I’m a book junkie. I’ve always loved reading and have a week spot for the smell of a brand new book. I’m inordinately proud of my bookshelves. Um, there’s even a pile of sewing books I leave out for decoration.
The thing is sewing books really are all that. The inspiration is endless. The directions are there. And, when you borrow them from the library, it’s all free! There’s little need for buying patterns, when books like these abound!
Learning to Sew
Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. This is the book that got me started actually sewing. Very clear directions with Amy’s frank and casual vibe. From sewing a seam to sewing a buttonhole. Easy projects for the beginner. Happy pictures. Slight vintage flare. See what people have made at the Flickr group.
The Modern Quilt Workshop by Weeks Ringle and Bill Kerr. My favorite overall learn-to-quilt book that was available at the library. Discussions of technique were very straightforward with lots of “this is why we suggest you do it this way.” I learned a lot!
Quilt Making Basics by Elizabeth Hartmon of Oh, Fransson! So this is a link to a series of blog posts, not a book. Elizabeth is an amazing quilter and a great teacher. She’s coming out with her own how-to book, The Practical Guide to Patchwork, sometime in the near future. Can’t wait.
Sew Liberated by Meg McElwee. All the ins and outs of how to applique. Meg covers many different methods with precision and helpful tips. Projects are adorable, yet modern and range from beginner to complex. Popular projects: soft baby book, art smock, children’s animal bag, camera bag, apron. I made curtains. See what people have made at the Flickr group.
Alabama Stitch Book & Alabama Studio Style by Natalie Chanin. It’s all by hand, but don’t let that stop you – you’ll love it! Natalie’s unique, earthy style lends itself to gorgeously embellished clothing, tablecloths, bags and book covers. I refashioned this skirt. See what people have made at the Flickr group.
I Love Patchwork by Rashida Coleman-Hale. Rashida has an amazing sense of style and color. This book is total eye-candy! Lots of linen with modern prints. Projects range from simple to complex. Nice, clear directions. Popular projects (um, all of them!): calendar, travel sewing book, coasters, sewing machine cover. See what people have made at the Flickr group.
Patchwork Style by Suzuko Koseki. Drool. This book is not for beginners, as it features minimal directions and projects with lots of small piecing. However,the projects are amazing! Modern, Japanese style. Popular projects: patchwork rug, pot holders, log cabin blocks/quilts. I made the patchwork rug. See what people have made at the Flickr group.
Last Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson. Simply gorgeous. My favorite collection of quilts with clear directions easy enough for the beginner. Popular projects – quilted coasters, rainbow pencil roll, Color wheel quilt, Peanut the wee elephant, pin cushion. See what people have made at the Flickr group.
The Gentle Art of Quiltmaking by Jane Brocket. Jane shares her quilting process from inspiration to completion in detail, from color selection to borders to binding, on many beautiful quilts. Her English cottage style is not my own, but I feel I learned a lot about color and scale. See this review by The Sometimes Crafter.
Handmade Home by Amanda Blake Soule. A warm, eco-friendly book with a wide variety of practical and memory-keeping projects. Not all sewing. Directions are light, but the projects are easy enough for someone still new to sewing. Definitely favors an earthy, homemaking type like myself. My review here. I made the word banner. See what people have made at the Flickr group.
Seams to Me by Anna Maria Horner. Lovely projects in Anna’s glowing fabrics. A good intro-to-sewing section. Popular projects – caddy pin cushion, hexagon patchwork baby ball, purses and aprons. See what people have made at the Flickr group.
Sewing Bits & Pieces by Sandi Henderson. Small projects made with fabric scraps. Many show how to embellish something to make it more special. Lots of projects to make for kids! Great directions. See what I made here. See what people have made at the Flickr group.
The New Crewel by Katherine Shaughnessy. I have yet to find an embroidery book to love. Crewel is much like embroidery, but more “chunky”. This modern interpretation is packed with amazing designs. Very easy to learn and the perfect way to get inspired for handwork. I made this pillow and this one too.