Books and Reference

Even if you prefer to learn about sewing in a classroom or with video, there is still a place for books – whether digital or traditional. It’s often the fastest way to get to the answer you need (no fast-forwarding!). They also give you the option of going at your own pace. I have a few essential books that will never leave my bookshelf, but many others rotate through for inspiration, instruction, and fun.

Here is where I go to find these great resources:

The Local Library

Did you forget you had one? That’s okay, it happens. Libraries are great places to look for those “inspiration” books. You can read up on fashion designers, techniques, projects, and the rest without having to buy. This is where I go to find things like beautifully photographed coffee table books that would be expensive to buy and probably read only once. Your library likely stocks print magazines such as Threads and Vogue Patterns and may have years of back issues. More and more libraries are starting and expanding their digital lending collections as well. The best part? You can get your e-books without even leaving the house.


There is a reason Amazon is so huge. They have just about every book ever and the prices are really low. Amazon was also one of the first to offer e-readers with its Kindle devices. If it is available digitally, Amazon will probably have it. If you don’t want to mess around, Amazon is where you should start.

Specialty Sewing Websites

Are you interested in making curtains? The best place to find reliable books on the subject is a company that specializes in curtain-making. They often have small selections of exactly what you want.

Draperies and Home Dec – Home Sewing Depot

Craft Projects – Leisure Arts and Create for Less

Projects with Kids – Leisure Arts

Garment Sewing – The Confident Stitch

Out of Print Books

One of my all time favorite books, The Butterick Art of Dressmaking from 1927, was a vintage shop find. Another fantastic reference, The Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Needlework, I found in a used book sale (Hardcovers $1!). Thrift store. Yard sale. Antique shop. Friends and family. You can find great books in all kinds of places if you are looking out for them. Remember, a lot of the basics don’t change. A flat-felled seam in 2018 is the same as a flat-felled seam in 1928. If you have your heart set on something that’s out of print, the internet is your friend. Amazon, Etsy and EBay are good places to start looking.