #18

    Reader's Digest Guide to Sewing, it may seem simple- but when I've forgotten something, it's easy pictures always solve the problem!

  19. Lady_D | | #19

    From another fan of Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. In my case, however, not just any edition will do. I discovered from reading reviews of this book that later edition eliminated some useful material from the book. Because of that, I insist on keeping my older (1976 edition) which was printed for the 9th time in 1982. As others before me have said, this is a great reference book for home sewists. I have other sewing books too, but this one is my instinctive and first "go to" book for any sewing question.

  20. User avater
    smfsprout | | #20

    I have many books that I use, but none is used more than my Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. Only someone who loves to sew will understand the various bookmarks, penciled notations and reminders that are found in my well loved tome.

  21. CAS48 | | #21

    "Make Your Own Clothes" because it allows me alter clothing to my size and print the included patterns with the included software.

  22. User avater
    SewingSadie | | #22

    In coming back to sewing just this past summer of 2013, after not having done any sewing other than sewing a button back on ny husbands shirts now and then, I have to say that right now my main "go to" book is "Threads Sewing Guide", which I just aquired recently. Then I also use Claire Shaeffer's "Fabric Sewing Guide" as well as Claire's "Couture Sewing Techniques", BOTH editions (the origional first edition from 1993), as well as the 2nd edition. The first edition has photos that the second edition does not have (which Claire mentioned in the second edition and I found a used copy online in perfect condition!). I really appreciate reading about all the other books that are mentioned here...........!

  23. SueBee256 | | #23

    I use the Singer Sewing books. They are detailed and I use a Singer sewing machine but I don't think you have to use their brand to gain a lot of knowledge.

  24. dmc000 | | #24

    I have had the 1975 Vogue Sewing Book since about then or maybe 1976. I did get the newer version in 1982. It was my go to book for how to do things right, good instructions for quality work. I have lots of other books that one helped me move from regular sewing to better techniques and nicer final products.

  25. yogamama522 | | #25

    I have a Simplicity sewing basics book from college 20 years ago that i still use!

  26. mad14kt | | #26

    I LOVE the vintage books but lately I've been enjoying - Sewing Secrets from the Fashion Industry. It has some of my favorite sewing features in it ... FIESTA :)

  27. jjneefer | | #27

    My favorite sewing book? That is a challenge,yet there is one that does stand out alone- The Reader's Digest Complete Book of Sewing. I still have the old copy from 1970 something with all of the fun and funky projects in the back of the book. The techniques in it are amazing and still comes in handy as a superb reference to tasks that sometime escape my noggin. I remember when my mom bought this for me way back in the early 1980's for my college class in sewing. Other books that I love include: Couture by Roberta Carr, Susan Khaljie's books on Linen and Cotton, as well as any book by Claire Schaeffer. My mom has one of the Mary Picken versions of the Singer Sewing Book.

  28. User avater
    angelap | | #28

    I collect sewing books & use many of them, but the one I use most often is Fine Machine Sewing by Carol Ahles. I like that it covers so many bases, correct needle to use, thread type, tension, machine settings, Heirloom sewing techniques. I learned so much from this book!

  29. Karrie_S | | #29

    One of my favorite is The Colette Sewing Handbook because I am beginning to learn how to sew garments and I love her patterns, and find it easy to follow. Thanks!

  30. Lawana55 | | #30

    I have a book put out by Readers Digest that is almost 30 years old that has the most information on all aspects of hand and machine sewing. I still refer to it often.

  31. bajjmayer | | #31

    I don 't have a favorite book but I love magazines like this that teach me little skills in small time frames...books would overwhelm me.

  32. moviedoll | | #32

    My favorite sewing book is The Tudor Tailor because as a history lover I absolutely adore the research they put into the book. The photos are great! It is easy to follow. It's just an all around great book for a costumer.

  33. bethatply | | #33

    My favorite book is 'The New Vogue Sewing Book'. I have used it for many years and it continues to deliver the information I might need. It covers fabrics, layouts, fitting, finishing, etc. and is such a great resource.

  34. User avater
    sewhappybjm | | #34

    My favorite sewing book is a beginning sewing book that I used in high school.

  35. user-2018032 | | #35

    I have a lot of them, but I all ways go back to the Alabama Channin books for Inspiration and technique, then I love "the illustrated Hassle-free Make your own Clothes book" from 1971 LCCCN 77-141476,as well as Mother Pletsch'sPainless sewing from 1975 ISBN 0-935278-00-1.

  36. vancouverlori | | #36

    I have so many, but for general sewing information, I like many others, look to the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing.

  37. AuntCoCo | | #37

    My favorite sewing book of the moment is, Sandra Betzina's Fabric Savvy and More Fabric Savvy. The place to start!

  38. MsMonica | | #38

    That's a good question, considering all my sewing books are my favorite. But to pick one, it would be Sandra Betzina's, "Power Sewing". It has excellent explanations and photographs. Working on building my library of sewing books.

  39. Carly_Sue | | #39

    My pattern drafting books by Virginia Nastuik....Personal Patterns by Jinni. I took her course back in 1987. I have loved to make my own garments since because they fit and I can perfect what needs fixing. I have dozens of wonderful sewing books. I love to my collection and use them all of the time.

  40. phoebe1beloved | | #40

    When I was in college I used the Vogue sewing book because I had learned how to sew by watching my mother. I needed some extra techniques in school. When I was in college I acquired several books on drafting patterns and used them often. But the books I really loved to use were "Needlework" by Therese Dillmont and "Cut My Cote". I believe the second one was produced by the Royal Ontario museum. I used the ideas in there for many garments. It was fun trying to make clothes with zero wasted fabric! I'm very interested in many of the books mentioned by the other commenters. Perhaps a bibliography could be made so we could read each others favorites.

  41. kathy978 | | #41

    My favorite sewing book is Fine Embellishment Techniques by Jane Conlon. It has sections on many different techniques such as Chinese knots, beading, piping, threadwork that are very well explained with clear, easy to understand photographs and illustrations. I have been sewing for a long time and enjoy learning the more advanced techniques.

  42. Mamato8 | | #42

    My favorite is Stitchology. It's a small yellow book about different problems and challenges people have with their sewing machines. I picked it up about 20 years ago for $4. Now, out of print, it's up to $13 on the Internet sites! It's a great little book that shows how stitches are formed by the sewing machine and what to do to get your stitches right. Sometimes, it's as simple as replacing the needle.

    The biggest thing I learned from that book is, that rat's nest of thread under the feed dogs is usually the top thread! The thread doesn't have enough tension on it for the needle to bring it back up. I work in a fabric store and I often refer to the knowledge I gained from that small book to help my customers.

  43. User avater
    CanadianWriter | | #43

    I love "The Art of Fabric Collage" by Rosemary Eichorn -- still available from her web site or from Amazon. I learned so much from her, and was inspired to create many wearable-art garments, which never fail to draw admiration whenever I wear them.
    She takes you through the steps of various surface design techniques, including how to do collage, bias-covered seams, corded piping, continuous bias,and much more. The photos show both her techniques and examples of her fabulous finished creations. Highly recommend.

  44. AliceEliza | | #44

    My favorite is Sandra Betzina's More Fabric Savvy. It's spiral-bound, so pages like flat. Each type of fabric has a 2 page layout covering all kinds of useful tips by category & photos of sewn garments in that fabric. It's easy to use and I rely on it.

  45. jzzl | | #45

    Claire Shaeffer's Fabric Sewing Guide is my go to book when deciding if a fabric will work in my design.

  46. SewingKindness | | #46

    Deciding on just one book - is so very hard. My latest book favorite is: Power Sewing Step-by-Step by Sandra Betzina. The descriptions, pictures and history, are great.

  47. christaj3 | | #47

    My favorite is The Sewing Machine Classroom! Thanks!

  48. christaj3 | | #48

    My favorite is The Sewing Machine Classroom because it really helped me to learn the basics as a new sewer. Thanks!

  49. 24g | | #49

    When I need some refreshing information about special hand sewing technique, I refer to my Vogue Sewing Book.

  50. User avater
    sewindj | | #50

    My favorite/ go to sewing book is: Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing. this has answered my sewing questions since my beginning sewing.

  51. user-370612 | | #51

    My first Home Economics sewing book "Sew A Fine Seam" was my first reference book, however, since then many reference books on my bookshelves are pulled down when I need help.

    "Simplicity's Simply The Best Sewing Book" and "Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing replaced my original book and now are supplemented by "Fit for Real People" and "Pants for Real People" by Pati Palmer & Marta Alto.

    I love having a variety of books to cross reference, especially when I run into strange fitting problems as I age.

  52. user-3192232 | | #52

    my favorite sewing book is modern needlework in 600 picture.
    it a very old sewing book I found in a thrift store.
    it has a bit of every, sewing by hand and machine with clear pictures.
    I call it my picture dictionary for sewing.

  53. MaryNoony | | #53

    My favorite reference book is the Vogue sewing book. I still get excited when I look through its pages. I find the explanations clear and concise.

  54. cblsews | | #54

    Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, It is very easy to understand and I use it for the techniques. I am a fairly new sewer and this book has helped me greatly.

  55. I9 | | #55

    I am a sewing books collector and I love almost every sewing book. But I'm so fond of the Sew Stylish magazine which always comes with new patterns and teaching new techniques. I always learn something new out of it

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

More From Threads

Discussion Forum

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All