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15 of the best sewing books to buy in 2021

Sewing books can be an invaluable source of advice, practical guides and patterns, whether you're a beginner or an experienced sewer. Explore our pick of the best sewing books to buy in 2021

Best sewing books

We love getting our hands on a new sewing book and there are loads of brilliant ones out there right now. Whether you’re learning how to sew or looking for a good source of new patterns, you’re bound to find a new favourite in our best sewing book guide.

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If you’re new to sewing, finding the right sewing book can really help you to improve your stitching skills and help you to troubleshoot when things go wrong. It’s always useful to have sewing books on hand for those times when you can’t remember how to do a particular technique, or to guide you through trickier sewing projects.

There’s a wealth of sewing books out there, so how do you know which one to pick? We’ve asked the experts from the Simply Sewing magazine team to share some of their top sewing books with us, from sewing books for beginners to ones for more advanced sewers. Our list contains books by past Great British Sewing Bee contestants as well as experienced designers and crafters. We’ve included some great sewing pattern books too!

New to sewing? Before you start your next sewing project, you might find it useful to check out our handy how-to guides to the best sewing machines for beginners, sewing for beginners and how to use a sewing machine. If you’re keen to get sewing, take a look at our pick of the best sewing kits for beginners.

Read on to discover the best sewing books to buy in 2021…

15 best sewing books 2021

1

Sewing for the Soul by Jules Fallon

Simply Sewing’s acting editor Cath Dean says: “Sewing for the Soul is carefully curated collection of mindful, wearable makes arranged by season. It includes a few delicious cake recipes to see in each new season too, so we can combine our passions for sewing and baking!”

Best sewing books – Sewing for the Soul by Jules Fallon

2

Ahead of the Curve by Jenny Rushmore

Curvy sewists rejoice! Jenny Rushmore, founder of plus-sized pattern brand Cashmerette, is releasing her first book and it’s a must-have for sewists making garments in a size 16 and above. “It contains five beautiful, versatile patterns that you’ll use time and time again, plus is packed full of dressmaking tips and alterations guides to get the perfect fit and finish,” Cath says. This book isn’t out until 14th October 2021, but it’s available to pre-order now.

Best sewing books – Ahead of the Curve by Jenny Rushmore

3

Quilting by Hand by Rian Elise

“Creative crafters will love the intricate patterns and beautiful projects contained in this new book,” Cath says. “It’s a lovely way to get into hand quilting, with some smaller projects such as cushions and wall hangings to build up your confidence before attempting a full-sized quilt.” This book is released on 23rd September 2021 and is available to pre-order now.

Best sewing books – Quilting by Hand by Riane Elise

4

Make it Simple by Tilly Walnes

Simply Sewing’s production editor is a big fan of Make it Simple by Tilly Walnes. “I strongly believe a copy of this book should be mandatory with every new sewing machine purchase!” she says. “Nothing seems too daunting or complicated with this easy-to-follow book that’s all about making your sewing as straightforward and enjoyable as possible. Make It Simple comes with patterns for a pair of trousers, a T-shirt, two dresses, a cardigan and PJs, and with variations for each you can fill pretty much any gap in my wardrobe with these.

“There’s really nothing Tilly hasn’t thought about in this book. Every project comes with a section showing ways to personalise your make; a shortcut tick list for if you’ve made the project before and just need some gentle prompts; and tip boxes throughout that tell you when to slow down and take extra care or something or try your garment on and make sure it’s fitting as it should.

“Clear illustrations and instructions and a friendly voice throughout make this book an absolutely must-have in my eyes! Every dressmaker needs to read the ‘How to take a compliment’ chapter, too!”

Best sewing books – Make it Simple by Tilly Walnes

5

Bags for Life by Stuart Hilliard

Former Sewing Bee Stuart Hilliard has a new collection of bag projects, containing everything from overnight bags and beach bags to craft project caddys, shopping trolley bags and picnic carriers. This is a great choice if you’re looking for sewing books for beginners. “There’s also a comprehensive guide to techniques involved, so it’s great for beginners just getting into bag making and looking to learn the basics before getting stuck in,” Cath says. Out on 2nd September 2021.

Best sewing books – Bags for Life by Stuart Hilliard

6

Freehand Fashion by Chinelo Bally

Chinelo Bally is another former Sewing Bee contestant who loves sharing her sewing tips and designs. When she appeared on the show, she wowed the judges with her patternless outfits, which were inspired by traditional Nigerian sewing techniques. In this book, Chinelo explains how you can master this versatile sewing technique for yourself – and make every garment in your wardrobe! This is a good guide to pattern making for beginners.

Best sewing books – Freehand Fashion by Chinelo Bally

7

Building the Pattern by Saara and Laura Huuta

This fantastic sewing pattern book is another of Cath’s favourites! Saara and Laura of pattern company Named Clothing have launched a buildable collection of contemporary patterns that modern sewists won’t be able to resist. Each pattern comes with multiple variations so you can create a truly customised wardrobe.

Best sewing books – Building the Pattern by Saara and Laura Huhta

8

Sewing with African Wax Print Fabric by Adaku Parker

African wax print fabric is beautiful cotton material made using wax resist techniques. It can be used to create vibrant outfits that will make stunning additions to your wardrobe. This fabulous book by Adaku Parker contains 25 patterns to make including a shirt dress, A-line skirt, culottes and an array of accessories.

Best sewing books – Sewing with African Wax Print Fabric by Adaki Parker

9

Sew Beautiful by Kennis Wong

Discover how to make your own beautiful clothes with designer Kennis Wong. This book explains how to choose the perfect fabric, how to take measurements and much more. This book contains eight patterns with 15 pattern variations for you to make. The patterns range in size from 00 to 20, so you can find a design to suit your shape.

Best sewing books – Sew Beautiful by Kennis Wong

10

How to Start Sewing by Assembil Books

When you’re learning to sew, it can be really useful to have a trusty book to refer to. If you’re looking for sewing books for beginners, this is a great one to choose. This book explains sewing techniques, starting with the basics and building up to more advanced skills. It explains common pitfalls that you’re likely to encounter and will help you to build your sewing confidence. A very useful reference book to keep on your bookshelf!

Best sewing books: How to Start Sewing

11

Appliqué the Sew Quirky Way by Mandy Murray

Appliqué can be used to make a huge variety of inventive sewing projects. In this book, Mandy Murray guides you through the basic techniques that you’ll need to make your own gorgeous appliqué makes, from how to use your sewing machine to how to work with unusual fabrics. This book includes 12 brilliant projects for homewares and wearables, so you can try this addictive technique for yourself. This book is on sale from 12th October 2021, but can be pre-ordered.

Best sewing books – Applique the Quirky Way by Mandy Murray

12

Sew Chinelo by Chinelo Bally

Learn how to make new clothes in a sustainable way with this excellent book by Chinelo Bally. It includes lots of tips to help you upcycle old clothes and make new garments – without patterns! The book includes eleven projects for women’s clothes and three projects for children’s clothes.

Best sewing books – Sew Chinelo by Chinelo Bally

13

Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh

Sustainable sewing is becoming increasingly popular and this book is packed with inventive ways to mend your clothes. Katrina Rodabaugh reveals clever tips and techniques to add patches to your clothes and repair holes and tears. The aim is to make a feature of your mending techniques, rather than trying to hide them.

Best sewing books – Mending Matters by Katrina Rodabaugh

14

Embroidery Now by Jennifer Cardenas Riggs

If you want to try embroidery, this beautiful book by Jennifer Cardenas Riggs has plenty of gorgeous modern embroidery designs for you to stitch. Make a boho stitched lampshade, embroidered accent pillow, constellation table runner and much more.

Best sewing books – Embroidery Now by Jennifer Cardenas Riggs

15

Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes

This brilliant book by Tilly Walnes is intended to demystify the dressmaking process – and it certainly achieves that! Tilly shares her dressmaking wisdom in an encouraging way, with lots of tips and advice to teach you how to make your own clothes. This book contains seven versatile patterns for you to make at home.

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Best sewing books – Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes