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Beginners guide to sewing book…

dwcasey | Posted in General Discussion on

Looking for book recommendations for my wife. We had some neighbors move and they just left some stuff in front of their house that they didn’t want to take with them. A couple of lamps, a side table, a nice workbench and a sewing machine.

We grabbed the machine and my sister-in-law who sews a little said it’s probably a mid-70’s model…Singer I believe. Has the original booklet and seems to be in good shape.

So, I wanted to get my wife a good book to go with and have no idea what to look for. She knows next to nothing about sewing (either by hand or with a machine).

I like a lot of Taunton books…I mostly read Fine Homebuilding and their woodworking materials.

Any good ideas for a Sewing 101 type book that I could pick up?? Thanks.


  1. mygaley | | #1

    For sewing 101, the Singer Sewing Book(s) are easy to follow.  For growth and a good reference, start off with Vogue's sewing book.  For good information already paid for with your tax dollars, contact your County Home Demonstration Agent.  If I could only have one, I'd take Vogue.  Also be sure to subscribe to Threads and read this website; you'll learn more here than anywhere else!

    1. dwcasey | | #2

      Not sure what County Home Demonstration office is around here. We have a county extension office/service. Thanks for the books mentioned, I will give them a look.

      1. cafms | | #6

        The County Home Demonstration office is an older name for what is now  called the Extension Service and is associated with one of the universities in your state.  It could also be called cooperative extension service if a couple are working together.  It should have an office in the county seat of your county.  You can also find good information from the websites of other states by googling "extension service" and probably find your own state listed.  Sometimes they offer classes at the offices or will have a Master Clothing Volunteers or Master Sewing group that teach classes.

      2. applepie767 | | #9

        Your county extension office and website has alot of info on sewing.sks

  2. moushka26 | | #3

    The Simplicity Sewing Book is my favourite "introduction to sewing" book. Easy to find at WalMart. Excellent explanations and clear illustrations. The Vogue sewing book is a bit more advanced, imho. The Singer Sewing series has wonderful, clear, "see every thread" photos.

    Good fabric is worth the money. A quality quilting cotton or cotton upholstery remnant will sew up easily, press beautifully, and create a lovely pillow cover or sham in next-to-no time. Don't overlook sources of almost "free" fabric for practicing on: old sheets (from the cupboard or the thrift store) provide great material for learning the "feel" of her machine.

    There is lots of sewing information on-line. Besides "Threads" and Gatherings, there's a sewing topic at http://www.about.com, although it's not as well organized as this one. http://Www.patternreview.com is another website with lots of useful information, a message board, and lively discussions and classes on many aspects of garment sewing. http://Www.sewingworld.com is a bulletin board that covers most sewing topics. All the major pattern companies have their own websites, too; most have a few technical articles that might be useful.

    Hope this helps. Good luck with the new machine.

    1. dwcasey | | #5

      Thanks for the reply. Ya know, I think that is the one I ended up getting. One reason I got the book I did is it had a few simple projects in it. The other books seemed to put too much emphasis on clothing. The book I purchased had a tote for babies and baby stuff and that fit well since we have two young children.

      1. Harborcon | | #7

        I would offer one other suggestion:  if your local high school still teaches home economics, your wife might be able to audit a class, beginning with the freshman (basics) level.  And I would also suggest taking the machine in for a good service, be sure the tension is correctly set, bobbin case, feed dogs, etc., cycling smoothly, and be sure she's using the right needles.  Good luck!

        1. dwcasey | | #8

          Good ideas, thanks. I never though to have it serviced. I'll look for a suitable repair center. Thanks.

  3. sueb | | #4

    Why not check your local library and let her flip through several books first.  Once she decides which ones would be helpful you can get her a copy for her own sewing library.  

  4. Jumala | | #10


    Some local community colleges, technical/vocational schools have evening/day classes in various aspects of sewing. Just my 2 cents worth.

  5. user-23092 | | #11

    Try Sewing 101: A Beginner's Guide to Sewing -- by The Editors of Creative Publishing international (Editor).  It's a great book for beginners.  There is also a companion book called Home Decor Sewing 101 : A Beginner's Guide to Sewing for the Home (101) .  Both are available on http://www.amazon.com.  Hope your wife (and even you) enjoy the journey to becoming an accomplished "sewist". 

    1. dwcasey | | #12

      The Sewing 101 book is the book I ended up with. Thank you for mentioning the companion book as well. She just told me last week that for her first project, she is going to make some small pillows for our two daughters. She was able to find some fabric she liked and seems eager to get started.

      1. user-23092 | | #13

        Hope she enjoys making them.  I've been sewing for many, many years and have always enjoyed it. 

  6. user-86213 | | #14

    I'm a librarian by day and sew to relax when I'm off.  Here are two books I recommend to people wanting to start sewing:   1.  Sewing Basics by Patricia Moyes--it has good instructions and pictures for garment construction.  Nice progression from easier to more dfficult techniques through the book.  2.  Sewing for the First Time by Mary Jo Hiney--this book takes you through basic techniques by making various nice projects for the home.  Most projects are flat; no fitting of the body in this one.


    1. dwcasey | | #15

      Thank you for the recommendations. My wife and kids were off to the library today, so I will forward this to her.

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