I love books, and sewing books are no exception. I’m guilty of owning too many of them, but I can’t help it. I love the inspiration packed into each book. Plus, it’s helpful to have a print reference to refer to for help when I’m struggling with a construction issue or can’t remember the specifics of a sewing technique.
Here are a few of my favorite garment sewing books:
- The BurdaStyle Sewing Handbook by Nora Abousteit and Alison Kelly features 15 tutorials sourced from the BurdaStyle sewing community. Five patterns (skirt, blouse, dress, coat and bag) are included, and each tutorial will show you how the basic pattern can be adapted. Each tutorial also features additional variations submitted by sewists, demonstrating the versatility of each pattern.
- Sew U: The Built by Wendy Guide to Making Your Own Wardrobe by Wendy Mullin includes patterns for a basic skirt, shirt and pants. Mullin demonstrates how to construct each item, as well as how to choose fabric and notions, and make modifications to add variation to each garment to truly build your wardrobe.
- Sew U Home Stretch: The Built by Wendy Guide to Sewing Knit Fabrics by Wendy Mullin is similar in scope to Sew U, but the focus is on sewing garments from knit fabric. (Spoiler alert: Mullin shows you how to do this without using a serger). Three basic patterns are included for a crew-neck T-shirt, raglan T-shirt and a dress, which can be adapted for unique finished garments.
- Built by Wendy Coats and Jackets: The Sew U Guide to Making Outerwear Easy by Wendy Mullin takes three jacket patterns (fitted, straight and basic) and adapts them into 23 different garments, including a bolero and Chanel-inspired dinner jacket.
- Built by Wendy Dresses: The Sew U Guide to Making a Girl’s Best Frock by Wendy Mullin is the perfect book for any sewist who loves making dresses. Mullin shows how three basic patterns (the sheath, the shift, and the dirndl) can be customized in for 25 different dresses.
- BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern: Mastering Iconic Looks from the 1920s to 1980s by Nora Aboutsteit and Jamie Lau teaches you how to take classic looks from the 1920s to the 1980s, including Madonna’s iconic cone bra, and adapt them to look fresh and modern. Five full-size patterns are included to help you make the 19 projects in the book.
- Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing: A Modern Guide to Couture-Style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques by Gretchen Hirsch chronicles the author's progress in sewing all 14 looks from the 1950s sewing book Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing on her popular blog, Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. She shares the skills in couture techniques and customization that she learned along the way in this book, along with full-size patterns for vintage-inspired garments, like a pencil skirt and portrait blouse.
If you’re looking to brush up on your garment construction skills, Craftsy offers several great classes, including Sewing With Knits and Sew the Perfect Fit. You may also enjoy our roundup of couture sewing books. And come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow for tips on adding trim to garments!