Pattern books have a core group of patterns, perhaps enough for a basic clothing capsule.

I think books in this post could be good guides for people making the transition from confident beginner to intermediate.
Two books from sewing specialists, one from a clothing designer.
These books have very different style of clothes and style of instructions. Two of them have 10-12 patterns. It would be bulky to supply so many patterns on tissue paper, and these books have chosen different formats for their patterns.
I enjoy them all, but can’t guarantee they suit your clothing or learning style.

Full size patterns.
All patterns for B cup.
All patterns have these proportions unless mentioned :
waist = bust – 8″
hips = bust + 2″.

Extra skills at this level, not just more sewing skills but also pattern work : improving fit and changing styles.

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Dressmaking by Alison Smith.
Classic styles.


12 scaleable or full size download patterns.
Simple instructions for pattern alterations to make 31 styles in all.
Detailed photo sewing instructions with brief text.
Illustrated in dull fabrics so they look frumpy, but that’s easy to change.
Section on fit.
bust 32 – 45 in.

Gertie’s new book for better sewing
‘Modern vintage’ style.
Full size traceable patterns. 10 patterns (no drawings for sheath dress, lined jacket, coat dress).
Variations for 23 garments in all.
Emphasis on vintage ‘slow sewing’ methods.
Photos and line drawings in techniques sections.
Project instructions are quite brief with some line drawings. You need to supplement them by searching the techniques sections.
Brief chapters on fit, simple pattern changes.
bust 32 – 46 in, hips = bust + 4”.

Sew U
Casual styles. Much advice on pattern changing, sewing technique guidance rather minimal. Some people find the patterns do not fit well.
These books are out of print but still easy to obtain.


Tissue patterns
Shirt with band collar, pants with fly zip and jeans details.
Here are lists of sew-alongs with extra sewing help :
Shirts with band collar
Pants, jeans
Simple pattern altering instructions for many style variations, from a designer who has her own clothing company. See how easy it can be to make clothes look different !
All illustrations are drawings.
Her book on knits is also good. Books on dresses and jackets have problems with patterns, and very brief sewing instructions, though many ideas for simple variations.
bust 31 – 38 in., hips = buat + 3-1/2″

She also had books on knits, dresses, and outerwear.

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if you’d like something easier, here are some suggested books for :
Complete beginners
Near beginners

Pick a book to work through, and celebrate your marvellous sewing skills 😀
When you know most of these skills, you’ll be able to make most patterns, including many ‘Average’ Vogue patterns.
Though there are many topics to learn more about if you want to : tailoring, special occasion wear, couture, embellishment, fitting, pattern making. . .

What do you want most from your sewing ? reward ? challenge ? fit and flattery ? relaxation ?
Enjoy 😀

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